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Surveyor - Wall Checks

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Are you in compliance with District wall check requirements? Failure to comply with District wall check requirements may result in DCRA stopping the work on your project. 

What is a wall check?

A “wall check” (also known as a “wall test” or “wall examination”) is required by the District of Columbia Building Code and is performed by an independent DC Registered Land Surveyor. A wall check is performed to confirm that the location of the foundation walls, in relation to the property lines, are consistent with the issued building permit’s approved plat and plans. The information is resulted in the form of a wall examination report.

Why is a wall check needed?

Knowing where a building is located, in relation to the property lines at the construction stage when only the foundations have been constructed, will minimize the changes needed to avoid encroachments and/or overbuilding on adjacent properties. A wall check is performed as part of DCRA’s Building Permit Process by an independent DC Registered Land Surveyor. DCRA’s Office of the Zoning Administrator (OZA) will review the wall check to ensure the foundation walls are consistent with the issued building permit’s approved plat and plans. View examples of property lines in the informational handout Wall Checks: Know Your Building’s Location at the bottom of this web page. 

When should a wall check be conducted?

A wall check is required for a new or enlarged structure once construction of the foundation walls reaches the height of one foot (1 ft.) above the footer to ensure that the foundations are consistent with the issued building permit’s approved plat and plans.

How do I obtain a wall check?

To comply with this DC Building Code requirement, an applicant must hire an independent DC Registered Land Surveyor to conduct the wall check and produce the wall examination report.

How should the wall check be submitted to DCRA?

The independent DC Registered Land Surveyor who prepared the wall examination report shall certify it and submit it in person, together with the field notes used to prepare the wall check, to DCRA’s Office of the Surveyor (DCRA, 1100 4th Street SW, 3rd Floor). Once the Office of the Surveyor completes the review of the submitted wall examination report and field notes, the wall examination report will be retained by the Office of the Surveyor, who shall provide a copy of the wall examination report to the Office of the Zoning Administrator (OZA) for Zoning Compliance Review.

What is the specific role of the Office of the Zoning Administrator in the wall check review process?

The Office of the Zoning Administrator (OZA) staff will review the wall examination report to determine whether the wall examination report is consistent with the issued building permit’s approved plat and plans. If it is, the OZA Zoning Technician will approve the wall examination report in DCRA’s permitting database. The applicant will then be able to move forward with the construction consistent with the approved and issued building permit, plat, and plans. If the wall examination report is not consistent with the issued building permit’s approved plat and plans, the OZA Zoning Technician will enter a “hold for corrections” (HFC) comment in DCRA’s permitting database explaining the issue and notify the applicant.

Still not sure if your project requires a wall check?

Contact DCRA’s Office of the Zoning Administrator at (202) 442-4576 for more information.

Forms & Supportive Documents:

 

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