DC to Be More Proactive About Building Structure Safety in the City

  • July 12th 2021

by Nena Perry-Brown

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In light of last month's tragic building collapse near the Florida coast, and another dangerous collapse of an under-construction building on Kennedy Street in DC earlier this month, DC's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is looking to be more proactive about building safety in the city.

On Friday, Mayor Bowser and DCRA announced a slate of new protocols to strengthen safety checks and balances for commercial and multifamily properties in DC.

These would include:

  • Passing legislation or some other directive requiring building owners and engineers to proactively report structural defects to DCRA;
  • Requiring multifamily building owners to file structural assessments and plans for repair of unsafe conditions with DCRA prior to applying for permits;
  • Implementing real-time tracking  and digitization of special inspections; and
  • Buying engineering software to model and perform structural analysis and create standardized reviews for important structural design elements.

There is also a plan to focus on shear wall construction in the city. DCRA will retroactively review the designs for all multifamily light-frame wood construction buildings that were permitted in the last three years and include shear wall, prioritizing "buildings certified by FMC & Associates", which completed the certification for the collapsed development at 916 Kennedy Street NW. DCRA will also launch a review of all active construction being undertaken by 10Square Development, who helmed the Kennedy Street development.

"These new actions are designed to identify potentially unsafe structures and proactively prevent similar tragic events from occurring," DCRA Director Ernest Chrappah said in a statement.

The public should report illegal construction to DCRA here or other concerning construction matters here, email dcra@dc.gov, or during business hours, call (202) 442-4400 or use the chat function at dcra.dc.gov. Any emergencies should be directed to 911.

This article has been updated since publication.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcras-plans-to-be-more-proactive-about-building-structure-safety/18477.

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