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Interpretation ZA-005: Use of Parapet as Roof top deck Railings without Setback

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Under Section B-308.3 of the DC Zoning Regulations [copied below], up to a four foot high parapet on a roof in an R, RF, or RA Zone is allowed to exceed the permitted building height. When there is a roof deck and there is a proposal to utilize a parapet to serve as the deck railing to meet DC Construction Code safety requirements, it has been the Zoning Administrator’s interpretation that such an allowed parapet may be used as a de facto railing or wall, without being subject to the Penthouse Setback requirements set forth in C-1502.1 [also copied below], as long as said parapet is in compliance with Section B-308.3 and all applicable DC Construction Code requirements.

  • Section B-308.3 The height of a building with a flat roof shall be measured from the BHMP to the highest point of the roof excluding parapets and balustrades not exceeding four feet (4 ft.) in height.
  • Section C-1502.1 Penthouses, screening around unenclosed mechanical equipment, rooftop platforms for swimming pools, roof decks, trellises, and any guard rail on a roof shall be setback from the edge of the roof upon which it is located as follows: …..