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dob

Department of Buildings

In observance of the Emancipation Day holiday, DOB will be closed on Tuesday, April 16, 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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Welcome to the Department of Buildings

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General FAQs

DOB is located at 1100 4th Street SW. Normal business hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, and Thursday from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.


Are your offices open and how are they operating?

Unlike in the past, in-person services are often not the fastest way to be served, using our online services is faster and more convenient. We encourage customers to continue using DOB's online platforms and tools. Virtual appointments are also encouraged.

For customers who prefer to make the trek, we are happy to welcome you back, but the experience may be different than in the past.

Things To Know

  • Once onsite, you will find us ready to serve you. Enter through security and visit the DOB Digital Service Assistance Center on the second floor to be assisted by a Customer Service Representative who will guide you during your time at the agency.
  • All customers will be served. Online and in-person requests will be responded to equally, and in the order received. 
  • There are no scanners available. When coming to DOB, please ensure that all customer-provided documents that may be needed are available to you online and ready to be uploaded from a cloud-based location by you as part of your online transaction.
  • For certain corporate filings, paper applications will be accepted; however, faster service is available online. 
  • Customers may only access the second floor to conduct their business. No unescorted visitors will be permitted on other floors of the building.
  • As with all District government buildings, face masks will also be required to enter and in all customer-facing areas.

 

How do I request to meet with a specific individual about a project?

Please fill out this online form and your inquiry will be directed to the appropriate program area and your appointment will be scheduled.

 

I need assistance. What is the best way to get in touch with DOB?

Please fill out this online form with a brief description of what you’d like help with or who you would like to get in touch with, and we will direct your inquiry to the appropriate program area. For a faster response, you may also use the live chat feature found on dob.dc.gov during normal business hours.

How do I process a permit that used to be "walked through" at DOB?

DOB implemented the digital walk-through program that includes a full DOB plan review of your project in our ePlan review system, ProjectDox. Please view our six-step process from start to finish for details of how the process works. For the digital walk-through, all reviews conducted by DOB will be completed by the next business day, following acceptance of the plans in ProjectDox. For more information, please visit our digital walk-through process webpage.

How do I get the fees invoiced for my permit application to pay online?

If fees have not already been invoiced for your permit application upon approval of the project, please email [email protected] and include your permit number. We will review and notify you when payment can be made online and if anything additional is needed prior to issuance.

 

How do I submit my application for a new address?

To apply for a new or change of address, please fill out the New or Change of Address Application and submit the completed application to [email protected]. Allow five to 10 business days for review. Once approved, you can make your payment online. You will receive your new address confirmation letter via email after your payment has been made.

 

How do I get a building plat signed for permitting purposes with the Surveyor’s office?

To get a digital signature for your plat, please fill out this online form.

 

What zoning forms are available online?

The following zoning-related forms are available online:

How do I schedule an appointment with the Office of Zoning Administration?

To schedule an appointment, fill out this online form and someone will contact you.

 

What zoning-related online programs, resources and databases are available to me?

How do I submit hard copies of documents for zoning review, approval, etc.?

Any document that needs to be reviewed by the Office of the Zoning Administrator should be scanned into a PDF and submitted online. This includes a completed form, draft covenant, zoning certification, raze permit letter, and any documents requested by zoning staff or provided by you in response to a zoning compliance complaint and violation. Please be sure to:
  1. Specify in your request that you need a zoning review.
  2. Provide the property address.
  3. List the type of document/s you submitted.

For documents related to a pending building permit or Certificate of Occupancy application, please email those documents directly to the zoning technician who is reviewing the application.

How do I get DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) parking signs?

Visit DDOT's website to access this information.

 

How is DC Water accepting plan review and payments?

DC Water is establishing an alternate location at the Blue Plains Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) to handle permit applications, payments, and issuance of signed plans. The address below also accepts mail and FedEx. DC Water is encouraging people to respond to review comments via email. DC Water is also working on a web-based drop box for remote plan submissions; however, it is not able to accept online payments. Therefore, DC Water still needs the physical check for payments (credit card payment will not be accepted). The alternate location will be open to the public for drop off and pick up only (operating hours will be from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday).

 

Initial submissions/resubmission will be accepted without an invoice and should be accompanied by a check for either $140 or $75 (visit DC Water’s website to determine the exact amount). All other fee payments must accompany an invoice, be made via check and in the exact amount that is on the invoice. For questions, call (202)646-8600.

Mail or FedEx to DC Water to the address below:
DC Water c/o Permit Operations
5000 Overlook Ave. SW
Washington DC 20032

How can we make payments for permits and fees?

