Permit Expediting with DOB’s Accelerated Plan Review Program

You’ve probably heard the old saying, time is money. This phrase is especially true when it comes to construction projects in Washington, D.C. Every day waiting for permitting approvals is another day of lost time and money.

But there’s good news for those seeking to fast-track the permitting process. The D.C. Department of Buildings (DOB), formerly the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), offers an even faster way to get projects moving. It’s called Accelerated Plan Review, and for a fee, it helps speed up the permitting process for project owners. Since its launch in 2017, the program has helped thousands of projects get off the ground and avoid the costly delays of permitting purgatory.

What is Accelerated Plan Review?

Launched under DCRA and now administered by DOB, the optional paid service offers project owners an individualized and streamlined plan review and permitting process. Project owners and contractors who wish to fast-track building permits can request the expedited service after ensuring building plans meet all D.C. Construction Code requirements and receiving approvals from DOB’s participating sister agencies.

Projects and permits that are well-suited to D.C.’s Accelerated Plan Review Program include:

  • New Construction
  • Demolition
  • Tenant Improvements
  • Interior Alterations
  • Use Changes
  • Revisions
  • Foundation-to-Grade
  • Sheeting and Shoring

Do Your Projects Qualify?

When it comes to the fast-track processing program, some projects are better candidates than others. Commercial interior renovations, new multi-family dwellings, and mixed-use developments have successfully used the program.

To participate in the Accelerated Plan Review Program, project owners must meet the following criteria:

  • A 100% complete set of construction drawings, including floor plans, elevations, and any other detailed drawings necessary to provide a full representation of the building or project
  • Adherence will all required neighbor notifications
  • Calculation of Green Area Ratio
  • Plan number registered with the Department of Energy & Environment Stormwater Management Division.
  • Citation of Board of Zoning Adjustment approval relief letter and order published in the D.C. Register
  • Inclusion of District Department of Transportation Public Space letter of consent
  • Completion of a Green Energy Compliance Sheet

However, even then, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some projects might not qualify for the program due to size and complexity. Additionally, raze permits and certain supplemental building permits are excluded from the program. Project owners wishing to guarantee eligibility are encouraged to work with an experienced permit expeditor like DFM Development Services.

What is the Program Cost?

Participation in the optional review and permit expediting process comes with a cost. Divided into four tiers, three commercial and one residential, project scope, the number of units, and total square footage are all considered when determining applicable program participation fees. Only an Application Technical Reviewer (ATR) can determine the actual costs associated with an Accelerated Plan.

The following breakdown provides an overview of program participation:

Tier I – Commercial/Mixed-Use

  • The first plan review session costs $10,000 for projects under 7,500 Square Feet, a Maximum of 6 Units, or 6 Units and Commercial
  • The first plan review session costs $12,500 for projects under 10,000 Square Feet, a Maximum of 10 Units, or 10 Units and Commercial
  • All Subsequent review sessions and permit revisions after permit issuance are $2,500

Tier II – Commercial/Mixed-Use

  • The first plan review session costs $17,500 for projects under 20,000 Square Feet
  • The first plan review session costs $22,500 for projects between 20,001 and 30,000 Square Feet
  • The first plan review session costs $25,000 for projects between 30,001 and 40,000 Square Feet
  • The second review session costs $10,000 for all Tier II projects
  • All Subsequent reviews and permit revisions after permit issuance are $5,000

Tier III – Commercial/Mixed-Use

  • The first plan review session costs $50,000 for projects between 40,001 and 50,000 Square Feet
  • The first plan review session costs $65,000 for projects between 50,001 and 100,000 Square Feet
  • The first plan review session costs $75,000 for projects between 100,001 and 200,000 Square Feet
  • The second review session costs $10,000 for all Tier III projects
  • All Subsequent reviews and permit revisions after permit issuance are $5,000

Most project owners want to know how long it takes to obtain a permit in Washington, D.C. The permit application and approval time vary depending on several factors — project’s time, scope, issuance time, and additions.

But one thing is always guaranteed — working with an experienced and trusted permit expediter like DFM Development Services can significantly reduce your wait time and improve your chances of success.

DFM’s team of permitting experts takes the pain out of the project permitting, keeping your project on schedule. Our experts have extensive experience helping both large and small development projects navigate the accelerated plan review process.  If you’re considering expediting the plan review process, contact us today to discuss your project’s permitting needs.

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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Phone: (703) 942-8700

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