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The Exemplary case of the NYC elevator database – Part 1 and 2
Giacomello Elena e Trabucco Dario
5 e 6
44-48 e 38-42

Elevators, lifts, DOB-Department of Buildings New York City, national registry of lifts

After the installation of the first lift in New York City (1850)1, 168 years ago, a public archive of the city’s Department of Buildings records all elevators installed within the administrative borders (102,000 installations) and records all inspections, control operations, maintenance, replacements and removals that are carried out on each of them. Each elevator is also geo-referenced. If all this is hard to believe, it is easy to check and the only requirement is an internet connection and browse. One of the departments of the City Government of New York is the DOB-Department of Buildings2. Its scope is to regulate the “legal use” of over a million buildings and construction sites in the five districts of the Big Apple (Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island). Essentially the DOB requires compliance with the building regulations (which consists of several codes), the standards and the Zoning Low (the regulatory plan), carries out the review and approval of projects, performs authorization functions, deals with inspections and it verifies, through all these activities, the compliance of buildings with the law. The Department responds to emergencies as well, and it analyzes preventive incidents and enforces education and awareness programs to provide the construction industry, owners and tenants with greater awareness of safety. One of the operating units of DOB is the Elevator Unit, which controls all the elevators in the city. The Elevator Unit responds to complaints, conducts inspections on reporting of dangerous violations, conducts audits, organizes training activities, responds to and examines incidents, conducts acceptance tests, surveys and assigns special tasks. Furthermore, it develops new requests regarding the installation and maintenance of elevators, removals and decommissioning. Finally, the Elevator Unit provides information on all the elevators installed.