Homeowners are among the most important stewards of the District’s historic neighborhoods. There are more than 25,000 houses in the city’s historic districts, and another 15,000 condominiums in historic buildings. The District has established several systems to simplify permit application procedures for these homeowners.
Getting the Right Building Permit
Getting the right permit for a building project is a homeowner’s responsibility before starting the work. Both the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) provide special services to help simplify this task for homeowners. The Homeowner’s Center at DCRA can help you get the necessary permits for decks, fences, window replacement, and other home improvement projects. For work in public space, permit applications can be submitted to DDOT online.
Historic Preservation Review
For work on a historic property or in a historic area, getting a permit also involves making sure that the work is compatible with protected historic and architectural characteristics. This is done through a design review by the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).
HPO Expedited Review for Minor Work
For most minor home alterations, especially routine repairs and typical homeowner projects, the historic preservation review is handled over the counter by the HPO staff.
HPRB Concept Review for Major Work
While HPO can review projects as large as a new garage or small rear addition, larger additions require a formal submission to HPRB for concept review at a public meeting.