The DOB has an online database of building permits. Here's how you can look up whether a construction site is properly permited:
1) Go to this website.
2) In the first field, enter the address of the building you want to look up.
3) Scroll down and click on "Jobs/Filings." This is where you will find open permits for the building.
4) Search through the permits - they are listed chronologically - and check for the relevant permit, such as scaffolding or installations. You can click on the permit number itself to get more details.
If you notice a missing permit or discrepancy, dial 311 to report it, and you can post your finding to the comments page below, which the WNYC newsroom will be checking regularly.