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DNS Operations Update - 03/26/2020

Effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, the City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) will modify its operations and building inspection protocols so that construction activity can continue safely in the city.

Efforts shall be made by both DNS staff and customers to meet the guidelines established by the Milwaukee Health Department and the CDC to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus in the community and ensure the safety of DNS inspectors. To read the press release from Commissioner Erica Lewandowski, please click here. The following represents the current inspection protocols required by DNS, and are subject to change as necessary.

Fire Inspection Services

The Department of Neighborhood Services will resume Fire Inspection activities in the City of Milwaukee, effective 6/15/2020. To ensure the safety of inspectors and the public, inspectors will be required to use appropriate PPE (face masks) and maintain 6 ft of social distance separation during the inspection. Owners, building reps, customers, and tenants will be expected to follow proper social distancing guidelines at all times.


Fire Inspections of common areas and public areas are not to be confused with routine interior building inspection activity. Fire Inspections are less intrusive and require less interaction than going into individual units. DNS will not be conducting routine interior inspections at this time.


Inspectors will make appointments by contacting owners and/or building representatives to discuss the fire inspection appointment and the expectations for a responsible and safe interaction prior to that appointment occurring.


If you wish to schedule an inspection or contact your district inspector, please contact:

Residential apartment buildings: (414) 286-2268

Commercial uses: (414) 286-3874


Construction Inspection Services

Un-Occupied New Construction

Inspections will proceed as requested by contractors. Inspections will be facilitated by remote methods using video conferencing and/or photos whenever possible, at the discretion of the inspector. For on-site inspections, inspectors will provide 10 minutes advance notice of arrival to the site so areas to be inspected may be cleared of workers. Up to two site managers may accompany the inspector for the inspection if desired. All individuals on site must remain a minimum of six feet from the inspector at all times. Failure to clear the area needing inspection or maintain adequate distance from the inspector will result in a failed inspection and the inspector leaving the site immediately.

Occupied Properties

Inspection requests for occupied properties will be reviewed on a case by case emergency basis. Inspectors will provide 10 minutes advance notice of arrival to the property so the area needing inspection can be cleared. Up to two individuals may accompany the inspector for the inspection if desired. Children, individuals not accompanying the inspector, and pets shall remain in a fully separated space away from the inspector for the duration of the inspection. Failure to clear the area under construction or maintain adequate distance from the inspector will result in a failed inspection and the inspector leaving the site immediately.


Items including but not limited to furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, and other similar facilities will not be inspected until normal operations resume.

Property Maintenance Inspection Services (Exterior of Properties)

Inspection services for property maintenance, garbage, and other exterior related concerns are continuing on a limited basis. Inspectors will be responding to concerns regarding exteriors of properties where possible to do so without face to face interaction.

DNS offices remain closed to walk in traffic. For inspection related questions call (414) 286-2268, and for Development Center information call (414) 286-8207. 

Development Center Operations

Tech Team, Residential Construction, Fencing, Signage, Zoning Referrals and Occupancy    

Plan Examiner Specialists will be managing customer assistance for those wishing to access these services. All walk-in services will be suspended. Customers may call our customer assistance line at (414) 286-8210 if you would like to apply for any of these services. Please note that our customer service line will be very busy during this time so please be patient with us. Plan Exam consultation will be handled over the phone and opportunity to send information via email will be offered. You may also apply for a permit online through our LMS system. Please go to Supplemental documentation required for submittal should be uploaded to the permit record you have created.

Commercial Submittals 

Small Commercial Submittals that would have otherwise been reviewed through our walk-in service or by appointment may now be dropped at our front desk for check-in and review. Walk-in Services and Appointments will be suspended. Correspondence regarding reviews will be handled via email.

Plan Submittals 

Plan Submittals are preferably made via mail/shipping. Submittals may also be dropped may be dropped off at the area designated within the front entry vestibule at the 809 N. Broadway building. Mailed in submittals should be sent to:

809 N Broadway, 1st Floor
Attention: Development Center
Milwaukee WI, 53202

Dropped submittals should left at the designated entry vestibule area for drop-offs. Plans will be checked in based upon time stamped receivables. Please do not include a check rolled into your submittal. Plan Exam fees may be paid upon check-in and fee assessment via our online LMS system.


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Resources for homeowners 

Resources for homeowners

The Department of Neighborhood Services is here to help make sure that your project is done right the first time. DNS inspects your permitted project to ensure the safety of your home, save you money and catch any issues early on.


Read more about home updates that do not require a permit and link to other helpful resources you can use.


Doorstep Cleanup

Residents are encouraged to help pick up litter around their homes/property - focusing on the front, back and side areas. This can easily be done while maintaining proper social distancing.

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About Us

Through the enforcement of Building, Zoning, Fire, Environmental, Property Maintenance and other ordinances, DNS protects the value of investments in neighborhoods and commercial properties and supports community goals of building safe and healthy neighborhoods and increasing investment and economic vitality throughout the City.


Permit & Development Center

The City of Milwaukee adopts the the State of Wisconsin Building Code for Residential and Commercial Structures. The Permit & Development Center is located at 809 N. Broadway, first floor. Our hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Tuesday hours are 8:00 a.m. to noon. 


Inspections & Sections

If you require an inspector to make an inspection related to a permit or a complaint investigation, you will need to make an appointment. Click on your preferred section below to see a list of inspections conducted and who to call. 


Programs & Initiatives

The Department of Neighborhood Services offers a variety of programs to assist homeowners, renters, landlords and community groups to improve both properties and neighborhoods.


Property & Neighborhood Information

DNS and the City of Milwaukee offer a variety of resources, incentives and information to help residents research or improve their properties.

City of Milwaukee  

Contact Us

841 N Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
First Floor

Lake Tower
4001 S 6th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53221

Phone Directory

DNS Commissioner Erica Lewandowski  


Erica Lewandowski

Phone: (414) 286-2543
Fax: (414) 286-5095

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