June, July & August 2016
is continuously pushing towards greater transparency, creating a more efficient
process for our customers while maintaining accountability for our residents,
visitors and those who conduct business in the District. Over the past few
months, we have ignited many initiatives to make doing business with DCRA
efficient and effective. Understanding
that it takes a team effort to ensure that our neighborhoods are safe and
strong, the agency was excited to have our own Mayor Muriel Bowser visit for
DCRA week. While here, we were able to dig deep into our operations and find
ways to better serve District residents. Mayor Bowser was able to observe many
divisional successes while also helping with some of the challenges we are faced
have seen that Mayor Bowser highlighted several DCRA-related proposals in her fall
legislative agenda. As a part of that, the Mayor proposed the “Department of
Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Community Partnership Amendment Act of 2016.” The
proposed legislation would improve the lives of District residents in three
significant ways. First, the legislation
would create an exemption from DCRA business license requirements for de
minimis business activity, so that businesses like lemonade stands or a youth team’s
car wash can operate without the need for a license. Second, the bill would require
landlords to maintain and post a 24-hour phone number for tenant reports in a
visible place, so that tenants will always know how to get in touch with their
landlords if a repair is needed. Third, the proposed legislation would clarify
that only a property owner, his/her agent, or a relative may register a
property as vacant. This will help to
ensure that no one’s property is incorrectly classified, while still allowing
anyone concerned about a property to report it directly to DCRA. As part of the
Mayor’s legislative agenda, DCRA will also be proposing a rulemaking to allow
one-family rentals to self-certify that their property meets housing code
requirements as an alternative to obtaining a DCRA inspection. Inspections would still be available to
anyone who requests them.
DCRA-related items in the Mayor’s agenda would simplify licensing requirements,
protect renters from unsafe conditions, and help homeowners avoid undue
increases in their mortgages. We look
forward to discussing the proposals at an upcoming public hearing before Council.
together with our local government agencies and alongside Mayor Bowser’s office
is a sure way of improved services for our District.
Regulatory bytes for the data junkie.
This is your centralized data section of the newsletter to access permit issuance information in seven different categories for all eight wards across the District. We hope these stats provide a better insight into developments happening in and around your respective communities. Please stay tuned for data related to enforcement and business licensing activities to be released in future editions.
JUNE - 13,695 total
JULY - 3,344 total
AUGUST - 3,619 total
General Business License Data*
JUNE - 312 total
JULY - 315 total
AUGUST - 378 total
Vacant and Blighted Property Data
JUNE - 12 blighted, 126 vacant, and 3 vacant lots
JULY - 12 blighted, 124 vacant, and 1 vacant lot
AUGUST - 8 blighted, 107 vacant, and 5 vacant lots
Zoning Determination Letters by Ward
Ward 5 - 911
Evart Street NE
Ward 6 - 912
R Street NW - 1101
Florida Avenue NE
Ward 1 - 1706
V Street NW
Ward 2 - Holy
Rosary 595 3rd St NW - 1701
E St NW
Ward 5 - 1201
Franklin Street NE
Ward 6 - 1341
H Street NE - 1710
10th Street NW
*A General Business license applies to all businesses that have a tax identification number, and perform business activity that is not licensed under another basic business license endorsement category, and is comprised of principals who are not required to maintain licenses granted or regulated by local, state, or national certification board or body.
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Keeping your ear to the DCRA streets.
Checking in on the Business Portal
It has been one month since we launched
the DC Business Portal, a one-stop transactional tool that keeps current
and prospective business owners from making the trek to our offices to apply
for their business licenses. The ultimate goal of the portal is to streamline
services and make the process more client-friendly. The portal offers customers
the ability to submit renewals and applications for Basic Business Licenses,
completely online. Since the launch, we have seen 2,176 new user accounts
created on the portal. Some of the functionalities of the portal is:
- User-friendly search options
- Clear and concise navigational instructions
- Courtesy email reminders,
- Ability to lookup business information,
- Ability to create personalized accounts
As the Mayor said, “the best trip you will have
to DCRA is the one you won’t have to make.” So Skip the Trip and Use the Portal
at business.dc.gov. See images from the
Abandon Calls and Emails – Permit Tracking is Back Online
DCRA was keenly aware that the Online Building Permit
Application Tracking (OBPAT) function was critical to its public users. The agency’s commitment to transparency and providing accurate information to the public was just as vital to DCRA’s Director, Melinda Bolling, so she made it a priority to resolve integrity issues and restored OBPAT. The improved OBPAT makes easily accessible and reliable permit information available to the public. OBPAT allows users to identify all permits quickly for an address or parcel, helps to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, and that permits progress steadily through the review process.
