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Get a Building Permit: What You Need To Know

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The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is streamlining the construction permitting process starting with updates to the online building permit application. This is our second in a series of enhancements geared towards improving the customer application submittal experience. Review our frequently asked questions here.

In June 2019, the following enhancements to the permit application system were put in place:

  • Editing capability for contractor, subcontractor and registered design professional information before and after application submission
  • Automatically populated information that includes building age
  • Elimination of redundant information in the “Green Building” section
  • Statistical data gathering for Opportunity Zone financing and Affordable Housing Projects

Effective September 28, 2019, the following enhancements to the permit application system will be in place:

  • Customers can select licensed professionals, subcontractors and registered design professionals from a pre-populated list of active licenses and registrations
  • Customers can submit raze applications online instead of filing a paper application

With the addition of raze building permit application online, all building construction permit applications are now online.

Starting February 24, 2020, the following improvements to the permit application process will be in place:

  • Previously, customers needing more time would need to complete a new permit application after their one-year permit had expired. Customers can now answer a few simple questions to gain an extension of their original permit (up to four, six-month extensions will be allowed).
  • To ensure that the people you’re hiring to work on your project are fully licensed, customers can now search and select from DCRA’s active license database.
  • To keep everyone involved in each project fully up-to-date, property owners, permit expeditors, design professionals, master tradesmen, and contractors will now receive an automated email notification from DCRA when the permit application is submitted and approved. This keeps everyone in the loop, and helps prevent fraud. (To update your contact information, simply email us at dcra@dc.gov)

Stay tuned to learn of additional application enhancements to come. Click here for more information and frequently asked questions.




Whether you're modifying a structure, putting up a fence, or building a house, you're responsible for getting the right permits before you start work. When applying for a permit – depending on the scale of the project – the process can be completed in a single step or may involve multiple steps, including additional review agencies outside of DCRA.

The Permit Center closes at 4:30 pm daily. The customers can obtain a Q-Matic Ticket to begin the permitting process until 3:30 pm. Every effort shall be made that all tickets are processed the same day. If not, the process will be completed the following business day. The cashier closes promptly at 4:30.

Some permits, like our Postcard Permit or Supplemental Permits, you can get with a few clicks of the mouse. Larger projects can take a minimum of 30 days to review.

If you're a homeowner seeking a building permit for a home improvement project, please visit our Homeowner's Center or get a Postcard Permit Online. If you're in charge of a large construction project, check out our Development Ambassador program and our Green Building process.

If you're ready to get started you have the ability to apply, pay and receive permits online at the Citizen Access Portal.

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