If you are thinking about renovating your home, you can’t just pick up a hammer and start working. There are certain rules that DC imposes to all homeowners that require them to get permission first. Should you neglect getting the right permissions, you could end up losing money and time as you wait for the necessary approval to come. In order to avoid delays, you want to be sure you go through the right channels as soon as you decide to start renovating. This is crucial if you want to get the job done quickly and properly. Should you be found renovating your property without prior permission, you could be fined. This is why you need to get permission ahead of time before you begin any type of construction.
Evaluate the Job
Not every project in your home requires getting permits to do it. You need to decide if you are working on something that would require the necessary permits or not. Things like adding new fixtures or replacing your cabinets do not require permission. These are all things you can do on your own. What does require permission are things like new construction, adding a fence, or even changing a floorplan. If you choose to do this, you will be required to get a building permit.
When you do decide to do renovations to your home, you must get a postcard permit. Things like repairing a deck, installing electrical outlets, and putting up new plumbing, all require obtaining a postcard permit to ensure you are approved for the renovation. When you do get this permit, you are required to tape it to your door so inspectors who come by can see that it is displayed.
If you own an historic property and want to do some renovations, the process is going to be a little different. You will need to head over to the Historic Preservation Office to get approval for the renovations. Some projects can get approval the same day, while other projects may need to go in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board before being approved. If you are doing light changes like landscaping, you do not have to worry about approval. If you are not sure if you need approval or not, it is always best to ask a staff member at the HPO.
The amount of approval time will depend on how big the renovation is. If you are doing a complete remodel of the home, you are going to want to start a month in advance in order to get approval before construction. Small remodeling jobs only require a day’s notice and you can usually walk out of the office with the permit the same day. You want to make sure you give complete detail about the project so you do not run into any snags along the way. You change the remodeling job or decide to extend it, you will need to get additional approval.