The Department of Buildings has allowed architects and engineers to "self-certify" their plans and alterations, to help with getting the tens of thousands of buildings pending permits fast-tracked. But after recent outcry, the DOB has re-reviewed many plans, finding over 80% are "plagued with zoning violations."

According to the Post, the DOB usually "randomly reviews 20 percent of self-certified plans," but with the building boom (especially in Brooklyn), more funds were given to allow the DOB to audit plans. Six hundred sixty-two plans from September 17, 2007 through January 31, 2008 were looked at, and 556 earned "objections" from the Professional Certification Review and Audit Team."

State Assemblyman James Bennan said, "It's an open door for non-compliance with the Building Code and Zoning Resolution."

Last month, the Buildings Department admitted it shouldn't have approved the plans for a Turtle Bay tower whose crane later collapsed and killed seven people. And earlier this year, the Bronx DA's office announced that an 83-year-old engineer lied about a building's alterations; the building later burned in a fire that killed two firefighters.