On Monday October 27th DCRA hosted a stakeholders meeting updating permit expeditors of important changes that are being implemented. There are several changes we wanted to make you aware of.
1. FLOOD AREAS- DCRA will start implementing and paying closer attention to the updated FEMA flood hazards and revised maps that rolled out in 2012. They will be making sure the regulations and code provisions are being adhered to and crack down on it on the permitting side. Previously it has not been a priority and will now be closely monitored.
2. CODE MODIFICATION- On March 28, 2014 DCRA adopted the new building codes which are currently being used. Between March 28, 2014 and March 28, 2015 you can use the older code provisions on existing valid permits, existing filed applications, existing design contracts, and tenant layouts with explanation as to why it needs to be modified and what the hardship would be to not comply. DC Permit has been doing a lot of code modifications for our clients. Keep in mind you only have 5 months left for any modifications.
3. PROJECT DOX- Project DOX is an electronic file submission system that DCRA has built and is now making mandatory and phasing in on large projects. Previous to July 1, 2014 it was optional to submit your project on project dox. Below is a breakdown on the required implementation.
*effective July 1, 2014 all projects greater than 100,000 square feet must use project dox
*effective October 1, 2014 all projects greater than 75,000 square feet must use project dox
*effective January 1, 2015 all projects greater than 50,000 square feet must use project dox
*effective April 1, 2015 all projects greater than 25,000 square feet must use project dox
DC Permit has been using Project Dox and we have experienced some difficultly as DCRA is working through training staff, and continuing to make improvements to the electronic system. We are hopeful that the requirements will help work out the issues quicker. Our team has been and will continue to be an advocate for clients getting the permits issued as quickly and efficiently as possible. In our opinion at this point if you are not required to submit via project dox it is best to do a traditional paper submission.
RESIDENTIAL PLAN REVIEW PROGRAM- DCRA has set up a new department strictly for Residential Plan Review. The reviewers will be solely dedicated to handling residential permits so that commercial and residential are not in the same queue. This is a big step in shortening the time frame to get a residential permit in DC. Historically larger deals would take a priority and smaller projects would wait till the last minute to get assigned frustrating small builders and homeowners. This new division started its pilot stage on October 15, 2014 and will be closely monitored through the end of the year to work out any kinks in the system. Starting January 1, 2015 it will be fully implemented. We are excited to see this change to help many of our clients get their permits more efficiently with reviewers strictly handling all areas of residential permits.
Our team is dedicated to keeping you on top of the changes taking place in DC. If you have a client or business partner who would appreciate our updates please pass along our information. We have a fully implemented team ready to serve all your DC, MD and VA permitting needs.