Friday, January 20, 2017

"Fix DC's permit process": WBJ guest comment by Mary Fitch, Executive Director, DC chapter of AIA

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Thanks to DC AIA's Mary Fitch for her guest comment.

Jan 19, 2017, 5:00pm EST
Mary Fitch

What if I told you there was something we could do — a single particular thing — that would reduce building costs in D.C., making D.C. a more affordable place to live, while also helping small businesses in all parts of the city? That would get your attention, wouldn’t it?

That one thing would be to reduce the time it takes in D.C. to get a building permit.

The long time it currently takes in D.C. to get a building permit is no longer just an inconvenient fact of life for those of us in the local architecture, engineering and construction community. It’s an important pocketbook issue for everybody in the region, from developers of big projects to homeowners wishing to renovate a house or condominium. Time is money, and when it takes too long to get a permit, as if often does in D.C., it leads to project cost increases that we all end up paying for in one way or another, as well as economic losses for the city and impacts to jobs.

Right now, it takes months to get a permit in D.C., even for the simplest of jobs. Given the carrying cost of building projects, reducing the time it takes to get a permit would save developers and homeowners a lot of money. And it would help city coffers as well. The city doesn’t start to gain tax revenue from a project until it goes on the tax rolls, so the sooner that happens, the sooner city officials can begin seeing the revenues.

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