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Plan Review

DCRA reviews residential and commercial project plans through accelerated plan review and digital walk-throughs, and our online plan submission and review platform, ProjectDox. These tools and additional resources help us deliver results to you quicker so you can be on your way to a successful project. Learn how different services cater to different projects and permits and submit plans online today.

Getting a construction permit in the District involves different elements based on the scope of your project. You may be required to get approvals or services from agencies in addition to DCRA.


Preliminary Design Review

Do you have a large-scale project, such as construction of a new residential or office building?  Let us help you with a Preliminary Design Review Meeting (PDRM). At a PDRM, we provide a first review of your building plans prior to you filing them. Schedule a PDRM, upload plans and related documents prior to the meeting, and make filing faster and simpler.

 

Digital Walk-Through

Was your project previously deemed as Walk-Through? Does the scope of work meet these criteria? Your project can now be reviewed using digital walk-through in one business day. No more in-person application or plan submission. However, you can schedule a one-on-one with our plan review team or with the Homeowner’s Center for guidance and support. Use digital walk-through for permit applications, such as:

  • Fence
  • Soil Boring
  • Projects that are less than 1,000 square feet including interior renovations and demolition
  • Signs
  • Retaining Walls
  • Underground Storage Tanks
  • Tents

Digital Walk-Through Step-by-Step Process

 

Accelerated Plan Review Program

Program Overview

Established in 2017, DCRA’s Accelerated Plan Review Program became an optional paid service that provides customers with a personalized, streamlined accelerated plan review and permitting process. Once building plans meet all DC Construction Code requirements and DCRA’s participating sister agencies provide preapprovals, building plans can be approved in one business day. While the program offers faster service, proper adherence to code remains paramount – ensuring the safety of District residents, businesses, and visitors.

The program accommodates various types of building projects, such as:

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

If your building type is not listed above, to learn more, please email the program team at [email protected].

For a complete list of requirements, fee structure and process for application, please view our Accelerated Plan Review Guide[PDF].

Program Application and Eligibility

The Accelerated Plan Review Program is available to assist you through the permit application and plan review processes. To participate in the Accelerated Plan Review Program, the following prerequisites must be met:

Upon meeting the eligibility criteria, with the exception of those noted below, most customers who apply for a building permit will be offered the option of participating in the Accelerated Plan Review Program.

The Accelerated Plan Review Program services are not to be used in conjunction with the standard DCRA permit application process. Raze permits and supplemental building permits are excluded from the program. More information can be found on dcra.dc.gov at Get a Building Permit, Plan Submission Checklist, and Overview of the Permitting Process.

Requirements to Participate in the Accelerated Plan Review Program

To receive the full benefits of the Accelerated Plan Review Program, participants are responsible for responding in a timely manner to all notices and requests for information made by DCRA and other DC government agencies and/or regulatory entities. Participants must also comply with all applicable District of Columbia Municipal Regulations and comments made by Plan Reviewers.

The following actions may occur if there is a lack of adherence to the program requirements. If a participant fails to:

  • Resolve comments on construction drawings before the review session without notifying DCRA within seven (7) business days, the review session may be postponed unless there is availability for a session to occur.
  • Comply with review comments after multiple rounds of reviews, DCRA may issue a letter of determination to discontinue your participation in the program.
  • Submit accurate and truthful applications and/or makes changes to the project scope or documents without notifying DCRA via email at [email protected], the project may be removed from the program and forfeit all fees received to date.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which projects may be considered for the Accelerated Plan Review Program?

Most projects that meet the DC Construction Code are eligible to apply to participate in the Accelerated Plan Review Program.

How do I qualify?

Applicants must submit a complete and accurate building permit application online, as well as upload all associated design documents that meet the Accelerated Plan Review Program criteria.

When is a permit issued?

When the project is approved by all Plan Reviewers and applicable DC government agencies or regulatory entities, and all fees are paid in full.

Can I apply in person?

No, all applications must be completed online.

What other DC government agencies or regulatory entities participate in the Accelerated Plan Review Program?

In some cases, depending on compliance, the following DC government agencies may be mandated to participate: the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), DC Water, DC Health, the Office of Planning (OP), the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

How can I determine the disciplines of my project?

Each project is unique, and therefore, has unique disciplines involved. The best way to verify that all required DC government agencies and regulatory entities have been contacted is to contact DCRA at [email protected].

If my project is denied, can I try again?

Yes, all applicants whose projects are denied entry into the program may revise their application and resubmit.

How can I make a payment or pay my invoice?

Payments can be made online via DCRA’s Citizen Access Portal with a credit card, via mail, or in-person with a check.

Why do different tiers have different costs?

Costs are defined based on the scope and size of the project.

Where are review sessions held?

All review sessions are held using the Cisco WebEx virtual conferencing platform.

What if I cannot make it to the review session or need to reschedule?

Failure to change or reschedule a review session within the seven days will cause a delay in the reviewal process and could be subject to additional service fees. To reschedule your review session, contact the Accelerated Plan Review Program Coordinator at [email protected].

How long is the review session?

Each review session is different, but review sessions are scheduled within a two (2) hour block.

Will I need a subsequent review session?

If either of the follow occur, a subsequent review session may be required:

  • Outstanding issues are raised by DCRA that cannot be resolved within the 24 hours following the review session.
  • Outstanding issues from a DC government agency or regulatory entity that will need to be resolved and approved before a permit can be issued.

What happens when DCRA or other DC government agencies provide a participant feedback on their resubmissions?

When DCRA or other DC government agencies or regulatory entities provide comments or hold projects for comments (HFC), the participant will be required to address the comment and schedule a subsequent plan review.

If additional corrections are needed, when is that scheduled?

Subsequent review sessions are scheduled no later than 10 business days after the applicants allotted 24-hour response to Plan Reviewer comments. 

If a second review session is not required, how long does the participant have to correct the application before it is denied?

Each participant has 24 hours to resubmit after each review session. If unable to provide the required changes, then the project holds until the participant is ready to resubmit. At that time the Service Level Agreement (SLA) of 10 business days begins.

Can the Accelerated Plan Review Program fee be refunded?

If a participant withdraws their project from the program and services have not yet been rendered, a refund can be issued. If the review process has started, fees are non-refundable.

 

ProjectDox

ProjectDox is an online plan submission and plan review platform. No need to submit multiple paper copies of project plans or permit applications. Apply to use ProjectDox if you have more complex scopes of work that require more in-depth review. Once your application is "ProjectDox Accepted," you will receive an email to create a username and password and begin uploading your plans. Once uploaded, plans are pre-screened for the basic requirements and assigned to necessary plan review disciplines within DCRA and applicable sister agencies.

Upload Plans to ProjectDox

 

How to Get a Permit

Find the type of permit you need, view easy-to-follow steps to obtain your permit, and get details on specific requirements for each permit type. Expedite your permit with the Permit Expediter or jump right in and apply for your permit online.

Permit Resources

DCRA has many online tools to make your permitting and plan review process quick and easy. We also offer resources and information to guide you through the process. Still have questions? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you don't find what you're looking for, contact us.