[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Albany 7-18-1983 by L.L. No. 2-1983 as Ch. VI, Art. II, of the 1983 Code; amended in its entirety 12-2-2013 by L.L. No. 5-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There is hereby created and established a Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance.
There shall be appointed by the Mayor a Commissioner of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance, who shall be the head of the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance and carry out the functions and duties thereof and shall meet the qualifications as provided in the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. The Commissioner shall appoint Deputy or Assistant Commissioners, who shall serve at the Commissioner's pleasure and serve in the Commissioner's absence. The Commissioner, Deputy and Assistant Commissioners are vested with the authority, direction and control over the Department, including the authority to appoint and remove employees of said Department.
In addition to the duties found in Chapter 133 of this Code, the Commissioner shall faithfully execute all laws and ordinances relative to the erection, construction, alteration or removal of buildings or other structures and see that the same are obeyed. He shall have power to make, adopt and enforce such reasonable rules and regulations, not inconsistent with law or the ordinances of the Common Council, as may be reasonably necessary to effect a prompt and efficient exercise of all the powers conferred and the performance of all duties imposed by law or ordinance upon him or the Department under his jurisdiction. He shall have power to establish and enforce such reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary for the government of his Department and shall have general supervision over the records of the Department and its officers and employees. Said Commissioner shall have the power to enter into and examine buildings and structures, lots and enclosures of every description to see that all laws of the state and ordinances of the City and rules and regulations of his Department are fully enforced. He shall have full power and authority to pass upon and determine all questions arising under the provisions of law or ordinances relative to the plans, manner or method of construction or materials to be used in erecting, altering, repairing, equipping, furnishing or improving any building or structure or concerning the observance and maintenance of all proper and legal precautions against fire and for public safety in said City. He shall have full power and authority to order and compel the suspension of any work and prohibit the use of any material, machinery or equipment in violation of the provisions of law or the ordinances of said City and may make such tests as he may deem necessary to determine the safety of any building, structure, material, machinery or equipment which it becomes his duty to inspect. He shall have full power and authority to supervise and inspect such erection, construction or alteration and to require that such erection, construction or alteration and the manner and mode thereof and the materials used thereon shall conform to the several provisions of the laws, ordinances and rules and regulations relative thereto.
All plans and specifications for the erection, construction or alteration of buildings or other structures shall be submitted to the Commissioner for his approval, and no building or other structure shall be erected, constructed or altered until the plans and specifications therefor shall have been approved and a permit issued for such erection, construction or alteration. No permit shall be required for the making of ordinary repairs of buildings or structures or of the plumbing, drainage, electrical wiring or gas piping thereof, but such repairs shall not be construed to include the cutting away of any stone or brick wall or any portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any beams or supports or the removal or closing of any staircase or the alteration of any house sewer or private sewer or drainage system. No change shall be made in the use or occupation of any existing building which will materially alter its character without the permission of the Commissioner and until said building has been reconstructed and modified to conform to the provisions of this chapter and the Building Code.
When the owner or lessee of any building or structure about to be erected, constructed or altered files with the Commissioner an application for the variation or modification of any rule or regulation or of any provision of law or ordinance relating to the erection, construction or alteration of buildings or other structures, he shall in such application fully set forth the grounds for the desired variation or modification. The plans and specifications for the proposed erection, construction or alteration shall accompany such application. The Commissioner shall fix a date within a reasonable time for hearing such application and as soon as practicable thereafter render a warrant decision thereon. Upon the hearing, the applicant may appear and be heard. The particulars of each such application and the decision thereon shall be entered in the records of the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance, and in case the application is granted, a permit therefor shall be issued.
The Commissioner shall preserve a record of all plans and specifications and of all applications for his approval thereof concerning, affecting or relating to the erection, construction or alteration of buildings or other structures. Such record shall include the date of the filing of each such application; the name and address of the owner of the land on which the building or structure mentioned in such application is situated; the names and addresses of the architect and builder employed thereon; a designation of the premises sufficient to identify the same; and a statement of the nature and proposed use of such building or structure and a brief statement of the decision of the Commissioner upon such application and the date thereof. Such records shall be public records and shall be open to the inspection of the public.
Whenever the Commissioner shall reject or refuse to approve any plan or specification for or the mode or manner of construction proposed to be used in the erection, construction or alteration of any building or structure, or when it is claimed that the provisions of the Building Code or the provisions of any law or ordinance relative to the erection, construction or alteration of buildings or other structures do not apply, or when it is claimed that the true intent and meaning of said code, laws or ordinances have been misconstrued or improperly interpreted, the owner, or any person aggrieved, or any offices, Department, board or bureau of the City may appeal as hereinafter provided.
The Commissioner is authorized, by and with the advice and consent of the Corporation Counsel, in the name of the City, to maintain actions to restrain the performance of any act contrary to, or in violation of, the rules and regulations of his bureau, laws and ordinances and to prohibit the use or occupation of any building or structure which has been or is being erected, constructed or altered in violation of the provisions of any law, ordinance or rule or regulation relative to the erection, construction or alteration of buildings or structures. In any such action, no undertaking shall be required. He may in like manner maintain actions for the recovery of penalties established by law or ordinance.
Editor's Note: Now the Department.
Every structure or part thereof erected or placed or permitted to continue contrary to the provisions of this chapter or the Building Code or Sanitary Code shall be deemed to be a common nuisance, and the Commissioner may order the same removed, and in case the owner thereof shall neglect or refuse to remove such structure or part thereof, within five days after notice so to do, the Commissioner may remove such structure or part thereof at the expense of the owner or may cause the same to be abated in the same manner as other nuisances.