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Permitting FAQs

Certificate of Occupancy

What is a conditional certificate of occupancy (CCO)? A conditional  certificate  of  occupancy  (CCO)  is  a  mechanism  to  assist  an  owner  to  obtain  limitedoccupancy of a building that is still under construction. A Core and Shell C of O is required to be issuedbefore a CCO is issued.  A Core and Shell C of O does not allow occupancy of the building.

When is a CCO issued? A CCO is issued when the building, structure, or portion thereof may be safely occupied even if the workrequired under the issued permits is not complete. Review the Guidelines for the Issuance of ConditionalCertificates  of  Occupancy  and  related  checklist  for  the  submission  requirements  and  DCRA  review  andapproval process.

What inspections are necessary for CCO issuance? All  inspections  identified  in  question  #13  plus  an  oversight  inspection  may  be  required  prior  to  CCOissuance.  A  zoning  inspection  may  be  required  to  verify  parking  and  loading,  inclusionary  zoning  (IZ)units, and if the development obtained zoning approval from the Zoning Commission or Board of ZoningAdjustment,   an   inspection   to   verify   compliance   with   the   Order   conditions   and/or   additionaldocumentation from the owner will be required prior to the issuance of a CCO.

What are green requirements for a CCO? Green  Building  Act  (GBA)  projects  must  demonstrate  the  building  is  on  track  to  certification.  Privatelyfunded  GBA  projects  must  also  provide  a  financial  security.    Green  Construction  Code  (GCC)  projectsmust have conducted a Rough and Final Green Inspection and provided all applicable documents. GCCinspections  must  be  conducted  by  a  DCRA  building  inspector.  Third  Party  Agencies  are  not  currentlyapproved to conduct Green Building Inspections. DCRA anticipates training the Third Party Agencies tobe  able  to  perform  plan  review  and  inspections  in  spring  2017.  For  detailed  information,  please  visitwww.buildgreendc.org/certificate-of-occupancy.

May multiple CCOs be issued for a single building permit? Yes. For example, if the owner of a multi-family building would like to partially occupy units before theconstruction  is  complete,  the  owner  or  his/her  designated  agent  may  apply  for  a CCO  as  floors  of  thebuilding  are  ready  to  be  occupied.  For  a  development  with  an  inclusionary  zoning  (IZ)  requirement,  a proportion of market and IZ units must be provided and the COO application should specifically list theIZ units by unit number.

What is the maximum number of CCOs which may be issued for a project? An applicant is encouraged to limit the number of CCOs for which they apply; however, there currentlyis no maximum numbers. A final COO that lists all floors, below grade parking, IZ units (if required), andground floor retail (if provided) must be issued prior to the expiration of the last CCO.
Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs ǀ 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 ǀ 202.442.4400 ǀ dcra.dc.govPage 2 of 5Revised 1/17/2017

What is the length of a CCO? Typically a  CCO  is  issued  for  30-90  days,  as recommended by the applicant’s Third Party Agency  orDCRA  for  a  property  not  inspected  by  a  Third  Party  Agency.DCRA’s Third  Party  Program  staff  willreview  all  CCO  applications  and  requests  from  Third  Party  Agencies  for  the  duration  of  the  CCO.    TheCCO will bear an expiration date by which time the conditions of the CCO must be met.  If the applicants  unable  to  satisfy  the  conditions  under  which  the  CCO  was  granted,  the  applicant  should  submitanother COO application, with a letter from the Third Party Agency explaining the reasons for which theconditions  could  not  be  met  and  a  date  by  which  they  will  be  resolved.  Advise  DCRA  if  you  have  aspecial circumstance which warrants a CCO of greater than 90 days.

How long after an applicant submits a CCO application is an inspection to be scheduled? If a zoning or oversight inspection is required, it will generally be scheduled within 3-5 business days ofthe submission of a complete application.

When is a Core and Shell C of O required? A Core and Shell C of O is not required unless the applicant will be seeking a CCO for the building. DCRAwill issue a Core and Shell C of O if requested by the owner for financing  or other reasons. A Core andShell  C  of  O  does  NOT  allow  occupancy  of  a  building,  rather,  the  issuance  of  it  signifies  that  the  Coreand Shell have been fully constructed, consistent with the approved building plans and are operational.

My project intends to request a CCO.  When should we come in for a Core and Shell C of O? Once  all  the  Core  and  Shell inspections are complete, reports are submitted to DCRA’s third partyinspections staff and approved.