Payments can be made online for up to $150,000 for permits/fees by credit card. Fees larger than $150,000 can be made out to the DC Treasurer and submitted in-person to 1101 4th Street SW, W1665. Contact the OCFO for hours and operations of their cashier’s office.

 

 

Topic-Specific FAQs

On-Demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM)


What is the On-Demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
We are streamlining the way to get you the answers you need in a timely manner. The On-Demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provides you with a single point of contact and assistance with permitting, licensing, inspections, investigations, and enforcement.

What kind of issues can I report through the CRM?
Whether it’s permitting, inspections, construction compliance, or enforcement, our CRM provides a timely response by the appropriate point of contact based on your issue.

How do I submit an inquiry directly into the system for CRM?
To submit an inquiry or get additional information about our CRM, please visitdob.dc.gov/crm.

Can I still contact Customer Service directly?
Yes. Our Customer Service department is available to answer questions and offer assistance. 

Do I have to use the CRM form to report an issue?
No. Regardless of how you contact DOB (through our live chat, email, our online customer inquiry form, social media, or email), our CRM system routes your inquiry throughout the agency until your inquiry is resolved.

How long will it take to get a response?
The CRM process is powered by Kustomer, with a "K," designed to submit, assign, prioritize, and resolve your inquiries within 3 business days. Once your inquiry is submitted, our Customer Service team will acknowledge your inquiry and stay in contact until your inquiry has been resolved.
Department of Buildings ǀ1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 ǀ 202.671.3500 ǀ dob.dc.gov

What does resolution/resolve mean for CRM?
When your inquiry has been resolved it means your inquiry has been answered. This includes, but is not limited to, scheduling an inspection, revising permit applications, providing status updates on vacant property registrations, and other actions taken to address your inquiry.

What does the Ward-Based Account Management Team do?
Our Ward-Based Account Management Team handles escalated customer service issues for strategic accounts. An Account Manager serves as an advisor to the strategic account customer and escalation point for service issues.  In addition, an Account Manager reviews all services (permits, inspections, construction compliance) provided to the customer for consistency, identifies issues and proactively advises customers to minimize noncompliance, ensures customer satisfaction with services, reviews customer’s project pipeline, anticipates needs and channels findings to appropriate managers within DOB.

What is the difference between Customer Service Representatives and Account Managers?
The Customer Service Representatives service all DOB customers and the Account Managers focus on escalated issues for strategic accounts.  All Customer Service Representatives and Account Managers ensure customers’ issues are resolved and that they are satisfied with DOB services.

When do I contact the Customer Service Department versus an Account Manager?
You may contact our Customer Service Department for all issues which will in turn direct any escalated issues to your assigned Account Manager (if one is assigned) when there is a service problem.  For example: a) If you would like to inquire about your application status, our Customer Service Department will be happy to assist;  b) If you have a service problem such as a permit application pending beyond our current Service Level Agreements (SLAs) of 30 business days for an initial review or 15 business days for a re-review, your Account Manager will be happy to check why your project is being delayed and to assist in getting the project reviewed as soon as possible. You can also reference the permit review SLAs listed under the “Job Classification" on our website.
Department of Buildings ǀ1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 ǀ 202.671.3500 ǀ dob.dc.gov If you are unsure who to contact, please contact our Customer Service Department and they will resolve your issue or route your inquiries to the appropriate contact.

How are Account Managers assigned?
Account Managers are assigned to specific wards throughout the District. 

My project is not meeting the agency’s required Service Level Agreement (SLA). What should I do?
Please contact your assigned Account Manager if the agency’s SLA was not met so that they can reach out to the appropriate division to determine what transpired with the project and take the necessary steps to ensure that the project is moving forward in a timeframe that will resolve the issue(s). 

How can I check on the status of my building project?
If you are the applicant or the applicant’s agent, you will receive a notice via email from ProjectDox whenever the status of a project has changed.  Alternatively, you can check the status via Scout, our online consolidated database. 

My project is being reviewed by another District agency or entity and I need to get it completed. What can I do?
Contact the District agency or entity directly to determine the status of the review.

Can you assist in getting a meeting set up with the reviewer on my project?
If the project is still within the agency’s SLA, please contact the specific discipline’s manager (electrical, fire, mechanical, etc.) pertaining to the review in question so that the manager is aware of the problem and so that he/she can coordinate a meeting with the reviewer to get your project back on track.

If I have problems getting my project through prescreening, what can I do?
Please contact the Permit Center Manager so that he/she can ensure that our SLA is being met and provide you with a date on which your project will be prescreened. 

