Code of the District of Columbia

§ 6–1403. Scope.

(a) The Construction Codes shall control:

(1) Matters concerning the construction, reconstruction, alteration, addition, repair, removal, demolition, use, location, equipment, occupancy, and maintenance of all buildings, structures, and premises in the District, whether existing or proposed, including any appurtenances connected or attached to a building or structure;

(2) The construction, prefabrication, alteration, repair, use, occupancy, and maintenance of detached 1-family or 2-family dwellings not more than 3 stories in height, and their accessory structures;

(3) The design, construction, installation, maintenance, alteration, conversion, change, repair, removal, and inspection of electrical conductors, equipment, and systems in buildings or structures and on public space within the District for the transmission, distribution, and use of electrical energy for power, heat, light, radio, television, signaling, or other purposes;

(4) The design, installation, maintenance, alteration, and inspection of mechanical systems, including heating systems, ventilating systems, cooling systems, steam and hot-water heating systems, water heaters, process piping, boilers and pressure vessels, appliances using gas, liquid, or solid fuel, chimneys and vents, mechanical-refrigeration systems, fireplaces, barbecues, incinerators, crematories, and air-pollution systems;

(5) In addition to their respective connections, devices, and appurtenances, the design, installation, alteration, repair, replacement, relocation, removal, use, or maintenance of plumbing equipment, systems, and materials, including water supply and distribution pipes, plumbing fixtures and traps, water-treating or water-using equipment, soil, waste, and vent pipes, sanitary and storm sewers, and building drains;

(6) The design, construction, installation, erection, alteration, repair, relocation, replacement, quality of materials, location, operation, use, or maintenance of fuel-gas systems, distribution piping and equipment, and fuel-gas-fired appliances;

(7) Minimum requirements to safeguard life, property, or public welfare from the hazards of fire and explosion arising from the storage, handling, or use of substances, materials, and devices, and from conditions hazardous to life, property, or public welfare in the use or occupancy of buildings, structures, sheds, tents, lots, or premises;

(8) Minimum maintenance standards for all structures and premises with regard to basic equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, space heating, and sanitation, safety from fire, space, use, and location, safe and sanitary maintenance of all structures and premises now in existence, minimum requirements for all existing buildings and structures for means of egress, fire protection systems, and other equipment and devices necessary for life safety from fire, and the rehabilitation and reuse of existing structures, allowances for differences between application of the Construction Code requirements to new construction, alterations, and repairs, and fixing the responsibilities of owners, operators, and occupants of all structures;

(9) The design and construction of energy-efficient building envelopes and the installation of energy-efficient heating, ventilating, air conditioning, service-water heating, electrical distribution and illuminating systems, and equipment;

(10) Minimum standards for physical things and conditions essential to safeguard the environment, public health, safety, and general welfare through the establishment of requirements to reduce the negative impact and increase the positive impact of the built environment on the natural environment and building occupants; and

(11) The design, construction, installation, quality of materials, location, and maintenance, or use of aquatic vessels, and related mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

(b) The Construction Codes may also control the construction, reconstruction, alteration, addition, repair, removal, demolition, use, location, equipment occupancy, and maintenance of interior signs or other items as specified in the Construction Codes;

(c) The Construction Codes shall apply to those buildings occupied by or for any foreign government as an embassy or chancery to the extent provided for in § 6-1306.

(d)(1) Except for permit requirements for land-disturbing activities, the Construction Codes shall not apply to public buildings or premises owned by the United States government, including appurtenant structures and portions of buildings, premises, or structures that are under the exclusive control of an officer of the United States government in the officer’s official capacity.

(2) For the purpose of this subsection, "exclusive control" does not include a lessor if the lessor is responsible for the maintenance and repairs to property leased to the United States government.

(e) No permit required under the Construction Codes shall be issued if it is determined by the Building Code Official that:

(A) The permit affects an area in close proximity to the official residence of the President or the Vice President of the United States; and

(B) The United States Secret Service has established that the issuance of the permit would adversely impact the safety and security of the President or the Vice President of the United States.


(Mar. 21, 1987, D.C. Law 6-216, § 4, 34 DCR 1072; Jan. 30, 1990, D.C. Law 8-58, § 2, 36 DCR 7382; Feb. 27, 1990, D.C. Law 8-70, § 2, 36 DCR 7744; Feb. 5, 1994, D.C. Law 10-68, § 14, 40 DCR 6311; Aug. 26, 1994, D.C. Law 10-166, § 2, 41 DCR 4892; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-289, § 3(a), 60 DCR 2328; May 18, 2016, D.C. Law 21-118, § 5(b), 63 DCR 4645.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-1303.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-289 substituted “interior signs, advertising devices” for “signs, advertising devices” in (a)(1).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(a) of the Sign Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-387, July 11, 2012, 59 DCR 8491).

For temporary amendment of (a)(1), see § 3(a) of the Sign Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-499, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 12749), applicable after the Mayor’s issuance of a comprehensive final rulemaking governing signs on public space and private property, and with the condition that any order, rule, or regulation in effect under a law replaced by this act shall remain in effect until repealed, amended, or superseded.

Temporary Legislation

Section 3(a) of D.C. Law 19-181 amended (a)(1) to read as follows:

“(a) The Construction Codes shall control:

“(1) Matters concerning the construction, reconstruction, alteration, addition, repair, removal, demolition, use, location, occupancy, and maintenance of all buildings, structures, interior signs, advertising devices, and premises in the District and applies to existing or proposed buildings and structures.”

Section 8 of D.C. Law 19-181 provided that any order, rule, or regulation in effect under a law replaced by this act shall remain in effect until repealed, amended, or superseded.

Section 9 of D.C. Law 19-181 provided that sections 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the act shall apply upon the Mayor’s issuance of a comprehensive final rulemaking governing signs on public space and private property pursuant to section 2 of the act.

Section 11(b) of D.C. Law 19-181 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.