Although the permit status tracker is back online, the agency continues to provide information about properties and permits in Property Information Verification System (PIVS). If you have questions about issued
permits, licensure, or property ownership, PIVS can often answer them. If
you want to know whether nearby construction work has been permitted, please search by property address. If you believe
that you have observed illegal
contact DCRA’s illegal construction line at 202-442-STOP.
Click to Quick Easy Access for DCRA Customer Support
We are pleased to offer our customers and stakeholders as
well as other District government agencies a quick and easy way to request assistance
from DCRA. DCRA implemented the big green #EasyInfo Button on
its website for quick and easy access to customer support.
#EasyInfo Button requests are routed through DCRA’s Customer Service
Team. Whether you’re looking for
information on permitting, licensing, or anything else about DCRA, just click
the button for easy access to the answer.
After users click the button, they will be led to a short, web-based form
to send in their question. The Customer Service
Team takes ownership of all requests, no matter what request, assistance or
service a customer is seeking and assures
that the appropriate DCRA employee responds within a reasonable amount of time.
DCRA’s Customer Service Team is trained to respond to any
request or concern that arises, building a solid DCRA-customer partnership
throughout the life cycle of your request, and is committed to delivering the
highest quality of customer support in the District. Our team may be reached by clicking the #EasyInfo Button on the agency’s webpage,
8:15 am through 4:45 pm, Monday through Friday, and Thursdays 9:30 am to 4:45
Button and form are available on desktop and mobile devices, so
website visitors can quickly and easily ask the agency a question from wherever
they are—anytime, day or night.
ProjectDox ePlan Submission & Plan Review Enhancements
In July, DCRA launched enhanced customer-facing ProjectDox features that offer more notifications at key milestones during the plan review process. Additionally, applicants are now able to delete files during the document uploading phase. Internal enhancements were implemented to the electronic plan submission and review software to allow DCRA staff the freedom to assign and reassign projects as necessary to complete the review successfully. An automatic stamp will be placed on every page and serves as the batch approval stamp for approved plans issued by DCRA. This stamp enhancement reduces the amount of time each reviewer handles the drawings. These
new enhancements affect all new projects submitted on, or after,
July 25, 2016. For more on these ProjectDox Enhancements, please visit http://wp.me/p6XILc-Z.
DCRA Trained AIA on Permits and ProjectDox
On September 20, 2016, DCRA provided permit application intake and ProjectDox submittal process training to the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The training explained how to successfully submit your project in ProjectDox for review the first time by providing an overview of the ProjectDox submittal and review process. Additionally, the training went in detail about the permit intake checklist; gave a review of the basics, such as completing and submitting the online permit application; and paying the filling fee. After attending the course the participants are able to:
1. Submit projects for DCRA permits using ProjectDox;
2. Summarize the items on the permit intake checklist;
3. Choose the correct permit type; and
4. List various plan review designations and understand how they are assigned.
The next Green Code training on Commercial Energy Code/Lighting to AIA|DC will take place on October 24, 2016.
Building Division Updates
The Green Building Division hosts bi-weekly hands-on workshop designed for
permit applicants who have submitted for building permit and are pending or
have already received “energy review” comments. At the workshop, DCRA’s
residential energy code reviewers will be on hand to address review comments.
The next workshop will be held on Tuesday, October 4, 2016. Click here to view a list of
Green Building events and trainings.
On September 21, 2016, the Green Building Program conducted a LEED Accredited Professional: Building Design and Construction Part II. A LEED credential gives builders a competitive advantage and credibility to bring success to LEED projects and sustainability-focused organizations. The key to earning a LEED Accredited Professional: Building Design and Construction credential is a thorough understanding of green building and the LEED rating system as well as the ability to facilitate the certification process. LEED AP credential arms you with advanced knowledge in green building as well as expertise in the LEED AP: BD+C rating system. Participants that took this course were provided background to take and pass the LEED AP: BD+C Exam, which tests knowledge of the requirements and calculations required for green building practices for both commercial and residential spaces and both new construction and existing buildings as well as how to support other professionals working on LEED projects.
