DC BUILDING PERMIT GUIDE

HOW TO GET A DC BUILDING PERMIT

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DC Building Permit Guide

When do you need a DC building permit? Where do you go to get one? How long does it take and how much does it cost? Homeowners in DC have many questions about the odious DC permitting process. Here’s some DC.gov info to get you started!
What is it?
A DC building permit is an authorization to build according to a specific scope of work, including approved plans. You are required by law to get a permit for construction in the District of Columbia. Any modification of permit scope or approved plans must be specifically approved.
What can you do with it?
A DC building permit does not give you the authority to: Build in or occupy public space, Remove or prune trees greater than 55” in circumference (18” in diameter) on public or private property. (If your project requires that you prune or remove trees, please contact the Department of Transportation (DDOT (Urban Forestry Administration) Occupy your building after construction. (You must get a Certificate of Occupancy before you open your business or occupy your commercial building.
When do you need it?
New construction and foundations Additions, alterations, or repair of existing buildings Demolition Razes Construction of retaining walls, fences, sheds, garages, or vault construction Erection of signs or awnings Layout of interior space for tenants in new or existing commercial buildings (e.g. changing the floor plan of a building from six one-bedroom apartments to three two-bedroom apartments)
How much is it?
Consult the list of fees to find out the cost of a DC building permit.
How long is it good?
Any issued DC building permit will become invalid if the authorized work is not begun within one year after the permit is issued, or if the authorized work is suspended or abandoned for a period of one year, after the date work is begun.
Can you get it later?
You will be fined if you start construction before you get a DC building permit or after it expires
When don’t you need a permit?
Unless you are in a historic district, the following work does not require a DC building permit: Brick pointing Caulking, patching, and plaster repair Installation of cabinets and architectural millwork Installation of window screens and storm windows Repair of existing fences with like materials Retaining walls, 18 inches (0.46m) or less in height Construction of garden storage sheds complying with DC Code Section 105.2.6 Painting, but not painting with fire-retardant paint Replacement of the following materials: Non-rated windows and doors Siding Gutters and downspouts Private sidewalks and driveways Patios Non-rated suspended ceiling tile Floor coverings Up to 160 square feet (9.3m) of gypsum board Up to 10 linear feet (3.05m) of duct work, in non-hazardous and commercial kitchen exhaust systems Information on permits in historic districts
Application Process
Apply for your permit at 1100 4th Street SW, Second Floor. Most permits require the following forms: Building Permit Online Application Environmental Intake Form Contract Agreement DDOE Environmental Questionnaire Lead Hazard Control Form for existing buildings built before 1978 (available in package below) Reasonable Accommodations Form Zoning Data Summary Form Complete Building Permit Application Package You can check the status of your permit online. You’ll see which disciplines (electrical, structural) have reviewed your plans to date. Please note: You may be able to view comments about your project online, but you won’t be able to pick up your plans until all required disciplines have reviewed them. View the building permit application requirements to see all the supporting documentation required for your particular permit. Depending on the type of permit a plat from the Office of the Surveyor may be required. A plat is a scaled drawing of a lot, showing the lot lines and record dimensions. It must show all existing and proposed structures, drawn to scale. Plats are required for all exterior work. You can get a plat of your property at the Office of the Surveyor. Once you get the plat, you must draw the structures on the document before you submit it with your building permit application. To order a plat online, please read Get a Building Plat.
Want to visit these fun folks in person?
Office Hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Thursday 9:30 am to 4:30 pm 1100 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024 Phone: (202) 442-4400 Fax: (202) 442-9445 TTY: (202) 123-4567 Email:dcra@dc.gov
Prefer to use an Expeditor? Tom Elwood 202-746-9145

