DCRA NEWS | A Regulatory Affair | July 2018

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July 2018 | Volume 3 | Issue 5  

Director's Desk

Melinda Bolling



July is often a time for barbecues, hanging with friends and family and celebrating our country’s independence.  But for DCRA, building season kicked into full gear! 


In July, we hosted Build It In DC, a free annual event that inspires, informs and connects the building improvement industry to the resources they need to thrive in the District of Columbia. The event was held on July 26th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.


Also, our Green Building Professional Seminar Series continued in July. We are excited about our continued partnership with the University of the District of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development.  July’s seminar focused on Microgrids and how they can move our city toward greater sustainability goals and possibly a source for local renewable energy. 


Don’t forget it’s Grass Season! Keep your grasses trimmed in accordance with local regulations to maintain the aesthetics of your community and avoid being fined.


Each month we’re happy to share our programs, services and progress to help you feel productive and safe! Remember, whether starting your business or beginning a construction project…it all starts here!



Melinda Bolling

Melinda Bolling, Director, Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs

Did You Know?

DCRA's Illegal Construction Blitz

DCRA’s Illegal Construction Blitz

This summer, DCRA began its “Illegal Construction Blitz.” The initiative, which will continue through the fall, deploys inspection teams that identify and take action on illegal construction projects and housing code violations. During a blitz, an inspection team covers a pre-determined route that was developed, in part, by analyzing historical data. In addition to illegal construction, teams also identify and cite other egregious property maintenance violations.

Any construction in the District of Columbia done without required building permits is illegal and presents a public danger that can hurt people and damage property.  Please report illegal construction activity in your community by calling 311, texting DC311, visiting 311.dc.gov, or tweeting @311DCgov.

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Homeowners’ Center Permitting Summer Series


Attention District homeowners! Join us for the DCRA's Homeowners' Center Permitting Summer Series that will help prepare you for your home improvement projects this summer. Our workshops are held from 12:00 – 1:30 pm and will be led by DCRA permitting & plan review staff who will cover industry best practices for small renovation projects. Some key topics covered will include: using our online permitting tools to start your rehab process, getting the proper permit(s), submitting architectural plans, and avoiding pitfalls when buying a fixer-upper. To learn more about our upcoming summer workshops and to register, visit dcra.dc.gov/homeowners-center-permitting-education-series.

DCRA Online Services

Online Permitting Services

DCRA is your first stop in building a safe home and thriving business as we continue to provide simple solutions that produce safer outcomes. Whatever your pursuit, it Starts Here!


Below are some of our online permitting services that allow you to schedule an appointment, track your permit, research the construction that is occurring in your community, pay and receive permits, and more. 


These tools are accessible via our website 24/7 or by making a phone call to our office during regular business hours. Please review the following online applications that can assist you through the permitting process.


DC Property & Permit Center Portal

A one stop shop for all things permits!  The portal provides a range of online tools to apply for building permits, request city services, research property regulatory information, and research and analyze permit data. Residents are available to download data sets and generate custom reports. Property owners can register their apartment complex(s).


DCRA Dashboards

This is a visualization tool for various data from DCRA such as performance management, permits issued, illegal construction and vacant building data. The dashboards provide greater transparency, allowing customers to take a look at DCRA’s performance in these areas.


DCRA Data Connect

Here you can access information about what’s going on in your community. DCRA has created an open data source where you can search for building permits, illegal construction and blighted properties (FY 2017). You can view interactive data, maps and graphs of the data you request.


Permit Application Q-Tracker

The Permit Application Q-Tracker allows applicants to track their permit applications and placement in queue for each review associated with their permit. Depending on the permit application type, you will be able to check your placement in the queue of over thirty (30) different review types without visiting DCRA. Learn more here.


Online Appointment Scheduling

The online appointment scheduling option provides you with the ability to make a reservation from home or on the go before visiting DCRA – reducing unnecessary waiting times. Learn more here.


Property Information Verification System (PIVS)

PIVS is a resource where users may research real property, regulatory and enforcement information on specific properties. Users may search by a specific street address or square-suffix-lot (SSL) number.


Online Construction Permit Intake (OCPI 2.0)

OCPI 2.0 allows applicants to apply, pay and receive construction permits online. Learn more here.


Shop Drawing Online system

Shop Drawing Online system is where shop drawing applications can be submitted and paid for online to install, repair or renovate elevators and fire protection systems. All shop applications and drawings must be submitted online. Paper applications will no longer be accepted.


Supplemental Building Permit (OSPI)

Use this system to pay for and get your supplemental building permits online. Only licensed DC contractors for each specific trade may apply for these permits. Learn more here.



ProjectDox is an online platform for electronic plan submission and plan review. This system allows the electronic submission of building plans and supporting documentation. Learn more here.


Online Postcards Permit Intake (OPPI)

OPPI allows users to apply for, pay for and receive a postcard permit online in a few clicks for a specific permit based on an acceptable scope of work within the limitations of DC Municipal Regulations code. Only District homeowners, and contractors licensed in the District of Columbia can apply for postcard permit. Learn more here.


