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Permits and Design Review for Government Projects

Both District and federal government projects undergo historic preservation reviews. These reviews are similar to those for private construction projects, but usually involve additional procedures applicable to government undertakings.

District Government Projects

DC building permits are required for District government projects. When designated historic properties are involved, those permit applications are subject to the same type of historic preservation review as private construction. These reviews are conducted either by the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) or the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), depending on the scope of the project.


The US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) also reviews District government projects. In addition, District agencies and anyone constructing on District-owned land must consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) at the conceptual design phase, before project plans are developed or funds expended.  

Federal Government Projects

DC building permits are not required for federal government projects, so there is no review under the DC historic preservation law. Under the National Historic Preservation Act, however, federal agencies must consult with the SHPO and take into account the effect of their projects on designated historic properties and those eligible for designation. The same requirement applies to projects constructed by private entities under federal government licenses or approvals.