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Susan is sooo responsive–pretty much 24-7. She made what could have been a difficult situation very easy to navigate. I couldn’t have bought my property without her, I’m sure. I recommend Susan VERY HIGHLY. She is a delight to work with.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that Susan did the work of both the buyer’s and seller’s agent, spotting and solving problems using a powerful combination of intuition and experience. She brought her impressive professional network to bear on one problem to such great effect that the buyer’s lender gave me–the seller–a closing cost credit. When does that ever happen? 
Susan and Alex are superstar agents. There is no one else I’d want on my side of a real estate transaction. My wife and I first met Susan in 2010 when she helped us buy our first home, a condo. We were so impressed by her deep local knowledge, tenacious negotiating, 24/7 efforts on our behalf, and clear guidance on the home-buying process that we didn’t consider going with anyone else when we decided to buy a 3-BR in our dream neighborhood. We were not disappointed. After a few weeks, we found the perfect house at the perfect listing price. We knew it would be competitive, but Susan and Alex provided expert advice on how to make the offer, and in the end, we provided terms just attractive enough to end the process in our favor, but no higher than final appraisal and just above what their agent later admitted was their line. They also did a fabulous job of staging and selling our condo, which netted $30K over selling price after six strong offers during just two-days of being on the market. They get amazing results and are a blast to work with. 
Susan was an invaluable part of my new home purchase from beginning to end. She quickly understood what I liked, previewed properties and showed me homes that fit our criteria. She made herself extremely available through the process and worked with us through every aspect of the transaction. Susan was so much fun as an agent that she took the anxiety out of the home buying process. I would work with Susan again in a heartbeat.
Susan responded immediately and impressed me with her patience and almost supernatural ability to find the perfect place for me despite some significant constraints (time, location, finances). I was not an easy case, but she never made me feel like I was a ‘burden’ or ‘not her first priority’. Above all, she treated me with respect and honesty.
Susan is knowledgeable, friendly and very responsive–she got back to us immediately to answer any of our questions at any hour. Even as first-time homebuyers who could be somewhat indecisive at times, she understood what we were looking for in a home, didn’t hesitate to answer our questions and always had our best interests in mind. Her warm, welcoming attitude and confident guidance really took the stress out of a process that, before we met Susan, we had assumed would be overwhelming and beyond our reach.
We expected an extremely stressful experience when we decided to sell our home of over 25 years and buy a condo, especially because we live nearly 3000 miles away, yet the Isaacs Team was beyond exceptional in their competent guidance, attention to detail, follow through, and simply doing what they said they would do. While other realtors said, "this is what you need to do;" this team said, "we can do this for you!" Our process was smooth and quick, and they designed a strategy and negotiated a sale well above our asking price; and a purchase price below asking - both in the same market. They are also a pleasure to work with in every respect. Please know that you can turn this difficult personal event over to true professionals and emerge with happy results and fast friends. We highly recommend this team in every regard.
My husband and I loved working with Susan and Alex. This was my 9th real estate purchase but the first time that I have used The Isaacs Team. They were the best agents I have worked with and I can not accurately describe how impressed we were! They were amazing and extremely detailed. They went over and above for us in neighborhood research, service, and contract negotiations. I found them to be extremely responsive, always available, and 100% competitent in their knowledge of the markets they serve. I was really impreseed by their extensive knowledge of the real estate contract. I must say that I was incredibly impressed. They made the process easy and held our hands through difficult negotiations. I will be their client for life!
When a property popped up in a neighborhood that she and I had scouted, Susan was there within the hour and insisted it was worth us leaving work to check out. If we had a less responsive Realtor, I am convinced that we would not have our amazing house now. Susan’s advice is invaluable. You need a Realtor that knows her stuff. And Susan does!
Susan not only worked hard to help my wife and me find the perfect place, she was a dogged (and effective) negotiator on our behalf once we zeroed-in. She knows the market and knows the area, but best of all she knows how to play hardball and get things done—exactly what we needed in an agent.
Susan and Alex are superstar agents. There is no one else I’d want on my side of a real estate transaction. My wife and I first met Susan in 2010 when she helped us buy our first home, a condo. We were so impressed by her deep local knowledge, tenacious negotiating, 24/7 efforts on our behalf, and clear guidance on the home-buying process that we didn’t consider going with anyone else when we decided to buy a 3-BR in our dream neighborhood. We were not disappointed. After a few weeks, we found the perfect house at the perfect listing price. We knew it would be competitive, but Susan and Alex provided expert advice on how to make the offer, and in the end, we provided terms just attractive enough to end the process in our favor, but no higher than final appraisal and just above what their agent later admitted was their line. They also did a fabulous job of staging and selling our condo, which netted $30K over selling price after six strong offers during just two-days of being on the market. They get amazing results and are a blast to work with.
Susan is a true client advocate who worked tirelessly on my behalf to ensure my purchasing goals were met. We hit some seller stumbling blocks along the way, and Susan used her experience and knowledge to ensure every box was checked on my behalf – She was my personal Bulldog. Her experience in the builder realm proved extremely valuable during the entire process.
In today’s market in this area, you cannot rely on luck to get you that perfect place or a great deal – you need to have an agent who knows the market cold, is aggressive, and effective – Susan is all of those things and more.
Susan not only worked hard to help my wife and me find the perfect place, she was a dogged (and effective) negotiator on our behalf once we zeroed-in. She knows the market and knows the area, but best of all she knows how to play hardball and get things done—exactly what we needed in an agent.
In today’s market in this area, you cannot rely on luck to get you that perfect place or a great deal – you need to have an agent who knows the market cold, is aggressive, and effective – Susan is all of those things and more.

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