Denver Permit Approval
The city and county of Denver permit approval process can be a lengthy and challenging exercise in your project timeline. In order to get Denver permit approval, builders and homeowners must get through the city plan reviewers comments and requirements. Depending on the volume and resources, city review times can vary from relatively short turnaround times to extremely delayed.
What Do I Need To Start Construction In Denver?
Building in Denver requires a large number of planning, studies, reviews, and testing. All of this is necessary before the Developmental Services will grant a Denver permit approval for construction. Working with Sustainable Design Build, clients won’t have to navigate the pre-construction and pre-conceptual steps that are confusing and layered in nuances. See just a small example of the items Sustainable Design Build will cover just in order to get your Denver Permit approval.
How Soon Can I Start Construction?
Building a home addition in Denver is considered a ‘major residential project’. Therefore, your project will be subject to an average review time before permit approval. While the City and County of Denver strive to complete plan reviews within 30 days, major residential projects are several behind currently of 2022.
Please note: The target due date for the initial plan review does not include the intake review, i.e., the time it takes to process an application and release it for plan review. It can take up to two business days to verify that an application is complete and ready for plan review.
Average Plan Review Times
The City and County of Denver have an insightful tool on their website that actively tracks the review times for residential construction and commercial construction based on the size and scope of the project. You can visit the City of Denver’s website here or you simply see for yourself below. Simply navigate the slides below.
Help Me Get Started With My Project
Denver’s Development Services provides resources for you as a homeowner to research the possibilities your home has for future construction and improvement. Following those guidelines helps us and you as a homeowner to set expectations for your home’s project. Every addition builder will have to go through these steps and considerations in order to create an addition that is acceptable to Denver County. Do keep in mind, while SDB does prioritize building in Denver County, every municipality is different. Take a look at some of these items to get an idea of whether or not your home is ideal for addition construction and want it would take to get across the finish line.
Factors That May Affect Your Project
Before you start your project, you need to know what regulations apply to your property and what factors may impact your project. Sustainable Design Build will help you with these of course but if you want to be informed when determining the possibilities for your home here are some things to consider:
Historic Landmark Status
Any project that involves changes to the exterior of landmark structures or properties in historic landmark districts must be reviewed by Landmark Preservation staff before you begin. The appropriate zoning, building, curb cut, or revocable permits needed for the project will be issued only after design review has been completed and the project has been approved. To determine your property’s landmark status, go and visit Denver’s webpage for Zoning information and look up your property’s address. This will also prepare you for the next item on this list, zoning codes.
Zoning establishes standards for things such as the size and location of structures and acceptable uses for your property. Before you contact us, take a look at Denver’s webpage for Zoning information. You can look up your home’s description and neighborhood building codes. These bits of information will help you determine how much of your home can be built out or if at all. Denver only allows for certain amount of lot coverage and construction of specific structures. There is a chance your home may not be eligible for building an addition. Don’t worry if you cannot find the information, SDB will still be happy to help.
Any project that encroaches on a designated parkway setback will need to undergo parkways review. Certain parkways and boulevards are specifically designated by ordinance to preserve their unique character. Each designated parkway has its own right-of-way width and regulations of setback distance of structures and signs. If you are unsure if you live along a designated parkway or for your parkway’s specific regulations, enter your address into the in the Denver Develop tool on their website.
If any portion of your project has the potential to affect the trunk, canopy or roots of the street trees around your property, before you begin construction, you must contact Denver Forestry by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (720-913-0651) to evaluate your project. Any removal, trimming or planting of trees within the public right of way must be permitted through the City Forester’s Office. Damages to street trees may result in the issuance of administrative citations and/or fines. Visit the Denver Forestry web page and click on Property Owner Resources for information on hiring a licensed tree service company or requesting a permit.
Denver Building Code provides minimum standards for building in order to safeguard public safety, health and welfare. The permitting and inspection process ensures that all home projects meet these standards and that all dwellings are safe and habitable at the time of construction.
Location of Utilities
When designing your project, you need to know where utilities are located. You cannot build over existing utilities. Before you dig, contact the Utility Notification Center of Colorado at 1-800-922-1987 or 811 to mark underground utilities for your project.
Location of Existing Sewer Lines
If you plan to build a new structure over or within 2 feet of the existing sanitary sewer, you will need to replace the sanitary sewer with approved materials. A plumbing contractor can help you locate the sewer lines on your property. Visit Wastewater Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP) for application, guidelines and other specific information. Contact the Department of Public Works at 303-446-3759 for additional details.
Transportation review and approval is needed if you are changing the location of any driveways that connect to public streets or proposing improvements, such as changing the curb cut, within the “right of way” (ROW), which includes public streets and sidewalks. All ROW projects must be performed by a licensed contractor and in full compliance with the City Charter, ordinances, permitting processes and all other applicable standards, specifications and requirements. Licensed contractors can obtain ROW permits at Public Works Permit Operations, 2000 West 3rd Avenue, or directly from the ROW inspector at (303) 446-3469. NOTE: Alterations to a driveway that connects to an alley, instead of a public street or sidewalk, do not require transportation review.
