Announcing ProjectDox Enhancements!!!

laptop loading paper plans

ProjectDox…Permitting that’s efficient, effective & expedient.

Effective July 25, 2016, DCRA has launched enhanced ProjectDox features. Unlike before, ProjectDox now offers more customer notifications at key milestones during the plan review process. Additionally, applicants are now able to delete files during the document uploading phase.

The more opportunities that DCRA has to communicate information to a customer – the better. The more interaction we have with a customer, the less chance of error, confusion, and interruption of the process. Communication promotes efficiency and one way of achieving this is by notifying customers during key milestones of the permitting process.

  1. New Notifications

Customers will now receive four (4) new notifications during the initial upload and review process.

  1. 3 Day Notification – will be sent to remind customers on the 3rd day that the upload process has not been completed, and must be completed for the review process to begin or continue.
  2. 7 Day Notification – will be sent to remind customers on the 7th day that the upload process has not been completed, and must be completed for the review process to begin or continue.
  3. Accepted Notification – will be sent to the customer when their project has been accepted by a reviewer from each discipline.
  4. Review Completed Notification – will be sent to the customer when their Project has been completed by a reviewer from each discipline.
  1. Delete Uploaded Files

Customers can now delete files during the initial upload and resubmission phases. Drawings cannot be deleted after the review cycle has begun. This enhancement allows customers to self-correct prior to submission rather than having to request and wait for DCRA staff to delete an uploaded file.

  1. Automatic Batch (Approval) Stamp

A stamp will be automatically placed on every page and serves as the batch approval stamp for approved plans issued by DCRA. This stamp enhancement reduces the amount of time each reviewer handles the drawings.

  1. Supervisor Project Assignment Feature

This internal-facing enhancement allows DCRA staff to better complete reviews. Notifications will be sent to the designated supervisors who will be responsible for assigning all projects to their staff. This enhancement allows supervisors to assign and reassign projects to reviewers.

It is important to note, that these new enhancements only affect new projects submitted on, or after, July 25, 2016. Our goal is that these enhancements promote an improved collaboration between plan reviewers and users.


Summer is Heating Up, Everyone Should Be Cooling Down

Summer is in full effect, so we want all of the contractors, developers, construction workers, and our DCRA employees to stay healthy and cool as things really start to heat up over the next few weeks with the heat advisory in effect for the D.C. Area. The humidity can cause several heat-related health issues, so we are advising everyone to pay attention to the weather and signs from the body when being outdoors. Studies show that extreme heat caused 7,415 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2010 (source?). Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. Here are some tips to keep you refreshed and in good health.

Drink Plenty of Water

When you are outside “in the field” or even going out to lunch with co-workers, it is best to stay hydrated. If you notice that you are getting thirsty quickly while outside in the heat that is a sign that your body needs more water to deal with the heat. Start drinking water right away and throughout the entire day. Remember not to drink an excessive amount of water at one time as well.

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing

When you wear dark color clothing, it absorbs light, whereas light colors reflect that light. If you can, wear cotton! Cotton allows for air circulation, which prevents sweat.

Wear Sunscreen

Wear sunscreen every day! It protects your skin from skin burns and skin cancer. The ozone layer is consuming; therefore, the body needs protection from harmful rays. It prevents skin discoloration and also can save your appearance in the next twenty years because it slows down the development of wrinkled, aging skin (Don’t we all love that!)

Take Breaks & Cool Down

While working, find the time for taking a ten-minute break every hour for rehydration. Those who are not working outside are advised to stay hydrated during the day as well, so when it is time to step outside it isn’t a hassle.

Monitor Yourself

It is important that employees watch out for their health; especially, if they’re outside for maximum long amount of time. Know the signs of dehydration such as headaches, and visit cooling centers in the area where you are if you need to.

If everyone applies these tips to their everyday lives to remain hydrated and cool, we can prevent health risk that can be caused by heat and humidity. With applying these tips, surviving in the heat will be all the easier. Keep working hard, but stay refreshed and healthy this summer.

By: Kiara L. Hill


District of Columbia’s 10th Annual Practitioners Forum “Inspiration…Pass It On”

The 10th Annual Practitioners Forum was held at Gallaudet University’s Kellogg Conference Center was held on Monday, June 20th, 2016. This is an event for barbers, cosmetologists, and estheticians to receive professional development, network, and receive training in a variety of educational sessions for up to six hours. This is also an opportunity for individuals to receive renewal certificates for their licenses. Practitioners are required to renew them every two years and women renew their license every even year and males renew them every odd year.

