How to Apply for a DC Building Permit in a Breeze

Planning Permissions How to Apply for a DC Building Permit in a Breeze

How to Get a D.C. Building Permit

Now that the piece of land is finally yours, how can you build your dream home? First, you must obtain a from the District of Columbia offices.

There are specific regulations you must adhere to when building either residential or commercial houses. Much of the hassle is found in securing a D.C. building permit. The process of setting up a building can be tiring, especially if you have to commute from your current residence to the relevant offices.

Depending on the project's complexity, your building permit date of issue can vary from a couple of hours to days or months. However, with DoNotPay, you can save yourself the hassle by getting the documents required for your building permit from the comfort of your home.

When Is a Building Permit Necessary in D.C.?

As long as you're putting up a new structure, you are liable to determine whether it requires a building permit. In addition, you are responsible for getting the permits. Failure to do so, you'll run a risk of getting fined.

A helps you:

  • Protect the property value
  • Makes it easier to sell the property
  • Improves safety
  • It's the law

The types of structures that require building permits include:

  • New additions, alterations, or repairs of existing buildings like decks
  • New construction
  • Canopies, signs, and awnings
  • Fireworks stands and Christmas trees
  • Demolitions
  • Construction of sheds, garages, vaults, patios, and walls
  • Swimming pool
  • Underground storage tank
  • Soil boring
  • Scaffolding permit
  • Tenant layout

What Documents Do I Need to Get a Building Permit in D.C.?

To get a D.C. building permit, visit the Washington D.C. building permit office. The building construction department, where the permit process begins, will accept your application and validate all the necessary documents for new construction. They include:

  • Compliance form and disability access
  • Site plan for building permit
  • Architectural floor plans and building evaluations
  • Demolition, structural engineering calculations, and drawings
  • Electrical, plumbing, and mechanical drawings
  • Technical details concerning the construction

How to Get a Building Permit in D.C.

The Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (D.C.RA) will issue you a building permit for review and approval from the relevant agencies. You can apply for a D.C building permit in one of three ways:


Visit the DCRA website to apply for your D.C building permit. To apply online, you must hold an account with D.C.RA. If you don't have one, create one with your email address and create a password. Then, use the details to log in and apply for your permit.

Fill out the online application form with the required details, including proof of payment of Washington D.C. building permit fees, construction costs, and dimensions for the new structure. The next step requires you to upload the following:

  • Formal quote
  • MS report
  • Contract agreement

After your application is accepted, you'll receive an email notifying you to upload all your supporting documents and building plans for the reviewing process.

Via Mail

Visit DCRA's online platform and download the building permit form, or you can pick the forms at the Permit Center, 1100 4th St SW, 2nd Floor. Ensure to fill out every necessary detail while following the written instructions in the forms. After completion, mail the forms to 1100 4th St SW, Washington, D.C. 20024. The application process can take up to 30 business days.


Apply for your building permit in person by visiting the DCRA offices, located at 1100 4th St SW, Washington, D.C. 20024. The offices are open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Alternatively, you can book an appointment beforehand by calling +1 202-442-4400.

Your building plan can go through several revisions before getting approval from the various agencies who give the go-ahead to D.C.RA on the permit issuance. Notably, design changes to your building permit can lead to additional plan checks. In case of major design changes, you'll need to start again from the beginning to obtain your building permit.

What Is the Cost of Getting a Building Permit in D.C.?

Below is a summary of the types of construction and their respective costs.

DescriptionFee Amount
New Additions, Alterations, or Repairs

Filing deposit

Permit fee

50% of the assessed permit fee based on the estimated cost of construction shouldn't exceed $20,000

$0.03 per cubic foot of construction

New Additions and Construction

Construction valued less than $500

Construction valued between $501- $1000

Construction valued between $1001- $1million



$30 + 2% of construction value $1001-$1 million

Awning$65 each
Demolition$30+2% of construction cost
A Fence on Private Property (Repair or Installation)$33
Swimming Pool:

Up to 15,000 gallons

More than 15,000 gallons


$260 +$33/1000gallons

Soil, Water, or Gas Test Boring$7 per bore

How to Apply for a Building Permit in D.C. With the Help of DoNotPay

DoNotPay saves you time and energy by allowing you to apply for your D.C. building permit in minutes.

If you want to apply for a building permit in D.C. but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered. Create your own request letter in 6 easy steps:

  1. Go to the Planning Permissions product on DoNotPay.
  2. Choose one of the following options:
    1. Check whether your project needs a building permit or if it's exempt
    2. Generate a permission request letter to send to your HOA
    3. Generate a guide on how to complete the building permit application
  3. Choose the focus of your project (new ADU, pool, shed, fence, etc.) and answer a few questions about your plans, including the size of the structure and estimated cost.

  4. Indicate whether you're hiring a contractor and include the estimated start date and the timeline for the project.
  5. Indicate whether any public sidewalk/street space will be used during construction.
  6. And that's it! DoNotPay will help guide you through the building permit process by checking if your project needs a building permit, contacting any HOAs you're a part of to request building permission, or generating detailed instructions on how to start and complete your building permit application process.

DoNotPay can also help you obtain the following building permits:

Why Use DoNotPay to Get a Building Permit in Washington D.C.

DoNotPay makes the application process for your D.C. building permit easy and convenient by providing you with feedback to help you track the application process. Unfortunately, government sites are vulnerable to attacks due to the high volume of stored personal information. By using DoNotPay, you're assured of a secure, fast, easy, and successful permit application, right from the comfort of your home.

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