How to Submit

The following steps outline how to submit Shipstead-Luce Act projects for Commission of Fine Arts review.

Please read all the steps before proceeding. 

Applicants are encouraged to consult with the staff as early as possible after a design project is initiated, as well as during the development of the design. To determine whether a prospective construction project requires review, contact the Shipstead-Luce Act staff architect at (202) 504-2200 or cfastaff@cfa.gov. Please provide the address and the square and lot numbers of the project site.

Prepare to Submit

The CFA reviews Shipstead-Luce Act projects in two stages: concept and permit.

Decide if you are submitting your project for concept or final review, then gather the necessary drawings and materials for submission.

Make the Submission

Make a submission for concept or permit review, with all required submission materials, including complete drawings showing existing conditions and proposed construction, in person at the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Permit Service Center at 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd floor, Washington, DC. Submissions will not be accepted at the CFA office.

If you plan to apply for a building permit online through the DCRA Citizen Portal and ProjectDox, you will still need make a submission in person, with paper copies of all required submission materials and complete permit documents, at the DCRA Permit Service Center for referral to CFA for review.

  • Applications must be submitted at DCRA by the filing deadline, two weeks prior to the CFA meeting. Please check the CFA meeting schedule for meeting dates and submission deadlines.
  • Include a printed copy of the completed Application and Referral to the US Commission of Fine Arts for Shipstead-Luce Review form with concept and permit submissions.
  • Include a printed copy of the completed Construction Permit Application or the DCRA-generated permit cover sheet with permit submissions.
  • To be complete, a submission must include all required submission materials for concept or permit review as appropriate.
  • Contact DCRA for information about filing fees, hours of operation, and any other questions on the filing process at (202) 442-4589.

Provide Additional Materials

This step may not be necessary and only occurs if materials are requested

Upon receipt of the submissions, CFA staff may contact you to request additional or revised materials. Submit any necessary supplemental materials directly to CFA staff upon request.

If a proposed project is insufficiently documented for review, the CFA staff may recommend that the case be denied, or may recommend that the review of the case be postponed until a later CFA meeting.

Present Project

This step may not be necessary and only occurs if the project is placed on the CFA meeting agenda

Depending on the scope, size, prominence, and design of a proposed project, it will be either be reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts in its monthly public meeting, or reviewed by CFA staff and placed on the Shipstead-Luce Act Appendix for approval by the CFA in its meeting.

CFA staff will notify applicants whose cases have been placed on the agenda for the public meeting. Projects requiring review by the Commission in its public meeting must be presented by the applicant or applicant’s representative at the Commission of Fine Arts meeting. The draft agenda is available online the Friday afternoon before the Commission meeting. Final digital presentation files must be provided to CFA staff no later than the Monday before the meeting. Presentation files will not be accepted the day of the meeting.

Smaller-scale or less complex projects may be placed on the Shipstead-Luce Appendix of staff recommendations, which is subject to approval by the Commission of Fine Arts in its meeting.

The draft appendix is available online the Friday afternoon before the Commission meeting. If your project is on the Shipstead-Luce Appendix, you do not need to attend the meeting

Next Steps

Concept Approval: When a project is approved in concept, it is returned to the District with the CFA’s recommendations for the development of the design in preparation for a permit submission. A concept approval is not sufficient to obtain a permit for the proposed work. A separate permit application must be submitted to DCRA for review by the CFA.

If a project is not approved in concept, applicants may submit a new concept application to DCRA for review in a future CFA meeting, with design revisions that respond to the Commission's recommendations.

Permit Approval: When a project is approved for permit, it is returned to the District with the CFA’s recommendation for the issuance of a permit. All submissions are sent to the D.C. Historic Preservation Office (HPO), and applicants may pick up their submissions from HPO staff the week following the CFA meeting to continue with the DCRA permitting process. Contact HPO staff at (202) 442-8800 to arrange to pick up a submission. If the project was also submitted through ProjectDox, any drawings or other submission materials that were provided or revised during the CFA review must be uploaded to ProjectDox.

If a project is not approved for permit, CFA staff will return the submission to the District with this recommendation. The applicant may submit a new permit application to DCRA for review in a future CFA meeting, with design revisions that respond to the Commission's recommendations.