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DCRA Unveils ‘Safe & Simple’ Initiative

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Program aims to improve agency services, serves businesses and residents more rapidly

Today, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) unveiled ‘Safe & Simple,’ a new initiative aimed at improving customer services for DC residents and businesses. As part of the initiative, DCRA announced three new services that the agency will begin offering immediately: online scheduling for appointments at the agency’s Permit and Licensing Centers, a new how-to guide for obtaining a deck permit, and online scheduling for permit-based inspections.

“My goal is to make Washington, DC, a city that works better for all our residents and businesses. We know that people want more predictability and shorter wait times from DCRA, and these new services will provide both,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “After I spent a week at DCRA last year, the agency committed to improving relationships with customers, and now they are making good on that promise. Going forward, we will continue making DCRA an agency that works better for everyone.”

The online appointments for the Permit and Licensing Centers allows DCRA customers to select an appointment time online before visiting DCRA, which will reduce wait times once at the agency. Customers can make online appointments for assistance with permitting, licensing, and records requests, including with the Office of the Surveyor. The new scheduling tool also allows customers to make appointments with other District agency offices located within the Permit Center, including the Office of Planning, the District Department of Transportation, and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services. Customers can schedule an appointment here.

“DCRA does a lot of different things from licensing to permitting to inspections. But improving the way we serve the public really comes down to making processes simpler and District residents and businesses safer,” said DCRA Director Melinda Bolling. “Ultimately, to continue to be a full-service city, we must make doing business with the District safe and simple.”

Online scheduling for permit-based inspections allows project managers and property owners to select their preferred day for required inspections without the need for a call to the agency. Customers with an active permit can select the appointment day through DCRA’s Citizen Portal.

In addition, DCRA’s new deck guide provides step-by-step instructions to help homeowners and contractors prepare a compliant application, with special attention on commonly challenging areas such as zoning requirements and relevant construction codes. Homeowners and contractors who follow the guide will, in most instances, be able to obtain a deck permit in just one business day. The new how-to deck guide is available here. DCRA plans to release additional how-to guides for basements and other common renovations later in 2017.

The three new services announced today add to a growing list of improvements—including the DC Business Center Portal— offered by DCRA.