NYCDOB Introduces Quick Response Codes

At the end of February, Mayor Bloomberg announced the NYC Department of Building’s new use of Quick Response (QR) codes on new building permits issued in the city of New York as well as all renewed permits. These codes (see photo right) will appear in the form of a square on the upper right hand corner of the permit. With the use of a smartphone equipped with one of several free downloadable apps, any passerby can scan the QR code and be linked directly to the DOB’s Building Information System website. They will be directed to the page with the specific information related to that permit. From there, the property owner’s information, applicant of record, job description, prior complaints and violations as well as a host of other information is available. Furthermore a link is available to file a complaint on the city’s 311 system.  With the installation of these codes on all new permits and all existing permits as they are renewed, the DOB hopes to have a QR code on all work permits by 2013.

QR codes themselves are not new, they were developed in Japan in 1994 as a way of tracking machine parts, however their use in the United States for convenience information is relatively knew. This is likely a result of recent advancement in smartphone technology. The use of QR codes will likely become more popular in the near future as a means of manufacturers providing additional information to consumers at the point of purchase, restaurants providing a link to menus and reviews and stores providing additional information all for review at the time of scan or to be stored on the smartphone for research at a later time.

While shopping this weekend for a new baseball glove for my son I spotted a QR code on a display stand for a specific glove manufacturer. I was very excited to test out the consumer side of this application. I envisioned reading online reviews, manufacturers specifications and maybe even some justification for why this particular glove was three times the price of most other gloves. So I pulled out my phone opened the QRReader app and scanned the QR code. The result….. a message that read “No QR code available”. So I guess we still have some work to do but I am excited to see these codes implemented in stores restaurants and even historic buildings, parks and other tourist destinations. As for how they will effect the construction industry …we’ll see.

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