• Home
  • Insights
  • DCRA Offers a Fast-Track permit Review Program - Velocity

DCRA Offers a Fast-Track permit Review Program - Velocity

In an effort to streamline the plan review and permitting process, the District of Columbia’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is offering a new program, Velocity. The fast-track permit review program aims to accelerate plan reviews and permit approval for construction projects which includes various types of building projects.

The Velocity program is divided into two levels of services: Velocity Service and Expedition Service.

  • Velocity Service is, “…for customers whose design concepts and plans are 100% complete and ready for submission.”
  • Expedition Service is, “…for customers whose plans are currently in the design phase. There are four meetings that coincide with typical milestones of architectural development: 30%, 60%, 90% and 100% drawings. These meetings are similar to the Velocity Service in that all Registered Design Professionals (RDPs) must attend and participate as a condition of acceptance. Similarly, all of the Plans Examiners attend, discuss code issues and cite potential code violations, which must be altered prior to the subsequent meeting.”

Both Velocity and Expedition programs do require a separate fee above the standard DCRA permitting fees. This fee is calculated based upon the size of the project. The Expedition program starts at $12,500 and Velocity starts at $50,000.

In many cases, plans submitted for review through the Velocity program can be approved within one day, however, there is a process for submitting your project to be accepted into the Velocity program which is outlined below. 

  • Project Consultation – Discuss the scope, timeline, and budget for the project being submitted in person, through web conference or by phone. In some cases, an application and detailed description of the project will be required to be submitted at this time. Once the project has undergone a consultation, the DCRA will advise if the project is a candidate for the Velocity program.
  • Once accepted, a $5,000 deposit is required before proceeding with the program.

The Velocity program consists of a Pre-Submittal Review Meeting (PSRM) with DCRA Plan Reviewers, requiring the attendance and participation of all design professionals working on the project. After comments are addressed by the design professionals from the PSRM there will be a second plan review session(s). DCRA will approve all final plans at the end of this session(s). 

Permits will be ready for issuance right after final plans are approved. Applicants will receive an invoice requiring the payment of the Standard Permit Fee and the Fast Track Plan Review Fee. Upon payment, permits will be issued.

Milrose has become familiar with using the DCRA’s new Velocity program through two recent projects, both were interior tenant renovation projects within existing buildings in Washington, D.C. We were instrumental in working with the DCRA to fast-track the two projects by getting involved at the beginning of the project to align the project team and determine a strategic filing plan. We coordinated the pre-screen and plan review meetings to ensure we had all the submittals required for the program’s eligibility and properly set up the project in DCRA’s online permitting system. Through playing an engaged and active role in the page turning process, Milrose was able to successfully complete both projects in a speedy three-week timeline. 

Milrose Project Manager, Brian Quinn, explains the main benefit of using the Velocity program is being able to avoid common delays and accelerate project timelines. He notes “Velocity seems to be the new norm for fast-pace projects with large budgets in D.C. Without using the Velocity program, most large projects are taking two months minimum to process paperwork.” 

If you have questions about an upcoming Washington, D.C. project or using the Velocity program, contact our experts at Milrose.

New Call-to-action