“DCRA ‘Wall Check’ for building permits – Extraordinary fees”

“Dear PoPville,

We are adding a small addition (one room) to a single-family home. We obtained the permits for everything and have been instructed that we need a “Wall Check” to proceed. According to DCRA, “A wall check is performed to confirm that the location of the foundation walls, in relation to the property lines, are consistent with the issued building permit’s approved plat and plans.”

Our addition is nowhere near the property line, but I understand the reasoning for wanting to ensure that your new structure does not encroach on a neighbor’s property. I learned that DCRA used to perform this minimal task as part of the inspection process since there is already a DCRA permit plat generated. However, this “Wall Check” is now being outsourced to a select list of “approved DC land surveyors.”

Usually, that wouldn’t be a big deal if it was a set rate (say $500.00), but it is currently a free-for-all.

These “approved surveyors” are setting extraordinary prices for a simple service that I’ve been told should only realistically cost a few hundred dollars. We have received quotes upwards of $4,000 to perform a simple Wall Check, and that is if they respond at all.

This entire process is yet another grossly inefficient process and money grab that DCRA seems to be mismanaging. Does anyone have advice on alternatives or a way to report these surveyors attempting to gauge the public since they possess the endorsement of DCRA and are the only people who can perform this necessary permitting task?”

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