From the Huffington Post:
Today, the DOB is responsible for both approving and policing building construction and maintenance. These conflicting roles under one roof do not serve the public's safety. An independent office of inspections would address the consistent need for stronger enforcement and bolster the city's capacity to inspect buildings, cranes and, yes, elevators -- all pieces of our urban super-structure that have failed in recent years, with tragic results. As it is, there is an enormous backlog of violations that remain unfixed, many of them serious.
The needless death last week of ad executive Suzanne Hart in a Madison Avenue office is just one example of how flawed our current system is. Since 1995, the city DOB has allowed privately hired companies to inspect a range of routine building components -- from roofs and boilers to sidewalk sheds and elevators. These private inspectors then "self-certify" their findings, meaning that the city takes their word that the inspection results are faithful and accurate.
That is the regulatory equivalent of the fox guarding the hen-house, and it needs to end. The FDNY's own data offers more proof that something is wrong: In FY 11, more than 36,000 people have been rescued from New York City elevators, a number that has more than doubled over the last two years. Clearly, something is not right.