DCRA is cracking down on unpermitted and illegal after-hour construction

Since the beginning of the summer, the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) has made significant strides in cracking down on construction companies working in the District as highlighted during the DC City Council’s hearing on B23-91, the “Department of Buildings Establishment Act of 2019”. As part of an effort to discourage the DC City Council from moving forward with this legislation, which would break the agency up into two smaller agencies, Director Ernest Chrappah highlighted recent steps including increased enforcement in the area of unpermitted after-hours and construction work and residential inspections.

Currently, the District only allows companies to work from the hours of 7am to 7pm Monday through Saturday. Anything outside of these hours or on a federal holiday, is only permissible with an after-hours permit. To obtain this permit, a company may visit the DCRA permit center in SW or apply online. Companies found to be in violation of these regulations will have a stop work order placed on their projects and must go through an appeal process to remove the order which is accompanied by fines and can take up to 7 business days to resolve.

 

In addition, the agency has also rolled out a resident inspector pilot program in which they train District residents to serve as inspectors. These resident inspectors serve in an on-demand basis and only allowed to inspect properties upon completing the mandatory training program or a self-study program and passage of an exam administered by the agency. Interest in the pilot program has been robust and there are currently no more slots available for the upcoming trainings. Further, the first group of resident trainers has already began to inspect residential and rental housing properties.

In an ongoing effort to serve the membership, ABC of Metro Washington through its DC Legislative Committee continues to work with the agency to address the concerns of the industry and ensure that whatever changes are made, do not have an adverse impact on the community. If you have any questions or issues related to DCRA, please feel free to reach our Associate Director of Government Affairs, Eric J. Jones, MSF via email at ejones@abcmetrowashington.org