What is the permit process in Washington, D.C.?
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Step 1 – Learn about the property restrictions and status of your project
Find out if development restrictions apply to your project. Learn your zoning district and if you are in a zoning overlay. This is an extremely important step prior to applying for any permit.
For more information and a complete list of overlays, visit the D.C. Office of Zoning website at https://dcoz.dc.gov/
Additionally, you may utilize DCRA’s Property Information Verification System (PIVS) to verify if you are within a historically designated area.
Step 2 – Determine your full scope of work
This will determine the type of permits needed and whether additional documents are needed during submission. For any exterior construction, a surveyor’s plat may be needed to detail all existing and proposed structures and must be drawn to scale. A building plat is a scaled drawing of a lot, showing lot lines and record dimensions. Plats that only consist of interior work, such as bathroom remodeling, are not required for jobs.
Step 3 – Permit Application
When you have narrowed down your scope of work, you are ready to submit your permit application.
Congrats! Let’s get the permit underway!
Step 4 - Pre-Screening
When your application is received by DCRA, it will be reviewed to ensure it is complete and that it meets the basic requirements for plan review. Pre-screen review occurs in different phases based on the type of plan review selected for your project.
Step 5 - Plan Review
There are two ways in which the plan review may occur. For small scale, and typically less complex projects, a Digital Walk-Through is complete. The second is a thorough ProjectDox Plan Review.
Both Plan Reviews described below in more detail:
Digital Walk-Through All plans are submitted via ePlan review system
in ProjectDox for a completed review in 1 business day.
ProjectDox Plan Review ProjectDox (ProjectDox Accepted) applications are more complex scopes of work
that require more than 1 or 2 business days for review.
After plans are uploaded, they are pre-screened for the basic requirements and assigned to necessary plan review disciplines within DCRA and applicable sister agencies. Please refer to the Plan Review section to learn about different plan review assignments and when they are required.