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Department of Buildings

In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, DOB will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024; no construction will be allowed on this day without an after-hours permit. You may report illegal construction by submitting an Illegal Construction Inspection Request Form during normal business hours or by calling 311.

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Childcare

Are you looking to establish or expand a childcare facility? Childcare providers in the District have two options for setting up their childcare businesses: Child Development Homes (CDHs) and Child Development Centers (CDCs). 

Child Development Home (CDH)

  • Permitted in all residential zones

  • Not permitted in multi-family buildings with 3 or more units
  • Must be the operator’s primary residence
  • Up to 9 children permitted as a matter of right (including resident children), and up to 12 as a special exception
  • Requires a Home Occupation Permit (HOP) from DOB
  • Subject to HOP regulations and Appendix M of the Building Code
  • May require a Building Permit
  • HOP required to secure an OSSE license
  • Does not require a business license

The below guidance applies to establishing or expanding an existing Child Development Home (CDH) located in a single-family dwelling, townhouse, flat (two dwelling units in a townhouse), or Residential (R-3) use. 

  1. File a completed home occupation permit (HOP) application & pay the fee via this link: Get a Home Occupation Permit

  1. Your HOP application will require a Childcare Fire and Safety graphic evacuation plan for review. If construction is anticipated, a DOB building permit is also required. 

  1. DOB will schedule a Site visit for applications that pass review. 

  1. Site visit inspection performed shall verify existing conditions. 

  1. Applications that pass review and inspection are approved. 

  1. Applicant pays remaining fees. 

  1. HOP issued by DOB. 

  1. Applicant goes to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for licensing. 

Child Development Center (CDC)

  • Permitted as a matter of right on properties zoned for daycare uses

  • Not permitted in most residential zones unless due to a special exception

  • The number of occupants is determined by the size of the space.
  • Requires a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) from DOB
  • Subject to both the Building Code and Zoning Regulations
  • May require a building permit
  • C of O is required to secure an OSSE license
  • Requires a Basic Business License from the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP)

The below guidance applies to establishing or expanding an existing Child Development Center (CDC) located in a building in a commercial zone district, not a single-family home or flat. The CDC is used for the non-residential licensed care, education, counseling, or training of individuals under the age of fifteen (15) years of age

1. A building permit is required if you are:  

a. Establishing the child development center in a new building

b. The prior use of the space was not a child development center

c. Proposing to change the number or ages of children in an existing center

2. File a completed application for a building permit & pay the fee Permitting in the District of Columbia | dob (dc.gov) 

3. Plans must be created by a registered design professional.  

4. DOB will evaluate the building plans for conformance with the building code and zoning regulations and issue permits after approval and fees.  

5. The owner shall conduct the work and obtain inspection approvals. 

6. The owner applies for a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) online using Certifi and pays the remaining fees. 

7. The C of O application will require a Childcare Fire and Safety graphic evacuation plan for review.  

8. DOB will schedule a Site visit for applications that pass review. 

9. Applicant goes to OSSE for licensing. 

 

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