What steps are necessary if an applicant intends to operate a newly constructed parking garage priorto obtaining a C of O for the building? A Core and Shell C of O is not required to occupy the garage. The applicant shall obtain a CCO to occupythe building while construction of the rest of the building continues.

Is it permissible to start construction on a Tenant Layout (TL) permit prior to issuance of the Core andShell C of O? Yes, once the TL permit has been issued, construction may begin. However, a Core and Shell C of O forthe building must first be issued prior to issuance of a either a conditional or final C of O for the tenantspace.

What inspections are necessary for Core and Shell C of O issuance? Special Inspections, Mechanical Final, Plumbing Final, including fire suppression system hydrostatic inspection, Electrical Final, including fire alarm system test, Fire Final, Have at least one working elevator, Approval of the Wall Check, DCRA Green Rough-in Inspection
Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs ǀ 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 ǀ 202.442.4400 ǀ dcra.dc.govPage 3 of 5Revised 1/17/2017 Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Stormwater Regulations (Final Approval Notice(FAN) issued to applicant by DOEE) and Green Area Ratio (GAR) compliance (DOEE inspectedand approved Landscape Checklist)Core and Shell building inspection (Last inspection to be completed)

If required, must the green roof be completed prior to the Core and Shell C of O? In certain circumstances, an applicant may not be able to fully complete the installation of a green roofbefore the Core and Shell C of O is ready to be issued.  In those cases, the applicant must contact DOEEand obtain  their  approval  to  delay  the  installation  of  the  green  roof.  For  example,  the  winter  monthsmay not be an appropriate time to install a green roof.  Even if the Core and Shell C of O is issued with apartially installed green roof, the green roof must be fully installed prior to the issuance of the final C ofO for the building.

What is required to obtain final Stormwater and GAR (Green Area Ratio) approval from DOEE andmust it occur prior to the issuance of a Core and Shell C of O or CCO? The operating guidance for I&EB Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) “sign off” on projects thatrequire SWM Best Management Practices (BMPs) include:1.An approved DOEE final inspection for construction of the approved SWM BMPs and2.An “As-built Plan” is submitted to DOEE for review and is approved.a.The As- built is required to be submitted within 21 days of the Final Inspection.  Uponapproval of the As-built a Final Approval Notice (FAN) is issued to the Stormwater Planowner and their agents. The FAN represents final approval for SWMP compliance.With respect to projects where GAR is required, the completed Landscape Checklist is required to be completed by a certified Landscape Expert and forwarded to DOEE’s GAR Office. The completed Landscape Checklist represent final compliance for GAR required for inspection the I&EB. DOEE does not oppose the issuance of Core and Shell or CCO on projects where SWM is required but not completed; however, the applicant is advised that the final C of O will not be issued until the final SWMP inspection has occurred and the applicant has submitted the as-built plan to DOEE.

When should I consider and plan for phased occupancy? The best time to consider the future phased occupancy of the proposed building is during the designphase. DCRA encourages owners to consult with their design professionals to develop building plansthat will support phased occupancy.  If questions arise during this process, the applicant can request aPreliminary Design Review Meeting (PDRM) to discuss questions with technical staff. To schedule aPDRM please contact: Arlette Howard by email at Arlette.Howard@dc.gov or by phone at (202)442-4558.

What is the process to obtain a C of O for phased occupancy? A project completes work under a Core and Shell building permit and then applies for and obtains aCore and Shell C of O.  This ensures that life safety systems are in place. After the Core and Shell C of Ois issued, a final or conditional certificate of occupancies can be applied for each space in the buildings it is completed under separate building permits.  See examples below:Examples of Phased Occupancy:
Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs ǀ 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 ǀ 202.442.4400 ǀ dcra.dc.gov Page 4 of 5Revised 1/17/2017