Certificate of Occupancy Proposed Process Change
DCRA is proposing to revise current versions of the
Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) application and checklist to reflect current
code cycles, review processes, and simplifying format. Additionally, to responding to current life
safety issues related to Conditional Certificates of Occupancy (CCO), the
existing Conditional Certificate of Occupancy Guidelines of Issuance are being
updated to reflect the current code and a new checklist has been developed to
assist applicants when applying for this type of C of O.
Transparency has been the focus behind the communications
with our stakeholders regarding these changes. DCRA has encouraged stakeholders
to provide feedback by via an online survey, as well as hosted two open houses during the summer to allow an open dialogue about the proposed changes. In October, DCRA will be hosting an additional three open houses for Expediter, Designers, and Architecture groups. For more information, please see the You're Invited event section below.
Feedback from both the survey and the meetings
have been considered and will be applied to the proposed changes to be implemented. To learn more about the proposed changes and why the change
is necessary, please view a
copy of this presentation.
The Municipal Government of Shanghai Visits DCRA
On September 23, 2016, the Municipal Government of Shanghai visited DCRA to learn more about our agency and how we regulate business in the District. The delegation was specifically interested in learning how we set up codes, approve permits, issue businesses licenses, register corporations, and inspect on a regular basis. The delegation was given a tour of the facility and a presentation on our policies and procedures. See pictures of the visit here.
DCRA’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program
The Dr. Charles Drew
Paul Laurence Dunbar
High School of Washington, DC
On September 27, 2016, a panel of students
served as panelist discussing the benefits of them participating in the
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Pre-Apprenticeship Program. The
purpose of this six week internship program is to provide specific building
code compliance training instruction to juniors and senior high school students
in basic code fundamentals of the International Residential code. The goal of
the program is to allow District junior and senior high school students to
become exposed to the trade and engineering curricula through classroom
instruction, field shadowing, and professional.
The most exciting part of the program is that the students get the
excellent opportunity to begin a rewarding career that is a Pathway to the
Middle Class by earning a vocational certificate along with earning a high
school diploma and work towards the international Code Council (ICC)
Certificate in a specific technical discipline. See pictures of the event here.
ANC Open House
On July 6, 2016, DCRA hosted another Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC) Open House, following closely after the May 12, 2016, open house. Much like the last open house, DCRA created the outreach event to strengthen DCRA's communication and partnership with ANCs, as well as provide agency programs and updates that impact ANCs and their constituencies. Prior to the event, DCRA solicited feedback from ANCs to identify which programs and services were most in demand. In response to the feedback received DCRA’s Vacant Property and Enforcement Program, Permit Operations Division, Inspections and Compliance Administration, and Business and Professional License Administration created and shared presentations with event attendees. Below access a copy of the presentations:
See pictures of the event here.
Program for Staff
DCRA’s Wellness Program’s main
focus is on the five key values for their employees: finance, physical, mental, social,
and communal. As a part of the community engagement thrust, DCRACares builds
partnerships with and gives back to the community in which we work in. As a
part of the DCRA Wellness Program initiative, DCRACares collected and donated
over 125 uniforms and six boxes of school supplies to Amidon-Bowen Elementary
School in Southwest DC on September 15, 2016 for their DCRACares Season of
Giving School Supply Drive 2016. See
pictures of the supply drive here.
Additionally, during Child Abuse
Prevention Month, the Wellness Program initiated a pinwheel garden named
“Pinwheel for Prevention” in support of the protection of children. The
Wellness Program also does toy drives and participates with the Food Bank.
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Your social calendar to DCRA's world.
9/29/2016 Entrée DC: Food and Drink Forum 2016
9/30/2016 National Preparedness Month - Prepared Anywhere: First Aid and Hands-Only CPR Training
10/4/2016 Green Building Residential Code Compliance Workshop at 1 pm
10/4/2016 Expediter Open House: Conditional Certificates of Occupancy Feedback
10/5/2016 Contractors Open House: Conditional Certificates of Occupancy Feedback
10/5/2016 Designers Open House: Conditional Certificates of Occupancy Feedback
10/18/2016 Green Building Residential Code Compliance Workshop at 1 pm
10/20/2016 Navigating Government Contracting with DCPTAC: DC Government Contracting
10/20/2016 Understanding Your Rights Seminar for Landlords
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We'd love to hear from you! Let us know if there is anything you would like to see in future newsletters by completing our short survey.
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If you have any questions regarding this newsletter, please contact us at (202) 442-9502.