 

Illegal Construction

What is neighbor notification?
Neighbor notification is a program adminstered by the Department of Buildings to ensure neighbors are duly aware of the scope of construction that may impact their property. Neighbors are allowed to view only those pages that pertain to structural support or the impact of the design.

Why is neighbor notification required prior to starting construction?
According to District law 12 DCMR 3307.2, neighbor notification must occur prior to beginning construction, when there is a need to install structural support, underpinning, support adjacent premises, and excavation.

How many days in advance should neighbors receive notice?
A 30-day notice is typical in most cases.

When is notification received?
Neighbor notification should be received by registered or certified mail to the registered owner (Office of Tax and Revenue Database) or by courier.

What actions do you need to consider taking?
Consult available resources  (other than the immediate builder or contractor)  like dob.dc.gov and learn about complaints, codes, forms, guidance, and inquiries. Consult with an independent architect or engineer.

What do neighbors need to know?

  • Neighbors need to know about a request for access. The refusal is your right, but you must be prepared to protect your own property.
  • Neighbors need to know what permits have been issued or are under review. You can obtain most information using Scout, our online consolidated database or eRecords, our electronic records management system.
  • Neighbors need to be notified of plans that mention or show underpinning, vertical additions (pop-up), excavations, or party-wall work.

What if you did not receive neighbor notification?

  • You still could check your neighbor’s permits by using Scout, our online consolidated database.
  • If no permits have been issued,  you can contact  DOBOffice of Construction and Building Standards by submitting an Illegal Construction Inspection Request Form or calling (202) 671-3500 or 311.
  • If no permits have been issued,  you can contact  DOB's Office of Construction and Building Standards at (202) 671-3500.
  • If construction has started and you did not receive notification, you can submit an Illegal Construction Inspection Request Form or call 311.

When is neighbor notification not required?
Neighbor notification is not required when the scope of the work occurs entirely in the interior of a building or when the work is pursuant to a postcard permit.

What are the contractor’s responsibilities?

  • According to District law 12 DCMR 3307.1, the contractor’s responsibilities include having the adjoining public and private property protected from damage during construction at the expense of the person causing the work.
  • The contractor’s responsibilities include predicting damage and providing safeguards.
  • The contractor’s responsibilities include securing the party walls (and blocking water intrusion) and installing chimneys and gas vents (natural draft) in a 3-2-10 rule.
  • The contractor’s responsibilities include having footers (areas of influence) and fences for protection versus restoration.
  • The contractor’s responsibilities include maintaining property lines versus face-on-line wall, a pier foundation, or safeguarding from site hazards

What are the additional responsibilities of the contractor?

  • The contractor must cover the entire scope of work in the permits and that scope must be posted in PIVS.
  • The contractor must only work between the hours of 7 am and 7 pm Mondays through Saturdays and never on Sundays or holidays. Residents can submit an Illegal Construction Inspection Request Form or call 311 if the contractor is out of compliance.
  • The contractor must be onsite and not work remotely while construction is ongoing.

How does DOB suggest you work with your own contractor?

  • Always maintain detailed plans.
  • Utilize DOB's Contractor Rating System to see how contractors have been reviewed in the past by residents.
  • Define the scope of work and materials.
  • Plans and permits are a contractor’s marching orders.
  • Level the playing field for accurate bids.
  • Planned versus spontaneous construction.
  • Simplify neighbor notification.
  • Inspection quality and success.

Furthermore, DOB suggests that you:

  • Obtain multiple bids.
  • Research the contractor (experience versus the scope of work), and their licensure, insurance and bonding (get copies).
  • Bid versus contract versus licensing.
  • Use DOB's enforcement leverage.
  • Always read the contract thoroughly and determine who is responsible for acquiring the permits and who is actually contracted to do the work.

Finally, DOB suggests that you:

  • Remember to check the business transaction and deposits.
  • Remember to check your rights on hiring and firing the contractor.
  • Remember to check for mechanic liens.
  • Remember to check for possession of building materials.
  • Remember to use the permitting system to your advantage.
  • Remember to draw based on approved DOB inspections.

What are other things you should know?

  • If there is an issue with trespassing on private property contact 911(Metropolitan Police Department {MPD}).
  • If there is an issue with parking enforcement near the property, contact the Department of Public Works (DPW) or submit an Illegal Construction Inspection Request Form or call 311.
  • If there is an issue with an alley being blocked, contact the District of Columbia Department of Transportation’s Public Space division.
  • If there is an issue with noise resulting from construction or issues with permits, contact  DOB.    

If the construction disturbance occurs after regular office hours, please contact MPD.