By Jill Colvin
DOWNTOWN — Checking up on whether a construction site has been slapped with violations or finding out what's planned behind shuttered doors is now as easy as scanning a bar code at a grocery store.
On Tuesday, the city launched a new initiative to add Quick Response (QR) codes to every new building permit it issues. While the information is already available through the department's website, passers-by will now be able to access the information instantly on the sidewalk using free smart phone apps.
"Anyone passing by who wants to know more about a project will be able to scan the QR code with a smart phone and learn about the property owner, the scope of work and any complaints or violations related to that project," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tested the technology for himself using a permit tacked to the door of 25 Broad Street.
The mobile version of the department's website also provides a direct link to 311 so users can file complaints.
The QR codes are small black and white boxes and are printed on the right-hand corner of paper permits for work such as construction, electrical changes, demolition and scaffolding.
The roll out was part of a larger move toward greater reliance on the codes, which would be added to historical landmarks and popular tourist sites in the future, the mayor said.
Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said the new system would provide instant gratification to "demanding" New Yorkers who wanted to know more about buildings right away.
"We're putting it in the palm of their hand," he said.