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Do I need a building permit? Washington, D.C.


Do I need a permit in Washington, D.C.?


When it comes to construction or renovation, it can sometimes be confusing the kinds of permits you need to acquire to make sure you aren’t doing anything illegal.


Luckily if you have started work in any of the areas below, you are in the clear!


  • Repair in kind of existing fences

  • Painting other than fire-retardant paint

  • Caulking, patching and plaster repair of non-rated assemblies

  • Installation of window screens and storm windows

  • Brick Pointing

  • Papering, tiling, carpeting, floor covering, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work

Disclaimer: IF YOU ARE IN A HISTORIC DISTRICT YOU WILL NEED A PERMIT FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE.



In Washington, D.C. The following projects WILL require a permit

  • Razes

  • Retaining walls, fences, sheds, garages, or vault construction

  • New construction and foundations

  • Additions, alterations, or repair of existing buildings

  • Demolition

  • Retaining walls, fences, sheds, garages, or vault construction

  • Signs or awnings

  • Layout of interior space new or existing commercial buildings




Keep in mind that your project may still require additional permits such as electric, plumbing, HVAC.

Sidewalks, front patios, retaining walls, fences in public spaces, dumpsters in public spaces, sidewalk cafes will all require a public space permit.


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