The DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) recently introduced a rating system for architects, interior designers, general contractors, and home improvement contractors who submit applications to the DCRA. DCRA assigns a rating from one to five stars. For architects and interior designers, the rating is based on the quality of their plans that have been submitted for review. DCRA intends to add engineers to the rating database in the near future.
DCRA instituted this database for the benefit of consumers who are looking to engage a design professional or contractor for a home improvement project. Design professionals should carefully examine any proposed rating systems based on the quality of the submittals to a reviewing agency. Licensed professionals are obligated to protect public health, safety, and welfare. Adherence to a reviewing agency’s submittal requirements does not necessarily mean compliance with the law; nor does adherence to submittal requirements absolve you of potential liability. The primary focus of the design professional should be providing design solutions that satisfy the client while taking into account the requirements of the authority having jurisdiction.