Online Building Permit Application Tracking (OBPAT)

The OBPAT system provides the status of a permit application that is submitted to DCRA and currently under review. Users can obtain the status of their permit application by providing the Application ID or Property Address.  Learn more here.


Surveyor Document System (SurDocs)

SurDocs, commonly known as Surveyor Document System, is our land records management system. SurDocs is an online research tool that enables the public to search all digital land surveys. This tool is used to view all field survey records and surveyor plats. Learn more here

Event Recap



The Lab @ DC hosted the 2nd annual Form-a-Palooza event on June 30th. For the second year in a row, DCRA participated in Form-a-Palooza. This year, our Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) application was selected and nominated. 


At the event, participants worked in small groups to revise the form. The goal was to produce an improved prototype of our form.  Our Zoning Department staff helped guide them. Also, experts in user-centered design, plain language, and behavioral insights were on hand. 

On July 24th, DCRA and The Lab @ DC hosted an open house to review the mock-up of the first draft C of O application. Participants were able to see the first cut of the suggestions made by the community at Form-a-Palooza and shared their thoughts with us about the draft form. 

For more details, visit formapalooza.dc.gov.


Build It In DC

On July 26th, we held our annual BUILD IT IN DC half-day conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The event was co-hosted by DCRA’s Small Business Resource Center and the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) for the contractor and building improvement community to connect with DC Government decision-makers, get access to permitting and regulatory information, and learn from industry leaders. The event featured several breakout sessions that examined construction financing options, building materials and methods, small business networking, green building standards and a case study on affordable housing. 

To view pictures from the event, please click here

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Senior Summer Fest

Senior Summerfest

This year, more than 350 elderly residents attended the Senior Summer Fest on June 28th held at Oxon Run Park, in Ward 8. The event, co-sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the DC Office on Aging, featured about 50 vendors that included government agencies and non-profit organizations. Live entertainment and free food were made available to all attendees. DCRA was excited to mingle with the seniors and distribute valuable information on our services and initiatives.


University of the District of Columbia's (UDC) Body Wise 2nd Annual Community Health, Wellness and Informational Fair

UDC’s Body Wise 2nd Annual Community Health, Wellness and Informational Fair

UDC’s Gerontology Department played host to the Department of Office on Aging’s second annual health, wellness and informational fair on June 27th.  More than 100 residents attended the event that was held at the University’s student center.  Several community-based and faith-based organizations were in attendance.

The Palisades 52nd Annual Fourth of July Parade and Picnic

Palisades 52nd Annual Fourth of July Parade and Picnic


This annual parade attracted more than 500 residents, business owners and visitors who gathered along MacArthur Boulevard in Northwest.  Parade participants included Mayor Bowser, the Washington Scottish Bagpipe Band, Georgetown-Palisades Lions Club, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of DC, and DC Fire Department Engine Company 29.  The parade culminated with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Bowser for the newly renovated Palisades Recreation Center Field House.


Upcoming Events


Franchising 101

Monday, August 6, 2018

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

1100 4th St SW, 2nd Floor, Room E200

What Needs a Permit?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

12:00 – 1:30 pm

1100 4th St SW, 2nd Floor, Room E200


Learn the Process of Starting a Business at the DC Public Library

Monday, August 6, 2018

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library | 3160 16th St NW, Washington DC 20010


Navigating Government Contracting with DCPTAC

Thursday, August 16, 2018

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

1100 4th Street SW, 4th Floor, Room E4302


New Requirements for DC Housing Regarding Criminal Background

Monday, August 20, 2018

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

1100 4th St SW, 3rd Floor, Room E300

Small Projects & Home Renovations Workshop

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

12:00 – 1:30 pm

1100 4th St SW, 2nd Floor, Room E200


Senior Entrepreneurship Program

Thursday, August 23, 2018

10:15 am - 11:45 am

Model Cities | 1901 Evarts Street NE

Learn about Financial Resources from DISB

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

1100 4th Street SW, 2nd Floor, Room E200


Permitting Online Tools

Thursday, September 13, 2018

12:00 – 1:30 pm

1100 4th St SW, 3rd Floor, Room E300


Buyer Beware: What DCRA Wants You to Know Before & After You Buy a Home

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

12:00 – 1:30 pm

1100 4th St SW, 3rd Floor, Room E300


Enter DCRA Dashboards

DCRA Dashboards is a tool that graphically displays DCRA permits, business and professional licenses, enforcement, and inspections data. The dashboards provide greater transparency, allowing customers to take a look at DCRA’s performance.

Search for DCRA Data

DCRA Data Connect is a tool that allows access to information about permits issued, illegal construction, and vacant building data. Data can be viewed via CSV files and maps.

If you have any questions regarding this communication, please contact DCRA's Communications Department at DCRACommTeam@dc.gov. DCRA actively uses feedback to improve our delivery and services; please take a minute to share your feedback on how we performed in our last engagement. For the latest news and updates, check out DCRA's Communications Portal