  1. A 10 story new spec office building with a grocery store on the first floor and one tenant who secured  plans for occupying the 9th and 10th floors.  Additionally, a 3 story underground parking garage is being built first.  The developer would like to have tenants occupy spaces as they come online. a.Process
  • The parking garage is completed first under a building permit. 
  • The Core and Shell building is completed under a building permit.
    • a.The owner applies for and receives a Core and Shell C of O.  No spaces can be occupied under a Core and Shell C of O, but the owner may apply for a CCO to occupy the building.
    • b.The owner applies and receives a CCO to use the parking garage.  If the owner wants to use the garage before the Core and Shell C of O is complete, they can apply for a CCO for the garage space. 
  • The grocery store is completed under a tenant layout permit. a.The grocery store applies for and receives a C of O to occupy the grocery store. iv.The 9th and 10th floor tenant completes work under a tenant layout permit.
    • a.The tenant applies for and receives a C of O for the 9th and 10th floor only.
    • b.To note, all the certificate of occupancies that are being received, are the final C of Os for those spaces.c.As the 2-8 floors are completed under a series of building permits, each separate tenant will be required to receive a C of O.d.None of the C of O issued for the spaces above are “conditional”. They are the final C of O for those spaces.  If there were conditions, then they would be issued as CCOs that would allow for the spaces to be occupied for a period of time until the conditions can be fulfilled.
  1. A 10 story mixed use multifamily building with three retail spaces and a restaurant/bar on the first floor. Floors 2-10 are all multifamily residential spaces and the owner plans on finishing it one floor at a time.a.Process
  • The Core and Shell building is completed under a building permit.a.The owner applies for and receives a Core and Shell certificate of occupancy.  No portion of the building may be occupied under a Core and Shell C of O.b.After the Core and Shell C of O has been issued, the applicant may apply for a CCO to occupy the leasing office.
  • Build-out of the three retail spaces and the restaurant/bar space is completed under four separate tenant layout permits. a.The operators of each retail and restaurant/bar apply for and receive a C of O to occupy their respective spaces.
  • The owner finishes one residential floor at a time starting with the 2 and 3rd floor under one building permit. a.As each floor is finished, a CCO is applied for and received for each floor.

Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs ǀ 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 ǀ 202.442.4400 ǀ dcra.dc.gov Page 5 of 5Revised 1/17/2017 b.After all of the multifamily floors (2-10) are completed, a final C of O is applied for that covers the 2-10 floors. The final C of O would also note the presence of any IZ units by unit number, the total square footage of the retail/restaurant space, and any below grade parking.  3. New 5 Story Hotel and the owner wants to occupy floors as they are completed. a.Process i.The process will be the same as the multifamily building described.

How do I schedule a meeting to discuss a Third Party Agency-related C of O? If the building inspections have been conducted by a Third Party Agency, please contact DCRA’s Third Party Program staff, Ms. Lori Fowler or Ms. Tamika Jones by email at Lori.Fowler@dc.gov and Tamika.Jones@dc.gov at to schedule a meeting.

Is a C of O required for residential projects? A C of O is required for residential buildings that consist of two or more dwelling units.   A certificate of occupancy is not required for a single family dwelling. In the case of a single family dwelling, an approved building final inspection is required prior to occupancy.  

Is a C of O required for individual office tenants in an office building? If a valid C of O has been issued for office use for the entire building, an individual office tenant is not required to obtain its own C of O.  Occasionally a tenant will want to obtain its own C of O for financing or other reasons.  In those cases, DCRA will issue a C of O after the applicant submits the application, pays the application fee, and provides a copy of its lease or letter from the property owner giving the applicant permission to apply for the C of O.  

An existing office building with a valid C of O is fully renovated.  Is a new C of O required? If only interior renovations occurred, with no change to the layout, the amount of square footage, the use, the occupant load, and the ownership of the building is the same, a new C of O is not required. 

Deck Permit

I own a single-family home and am constructing a deck on my property.  What application type should I use to accurately describe my project?
If one level, and under 500 square feet, you may now select from the application Service Type, Deck Permit, under General Information. This permit is applicable for single- and two-family dwellings.

Am I required to identify a design professional in the permit application during the submission process?
If you are using the Deck Guide, a design professional is not required to be identified in the application during the submission process, when applying for a one-level residential deck with dimensions totaling 500 square feet or less, on a single– or two-family dwelling.

What is the permit fee for the new Deck Permit?
The Deck Permit fee is  based upon the cost of the construction.  For projects with a construction cost:

  • Of less than $500, the permit cost is $36.30
  • Between $500 - $1,000, the permit cost is $71.50
  • Between $1,001 - $1,000,000, the permit cost is calculated as ($30.00 +(2% of construction value $1001 - $1,000,000)) + 10% and ranges between $55.02 - $22,033

I am constructing a deck that will not be for a single-family or two-family dwelling, it is for a multi-unit building.  Must I identify the design professional in the permit application?
Yes, for larger residential projects, a design professional is required to be identified in the permit application during the submission process.  Also, rather than submit an application for a Deck Permit, an application for an Occupied Roof Deck, a Two-Story Deck or a Multi-Story Balcony/Deck Permit must be submitted.

