Six Permits to Expedite for Projects in Washington, D.C.

Construction permits are crucial documentation for ensuring that new developments and construction projects meet existing standards. However, despite the significance of building permits in construction projects, navigating the complex permitting process proves challenging to most developers.

Obtaining a permit in Washington, D.C., will see you navigate a complex process of licenses and authorization. DFM Development Services, LLC guides various projects through the complex permit application and review process. DFM facilitates project permit expediting on buildings – multi-family, redevelopments, new developments, commercial office space, and more.

Over the last few years, several changes have affected the D.C. permitting process. For instance, a booming construction industry accelerated the adoption of sustainability and green projects, and revised zoning codes act as impediments against permit processes.

This post looks at our collective knowledge of the District’s permitting process, with a closer analysis of six permits DFM Development Services commonly expedites on behalf of developers, contractors, and property owners in Washington, D.C.

Permits to Expedite in Washington, D.C.

1. DCRA (Building Project Permit)

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is the single-most governing agency in permit approvals in Washington, D.C. This department acts as the primary permitting body. It reviews and approves permits from other relevant agencies, including sewer and water permits. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs reviews submittals for construction projects and issues approvals. Therefore, any contractors, engineers, architects, or real estate development firms planning to commence projects must first obtain permits from the DCRA.

2. DDOT (Public Space Permit)

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is another authorization body for construction projects in Washington, D.C. This body reviews building projects that affect or interfere with public spaces, including projects such as cafes, sidewalks, and canopies. This department further reviews projects that obstruct public spaces, permanently or temporarily, including projects like trees, sidewalks, public parking, roadways, and public areas.

3. Department of Energy and Environment (Energy Permit)

Environment compliance is an ever-changing domain. Most governments are implementing more stringent environmental-compliant requirements. Real estate and construction projects are already accelerating the adoption of green programs. The adoption of green programs supports and reinforces the sustainability mission. The Department of Energy and Environment (DDOE along with DCRA) is responsible for reviewing and approving building permit requests with an environmental aspect.

For instance, building projects that touch on the following issues must obtain a permit from the Department of Energy and Environment:

  • Air quality
  • Stormwater management
  • Erosion and sediment control
  • Hazardous material
  • Asbestos abatement
  • Lead-based paints
  • Mold assessment and remediation
  • Water quality
  • Wetlands and streams
  • Wells and soil boring

Building projects that utilize asbestos abatement or hazardous materials like lead-based paints must first obtain permits from the DOEE. In addition, building projects must obtain permits from the same agency to ensure they meet the requisite standards on stormwater management, and air and water quality.

4. Department of Health (Health Permit)

The Department of Health regulates buildings for safety and quality, especially food and healthcare establishments. It’s the sole responsibility of the Department of Health to ensure that existing food and healthcare facilities meet the minimum health and safety requirements.

In this realization, healthcare facilities must obtain licenses from the Department of Health: hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, pharmacies, nursing homes, and health agencies. Food establishments (hotels, restaurants, wholesale markets, and swimming pools) must also obtain building permits from the Department of Health.

5. DC Water (Water and Sewer Permit)

Water and sewer permits are the critical underpinnings for any building project in the District. DC Water reviews all projects or project alterations that touch on the DC water and sewerage systems. This agency ensures that all building projects meet the requisite design criteria and design requirements. DC Water also ascertains that sewer and water systems can handle the capacity for change. This department performs work and pricing assessments to ensure work quality and clarify work orders on each project.

6. Office of Planning

The Office of Planning is primarily concerned with projects that touch or affect historic sites. For instance, new building projects near museums, cultural centers, and protected sites must obtain permits from the Office of Planning. The District and US Commission of Fine Arts require building projects to obtain design approvals on projects in historic districts like Georgetown, on government property, and near major federal buildings, parks, and sites. The Office of Planning bestows authority on the Historic Preservation Review Board to assess submissions for projects touching on protected landmarks.

How Long It Takes to Get a Permit

So, how long does it take to get approved in Washington, D.C.? The approval process can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as the project’s scope and time and issuance time for alteration, repairs, or additions. However, one thing is certain, working with an experienced permit expediter like DFM Development Services can greatly reduce your wait time for permit approval. Our experienced team of permit expediting professionals takes the pain out of the permitting process and works to keep your project on schedule.

Contact DFM Development Services, LLC to expedite your next building permit.

About DFM

DFM Development Services is the leading Red Tape Consultancy in the DC Metro Region, specializing in navigating complex and time-consuming regulatory processes for Real Estate Development and AEC Industry Professionals.

From expediting complex building permits and the bond release process to ensuring environmental compliance and precise dry utility design, our tailor-made approach empowers you to confidently move forward with your project, knowing you’ve successfully met all compliance requirements.

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