Tracking construction permit applications in the District of Columbia.

How To Find Permit Applications With PIVS

DCRA maintains records of all permits approved. On a weekly basis they post a list (in PDF) of permits issued that month-to-date and at the conclusion of the month will post the monthly list. If there is no link, the permit list has not yet been released. To see permits (and other information for a single particular address) check out PIVS–Property Information Verification System.  PIVS DC has ceased publishing Building Permits Issued pages but you can still look up a permit by property address or legal description using PIVS.   

Find Original Permit To Build

Washingtoniana has microfilm of building permits from the National Archives collection, all permits issued from 1877-1949. The most important permit to find is the “Permit to Build,” and the best way to find that permit is to search the Building Permits Database (now available online at HistoryQuest DC). The database includes most of the information from the original permit, including date of construction, architect, builder, owner, materials, dimensions, cost and use of the building. Permits issued after 1949 are available at the D.C. Archives. You may also choose to look at the permit as it was originally issued, by consulting the building permits on microfilm. The original permit may include additional information not found in the database, such as plat drawings or inspector reports. If the permit has the note “plans on file,” the plans for the property are available at National Archives in College Park.

Find Other Permits

There may be other permits associated with a property in addition to the Permit to Build, such as permits to renovate, to build an addition or a garage, to add additional stories or a new facade, etc. These permits must be accessed using the microfilm indexes: By Square Number 1877-1928 By Subdivision 1877-1908 (for property in Washington County — above Boundary St./Florida Ave. — east of Anacostia River; consult plat maps for subdivision names) By Street Address 1928-1958.

Apply for a permit online.

DCRA has upgraded its Online Construction Permit system to allow applicants to obtain permits online from start to finish. No further need for those fun trips to the DCRA office! Included are permits for intermediate and complex jobs. Simply upload plans through the ProjectDox system, pay, and obtain your new permit copy. Questions? Check out the  OCPI User Guide.

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