Special Inspections

What are They?

The DOB requires what’s known as “Special Inspections” during the construction process of certain projects to ensure that the work is being done according to approved plans.

Many people confuse Special Inspections with Progress Inspections, which are also performed during the construction process.  Progress Inspections verify that the work complies with the code and the submitted construction plans.  Special Inspections, meanwhile, verify that materials, equipment, installation, fabrication or placement of components and connections all comply with the Code.

Who Does Them?

Special inspectors hired by a Special Inspection Agency conduct the inspections.  These inspectors are typically registered architects or professional engineers with special qualifications.  There are three classes of Special Inspection Agencies, which determine the sort of projects the agency can inspect.  While a Class 1 Agency can inspect Class 2 or Class 3 work, the reverse is not true.

Special Inspection Classification

Class 1 Special Inspection Agencies can inspect any project.

Class 2 Special Inspection Agencies can inspect all projects except the following:

  • The construction of a new major building;
  • The full demolition of a major building;
  • The alteration of a major building including:
  • The removal of an entire story or more;
  • The partial demolition of twenty thousand (20,000) square feet or more of gross floor area; or
  • The partial demolition of twenty (20) percent or more of the gross floor area.
  • The enlargement of a major building by more than ten thousand (10,000) square feet of gross floor area.

Class 3 Special Inspection Agencies are the lowest class and can only inspect the following:

  • The construction, demolition, or alteration of a one-, two-, or three-family dwelling; or
  • The alteration of any building, including partial demolition, of less than ten thousand (10,000) square feet of gross floor area in total.

For small projects, which the DOB specifies as the construction or alteration of Occupancy Group R-3 buildings three stories or less in height, special inspections can be done by registered design professionals.


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