 

Permit Application

Are the Contractor and Subcontractor information required for permit application submission?
No, the Contractor and Subcontractor are not required at the time of submitting a permit application. However, please provide this information as soon as possible to avoid any delay in your permit application process, as no permit can be issued without this information.

Are the Design professional and Master Tradesmen information required for permit application submission?
These are not required if you are the homeowner making minor repairs to exterior features or interior renovation to a single-family dwelling or two-family flat with no structural changes. If you are not a homeowner, you will be required to provide the information of either the Architect or Engineer at the time of submitting a permit application.  

Can I edit the Contractor, Subcontractor, and registered design professional information in the permit application anytime while the project is under review?
Yes, the permit application can be edited to include the Contractor, Subcontractor, and registered design professional information before the permit is issued.

What do I do if I am unable to locate my hired professionals or contractors in the application?
The permit application pulls the most up-to-date license information from various systems and databases.  It is possible that your hired professionals or contractors do not hold active licenses with DCRA.  In this case, please ask your hired professionals or contractors to contact DCRA at dcra@dc.gov.  

What do I do if I want to change the design professional or contractors after the application is submitted and before the permit is issued?
You may contact our office at DCRA@dc.gov to make your request with the Permitting Office.

Will all the parties in the permit application be notified when the permit application is submitted and at permit issuance?
Yes, all parties listed in the permit application will receive automatic notifications sent to the email of record.

I am the Permit Expeditor, but did not locate and select myself from the listing in the permit application.  What do I need to do?  
Please register as a Permit Expeditor using the DCRA Permit Expeditor Registration Form.  If you have already registered using the link above and are having trouble locating yourself in the permit application, please email DCRA at dcra@dc.gov.

As the homeowner, can I be listed as the Contractor on my application?
Yes, if you are the homeowner of a single or two-family home, you can self-identify and attest that you are the General Contractor of record on the application. You are no longer required to complete the Contractor’s section of the permit application.

Can I apply for a permit extension and maintain the original permit number for my records?
Yes, if you have not exceeded the maximum of four, six-month extensions. With the latest enhancement, you simply select “Permit Extension” in the application and answer some questions to make your extension request.  Once approved, your original permit number will be maintained with the extension tracking number at the end.  For examples: “B2000000- Ext 01” for the first request and “B2000000- Ext 02” for the second request.

When will I be required to provide the estimated cost of construction?
 The Estimated Cost of Construction is required at the time of application submittal and supporting documentation should be uploaded to the system.

When will I be required to provide the signed construction contract(s)?
Signed construction contract (s) are required before the Permit is issued for validation. No permit will be issued without signed construction contract(s).

How is my fee being assessed for my permit application?
The cost of your permit application is based on the entire cost of your construction project. Please visit permit fee structure on DCRA’s website. The first fee payment is 50% of your fee portion based on the permit fee structure using your estimated cost of construction. The remaining fee balance is based on the cost of your signed construction contract(s).

Can I now submit the Raze Application online?
Yes, the application can now be processed online through the application intake process. Please “select” Raze as the Application Type.

Permit Extension

Is the Contractor, Subcontractor, Design Professional and Master Tradesmen required to be licensed by District of Columbia?
Yes, the Contractor, Subcontractor, Design Professional and Master Tradesmen must be licensed in the District of Columbia.

How do I know if my permit is eligible for an extension?
An eligible permit must be unexpired, which means prior to the expiration date stated on the issued permit or within the last year of work occurring in which such work is documented for review.

When does a permit expire?
A permit expires if no work is started within the year after permit issuance or if the last inspection has occurred over 1 year ago.

How many extensions can be granted for a permit?
A total of 4 permit extensions can be granted for eligible permits, not to exceed 2 years.

Can I apply for a permit extension and maintain the original permit number for my records?
Yes, if you have not exceeded the maximum of four, six-month extensions. With the latest enhancement, you simply select “Permit Extension” in the application and answer some questions to make your extension request.  Once approved, your original permit number will be maintained with the extension tracking number at the end.  For examples: “B2000000- Ext 01” for the first request and “B2000000- Ext 02” for the second request.