Mayor Vincent C. Gray

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About HPO & HPRB

  • DC's historic preservation program

    Who We Are

    DC's historic preservation program

  • What’s current in preservation


    What’s current in preservation

  • Find Freedom of Information Act records

    FOIA Requests

    Find Freedom of Information Act records

Preservation Services

  • What you need to know

    For Residents

    What you need to know

  • Get information and guidance

    For Business and Government

    Get information and guidance

  • Get involved in preservation

    For ANCs and Communities

    Get involved in preservation

Plans and Reports

  • Understand our goals and achievements

    Preservation Planning

    Understand our goals and achievements

  • Track projects in your community

    Project Reports and Actions

    Track projects in your community

  • Buildings, history, and archaeology

    Historic Resource Surveys

    Buildings, history, and archaeology

Maps and Information

  • Find out about historic properties

    Landmarks and Districts

    Find out about historic properties

  • Explore the city's heritage and culture

    DC History

    Explore the city's heritage and culture

  • Understand the preservation process

    Policies and Procedures

    Understand the preservation process

Office of Planning

  • Visit the Office of Planning website

    Office of Planning Home

    Visit the Office of Planning website

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Historic Preservation Office

Office Hours
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm

How to Reach Us
1100 4th Street, SW, Suite E650
Washington, DC 20024

Phone: (202) 442-7600
Fax: (202) 442-7638
TTY: 311

FOIA Information
Agency Performance


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Ellen M. McCarthy
Acting Director, Office of Planning

Ask the Agency

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Permits for Homeowners

Getting the right permit for a building project is a homeowner’s basic responsibility before starting the work. For work on a historic property or in a historic area, getting a permit also involves making sure that proposed changes are compatible with protected historic and architectural characteristics. This is done through a design review process managed by the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). Historic preservation review is quick for most types of work, but design review of major projects may involve presentation of the project at a public meeting.

About Permits and Historic Preservation Review
Historic preservation review is part of the building permit process. It occurs for new construction and any addition, alteration, or repair to the exterior appearance of a historic property when a building permit is required. Building demolition and subdivision of property is also subject to historic preservation review. Additional Information may be accessed below:

How Historic Preservation Review Works
HPO and HPRB conduct their reviews according to established preservation practices, principles, and design guidelines.

HPO Review (Expedited Review)
HPO approves in-kind repair and replacement, small additions, and minor alterations that are compatible with the character of the historic property or area. For routine items, this review occurs “over the counter” on a walk-in basis. For more significant changes, it may involve setting up a meeting with the HPO staff. Homeowners are encouraged to contact HPO when planning a project to determine what level of review will be necessary.

When getting a permit, homeowners are encouraged to visit the Homeowner’s Center at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

HPRB Review
HPRB reviews demolition, new construction, and larger projects like sizable additions and major alterations. This review occurs at an HPRB meeting open to the public. In almost all cases, HPRB reviews project designs at an early conceptual stage. The conceptual design review process allows property owners to get HPRB’s general approval and direction on the project before preparing full architectural plans for final HPO review.

Commission of Fine Arts Review

Not all preservation or design review in the District of Columbia is conducted by the HPRB or HPO staff. In accordance with several Acts of Congress and Executive Orders, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts ("CFA" or "Commission") reviews three types of building projects:

  1. Federal and District of Columbia government projects;
  2. Georgetown Historic District Projects; and 
  3. Shipstead-Luce area projects for properties that face or abut major federal properties, parks and sites.

Additional information is found in the document and website links below:

For More Information