Numerous laws and regulations have been adopted in the District of Columbia to govern the construction, alteration, and demolition of buildings and structures, and the maintenance of all premises in the District of Columbia including lots, parcels of land, buildings and structures. DCRA enforces the District of Columbia Construction Codes and portions of the Housing Code (14 DCMR, Chapters 1-15) which are applicable to housing businesses. DCRA also enforces those portions of the D.C. Official Code that relate to buildings and structures, including Title 6 (Housing and Building Restrictions and Regulations) and Title 42 (Real Property). DCRA publishes Administrative Bulletins in the DC Register, to communicate official Department policies and interpretations, in order to assist applicants, staff and the public in following operational, technical and legal procedures. DCRA’s Administrative Bulletins are available on the DCRA website.
The main purpose of the Construction Codes is to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the occupants or users of buildings and structures and the general public. The District of Columbia adopts the International Codes (ICC Codes) published by the International Code Council, and the National Electrical Code (NEC) published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), subject to any changes, deletions and/or additions to the ICC Codes or the NEC as set forth in Title 12 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) (the District of Columbia Construction Codes Supplement). The ICC Codes are a complete set of comprehensive, coordinated building safety, property maintenance, and fire prevention codes that have been adopted in fifty states and the District of Columbia. For further information about the ICC and its code development process, please refer to the ICC’s website.
Effective March 28, 2014, the District of Columbia adopted 11 of the 2012 ICC Codes and the NFPA’s 2011 NEC with changes, deletions, and/or additions set forth in the 2013 District of Columbia Construction Codes Supplement, 12 DCMR, Subtitles A through L. Updating of the Construction Codes is an ongoing function of the Construction Codes Coordinating Board (CCCB).
In addition to the laws and regulations enforced by DCRA, numerous other agencies and entities, both local and federal, have jurisdiction over issues and matters related to buildings and structures in the District of Columbia.
In October 2015, the Construction Codes Coordinating Board (CCCB) commenced a new code development cycle to review the 2015 ICC Codes and the 2014 NEC. For more information about the CCCB and its code development process, see the Construction Codes Coordinating Board website.
On September 28, 2018, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the 2017 District of Columbia Construction Codes was published in the D.C. Register for public comment. Comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on November 12, 2018, and the process for submitting comments is detailed on the final page of the proposed rulemaking.