DCRA Easing the Permitting Pain

There’s no denying it; in any jurisdiction the bureaucracy of procuring a permit for a construction project is a pain in the butt. And it’s no secret that DC’s permitting process has the worst reputation in our metro area.  The confusing procedures often drive people to look for “creative” alternatives around the rules, i.e. not getting a proper permit for the job.

Over the last few years, we’ve been watching a shift at DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) with an eye toward making the permitting process more user-friendly.  Especially within the last 18 months, there have been big changes at DCRA that have stepped up their concerted effort to shift the process online, reducing the need to visit the permitting office.  It all started early last year with the enforcement of the ProjectDox system and the requirement that all drawings for “filed” projects be submitted online through the ProjectDox portal.  While the learning curve was pretty steep for some, there was no denying that it was nice to not have to make four copies of the drawings for each permit application.

“Upgrades” to the process continued this year with the ability to schedule appointments online to meet with a project reviewer, eliminating the unknown wait time to get the permit process started.  The ability to request and retrieve documents from the Office of the Surveyor online quickly followed.  No more traipsing down to the Surveyor’s office for a land plat!  Now the whole permitting process for filed projects is on online!  You can submit an application, upload drawings and pay for your permit without ever heading to 1100 4th St, SE.  For those of you wanting same day or “walk-thru” permits, you’ll still need to pay a visit but ultimately, these changes can save contractors, project managers, expeditors and homeowners a lot of time, and hopefully, money.  Check out these changes and all the other stuff going on at DCRA.DC.GOV.