The DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ (DCRA) Homeowners Center is devoted to helping homeowners get building permits for home improvement projects such as decks, fences, interior renovations and repairs, and window replacement.
The Center provides support and resources to homeowners including providing general information about permit regulations and procedures; explaining application requirements for your project; assisting you in getting a plat; reviewing your plan; and issuing your permit when your plan is approved. Our goal is to make your experience as convenient and simple as possible.
- One & Two Family Units Guidelines
- How to Select an Architect, Engineer or Interior Designer for Your Next Project
Skip the Trip' to DCRA Altogether
DCRA wants to save you a trip. You can now apply for, pay for and receive building permits for many common home improvement and small construction projects.
At DCRA, we are striving to make our processes and initiatives simple for our customers, with safe outcomes for the community. Our online tools make getting permits simple and fast. We have eliminated the need to travel to our office and wait in line. We are excited to offer these services to the residents and contractors of the District of Columbia.
Where is the Homeowner's Center?
Come to 1100 4th Street SW, 2nd Floor. We are open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 am - 4:15 pm and Thursday from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Call (202) 442-9470 for more information.
Who can get a building permit in the Homeowners Center?
Any owner of a single family dwelling or two-family flat who uses the home as their primary residence.
Why get a building permit?
Your building permit helps you and DCRA make sure that your home improvement project is done safely and properly. A plans reviewer and a field inspector will carefully review your plans and work descriptions for compliance with DC Government codes and regulations. Getting a permit will also reduce the risk of homeowner’s insurance liability and fines for illegal construction.
What kind of permits could I need?
Most home improvement projects require one or more of these permits:
- Building Permits
- Plumbing Permits (Supplemental)
- Electrical Permits (Supplemental)
- Mechanical Permits (Supplemental)
All structural and some nonstructural work requires building permits. The Homeowners Center only issues building permits. If your project involves plumbing, wiring, or air conditioning, you will need supplemental permits. Your licensed contractor must get the supplemental permits in DCRA’s Permit Center.
How to Reach Us
We encourage you to call (202) 442-9470 to make an appointment to:
- Get general information;
- Hold a pre-submittal meeting to learn about permit requirements for your specific project; and
- Hold a plan review meeting when you are ready to have your project plan approved.
If you walk in without an appointment, we will serve you as soon as possible.
As a homeowner, can I get plumbing, electrical, or mechanical permits?
No, plumbing, mechanical, and most electrical permits are issued only to licensed and bonded plumbers, gas fitters, master mechanics and master electricians. These permits are supplemental permits: only licensed professionals may apply for these permits.
Note: A homeowner can get an electrical permit for a limited scope of work. Ask the Homeowners Center staff for details.
Homeowners Center Resources
Please read through the home improvement project documents located at the bottom of the page for more guidance on your projects.
Home Improvement Safety Information
More information on lead paint and asbestos is available through the DC Department of the Environment's Lead-Based Paint Management Program. For more information call DDOE at (202) 535-1934 or view the DDOE Lead-Based Paint Management Program's contact information.
Follow Federal Lead Safety Laws
Beginning December 22, 2008, anyone paid to renovate residential housing or child-occupied facilities (such as daycare centers) built before 1978 must provide a new EPA pamphlet, entitled Renovate Right, to the owners and occupants. Both DCRA and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) have already begun making the Renovate Right brochures available to the public. The following documents are available below under related documents.
- Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and Schools
- Remodelar correctamente: Información importante sobre los riesgos causados por el plomo para familias, proveedores de cuidado infantil y escuelas
- Sample Pre-Renovation Checklist
- Sample Pre-Renovation Confirmation Form
The brochure requirement begins the national implementation of a sweeping set of EPA regulations called the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, otherwise known as RRP. The rule establishes requirements for training and certifying individual renovators and renovation firms, to ensure that the work they do in properties that may contain lead paint is done safely, without generating lead hazards. The rule also establishes cleanup requirements for those whose work disturbs paint in these properties. The use of lead-based paint was not restricted nationally until 1978, and the bulk of the District’s housing was built before lead paint was banned.