Ms. Cynthia Briggs served as the project manager for the forum. Her role was to make sure that everyone’s needs were met and that the event was being ran smoothly as possible. Additionally, she also made sure that all speakers were equipped with all necessities. She even served as the DCRA liaison meeting consistently with all constituents involved.

The best part about the event is DCRA gaining the opportunity to engage with many of the practitioners and they are able to continue their education at this event. Immediately after the event, there were surveys given while the experience is still fresh in their minds. There has always been 90-95% positive feedback from the audience.

The thought process behind selecting to speak at the Annual Practitioners Forum is determined by the goal for the year and the goal for this year was to identify something new and finding the trends in the city. Some popular topics for the year were eyelashes, hair extensions, tattoos, natural hair, and mogul services. Once these topics are discussed, the Board would then find speakers who know best in these popular topics.

Not only does this forum enhance many lives on a personal level, it also lives in the hearts of our district leadership. Every year, for the past ten years, Mayors from the District of Columbia have attended the forum such as Mayor Adrian Fenty and Mayor Vince Gray. This year, Mayor Bowser presented a powerful speech encouraging attendees to continue striving for excellence. Barbershop and hair salons are the pulse of the community and DCRA is extremely elated to play a significant role in their professional development creating self-sustainability for families across the District of Columbia.

Written by Kiara Hill

Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Your Holiday Savings 

Many colorful presents with luxury ribbons on color backgroundWritten by Sefanit Befekadu

As you finish the final push for holiday shopping, DCRA wants to make sure that you’re protected.  There are a number of things you can do to prepare for a happy and safe holiday shopping experience, especially if you’re making last-minute purchases.  Whether you’re shopping online, by phone, or in stores, DCRA’s Office of Consumer Protection has some tips to help make sure that your shopping experience doesn’t cost you more than the listed price. Here are ten great holiday shopping tips to help you purchase wisely and safeguard your personal information.

  1. Make a shopping list and check it twice. Leave little room for surprises. Decide what you’re going to buy, make a list and stick to it. If you know what you’re on the market for, you can identify trusted sources that offer those goods and plan ahead for how much you’ll pay, as well as how you’ll pay.
  2. Be sure to research stores before you spend. Before you buy anything from an unfamiliar store, look at their online customer reviews and ratings and for information about the vendor from trusted sources.
  3. Don’t fall for the mobile trap. Using your mobile device can be convenient for shopping, but it can leave you vulnerable. If you shop for deals on your phone, be cautious of e-mails/ texts linked to fraudulent sites.  Check the address bar at the top of your screen.
  4. Take some time to learn. Every industry uses terms specific to their goods/services provided.  Do your research and understand these terms so that you know what you’re getting and can be certain they are of their claimed quality/value.
  5. Play the Price is Right! Don’t trust the vendor… it only takes a few seconds to check if the scanned price is right. Inaccurate barcodes cost you money and time.
  6. Save every receipt. Keep copies of your order number, the refund and return policies, shipping costs, and warranties for your records. Without receipts, it can be difficult for you (or us) to hold vendors accountable.
  7. Nothing in life is free. Screen savers, e-cards, or other free seasonal downloads can carry viruses. Keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software current.
  8. Show me the merchandise! You’d be surprised how common it is to be billed for merchandise that wasn’t received. If this happens to you, inform the vendor and if the issue is not resolved, report it to our Consumer Protection Line at 202.442.9550.
  9. Be stingy. (Especially when it comes to sharing your personal information) Don’t freely give out your credit card/financial information for every seasonal/promotional offer. Be selective  with how and with whom that information is shared… and when in doubt, opt for cash!
  10. Tis the season to give (and make sure your generosity reaches its intended destination). If an unfamiliar charity asks for money, look at their organizations website, check their mission statement, check to see if they are mentioned in any news articles, and identify how their charitable funds are allocated BEFORE making a major contribution. It pays to do your research.

We encourage all of you to take control! Don’t reactively address your consumer issues, proactively implement these simple tips into your shopping adventures, and you’re certain to be jolly. But, as always, DCRA is here to answer any questions you have and will do all that we can to protect you this holiday season and beyond.  If you run into any trouble along the way, our Office of Consumer Protection may be able to help.  Call 202.442.9550, and we’ll try to help you make it right.

Happy holidays,