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Permits - Third Party Plan Review Program

In order to be certified to participate in the Third Party Plan Review Program, each party seeking to qualify as a Third Party Plan Review Agency must submit an application to DCRA so its qualifications can be reviewed and evaluated. When an application is approved by DCRA, the Third Party Plan Review Agency will be issued an identification number as evidence that the Third Party Plan Review Agency has been certified to participate in the Third Party Plan Review Program.

As detailed more fully in the manual linked below, the application must include a list of the Professional(s)-in-Charge and Plan Reviewers affiliated with the Third Party Plan Review Agency, who will certify, supervise and/or perform Third Party Plan Review. By undertaking a Third Party Plan Review, the Third Party Plan Review Agency acknowledges that it is in compliance with all of the conditions of the Program and attests that the personnel involved under the Program are qualified in accordance with the applicable statutes, regulations and this Manual. An application is submitted by the Third Party Plan Review Agency to obtain certification, once that certification is obtained, the Third Party Plan Review Agency has an obligation to update DCRA in writing if any material information previously submitted to DCRA in its application should change.

The Government of the District of Columbia, through DCRA, is responsible for the review or examination of all construction documents for construction projects in the District of Columbia. Pursuant to provisions of the Homestart Act., §105.3.1.1of the Construction Code Supplement, under certain conditions, non-governmental persons or entities, are authorized, at the Owner’s expense, to perform Third Party Plan Review of a Project’s construction documents including plans and specifications required for issuance of a permit and to certify that such work complies with the Construction Codes. As per DC Official Code, 2001 Ed. § 6-1405.03 (b)(2) and the Green Building Act of 2006, a certified

Third Party Plan Review Agency may review any of the following Disciplines provided that it has been approved by DCRA to review that Discipline:

  • Elevators
  • Structural/ Non-Structural
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Fire and Life Safety

Rules establishing the minimum requirements for a Professional-in-Charge, Plan Reviewer and Third Party Plan Review Agency are set forth in the Construction Codes. In order to clarify the requirements and procedures for DCRA’s Third Party Plan Review Program, and to provide DCRA with the flexibility to update these requirements as necessary, DCRA hereby adopts this Third Party Plan Review Program-Procedure Manual. The effective date of this Manual is 5/1/2010. Pursuant to Section 105.3.1.1.1of the Construction Code Supplement, applicants seeking to qualify as a Third Party Plan Review Agency must comply with the qualification requirements and procedures set forth as in Section III.

The scope of permission for Third Party Plan Review does not include reviews that fall under the purview of the following agencies or administrations:

  • Office of the Zoning Administrator
  • The District Department of Transportation
  • The District Department of the Environment
  • Department of Health
  • Historic Preservation Review Board
  • U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
  • DC Water and Sewer Authority 
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
  • Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Green Compliance Review

This Procedure Manual: 

  1. Establishes an application process by which a Third Party Plan Review Agency is certified;
  2. Sets forth the minimum qualifications for a Third Party Plan Review Agency and its personnel;
  3. Sets forth the minimum scope of Third Party Plan Review of a Discipline and clarifies the documentation and reports that must be completed by each participant in the process, including the Owner of the Property, the Third Party Plan Review Agency, the Professional-in-Charge, any Plan Reviewer and the Department;
  4. Establishes the duties and responsibilities of the Permit Applicant and the Code Official in the Third Party Plan Review process;
  5. Establishes a quality assurance process for verification and auditing of Third Party Plan Review and related reports; and 
  6. Communicates the process for removal or suspension of a Third Party Plan Review Agency where it does not adhere to the Department’s guidelines and procedures.
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