Reviews, Permits and Documents You May Need
Listed in the order they must be obtained. All permits must be in hand and at site before work may begin.
- Current City of Denver Contractor’s License Affidavit of Requirements for Owner-Occupier Permits (see Issuance of Owner-Occupier Permits (PDF) for more information).
- Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness – if the project is in a designated historic district or landmark property. Visit the Design Review web page for more information.
- Forestry Review – required if your project will impact the canopy or roots of street trees. Contact Denver Forestry by email (email@example.com) or by phone at 720-913-0651 to evaluate your project and visit the Denver Forestry web page for additional information. Allow about 3 to 5 business working days for inspections and approval.
- Parkways Review – if your property is along a designated parkway and the project encroaches on the parkway setback
You will need: A completed Parkway Exception Request form and a site plan that includes property lines, parkway setback from property line, proposed type, location and dimensions of encroachment into parkway setback, location of existing residence on property and labeled streets. To get a copy of the form and additional information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Transportation Review – required if there are proposed improvements in the Right-of-Way associated with the addition or if there is a new or modified driveway connection to the street
You will need: A site plan that includes the location of the existing and proposed driveways; dimensions from the driveway to the property line and any adjacent driveways; width of driveway; and material used in construction. Find the city transportation engineer assigned to your area using the DevelopDENVER tool at right and contact him/her for more information.
NOTE: If the proposed driveway connects to a State Highway then CDOT access permits and a Transportation Engineering Plan will be required. For questions about the driveway location, Transportation Engineering Plan, or CDOT access permit requirements, please contact your Site Engineering Transportation Engineer using the DevelopDENVER property tool to the right.
- Adjacent Property Owner Notification, if the project requires demolition or excavation
Building permit applicant must submit either a return receipt of certified mail delivery or a signed receipt of personal notification for all adjacent properties at the time of permit application and plan submission at permit counter. A permit will not be issued until 10 working days after adjacent property owners were notified.
- Zoning Use Permit (Commercial Zoning) – If you are changing the use of the structure and/or adding a dwelling unit, staff must first determine what is permitted under your current zoning.
The above must be in hand before you apply for the following:
*For a complete list of required documentation for zoning and building plan review, including minimum submittal requirements, download the Residential Permitting Guide (PDF). Zoning and/or building permit applications for logged-in residential projects will only be accepted if minimum submittal requirements are met.
- Zoning Review*
- #1R Building Permit (Log In)*
- Wastewater Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP) (Log In or Plan Review)
Visit the wastewater permits page for application, complete submittal requirements and guidelines, and other information.
- #11 Forced-Air Furnaces, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and Gas Piping Permit (Quick Permit) – required for new ductwork
- #4 Plumbing Permit (Quick permit) – required for new or relocated plumbing fixtures
- #3 Electrical Permit (Quick permit) – required for new or relocated electrical outlets or light fixtures
- #2 Roofing Permit (Quick Permit), including information on the number and type of shingles
- Right of way (ROW) Construction Permit – required for all work located in the ROW, which must be performed by a licensed contractor. Contractors can obtain the ROW permits at Public Works Permit Operations, 2000 West 3rd Avenue or directly from the ROW inspector at (303) 446-3469. NOTE: If significant improvements within the ROW are being proposed, you will need a transportation plan. Find your transportation engineer using the DevelopDENVER tool at right and contact him/her for more information.
Quick Permits may be applied for by email. See www.DenverGov.org/QuickPermits. For same day service, sign in online or at the kiosk once for two Quick Permits at a time.
Sign in online or at the kiosk once for zoning review and #1R permit (Log in).
Zoning and Building permit fees are based on valuation of the work to be completed including the labor and materials.
NOTE: When a Same Day Review is required for the #1R Permit, a “walk through” submittal fee of 20% of the valuation of the work to be completed with a $100.00 minimum will be charged in addition to building permit fees.
ROW permit fees are based on the amount of work constructed and the amount of time they are occupying the ROW.
There are no fees for Transportation, Parkways or Landmark review.
For Wastewater, there is a $100 application fee plus other fees may apply.
View the permit fee schedules to estimate the fees required for your project.
Typical inspections during construction of habitable space include the following:
- 2nd story attachment, basement structural floor
- Pre construction meeting
- Foundation wall
- Foundation perimeter drain
- Frost Wall Insulation
- Underground Utilities (Electrical)
- Exterior Sheathing
- Rough utilities (Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing)
- Exterior Lath
- Batt Insulation
- Blown insulation
- Pressure Test
- Final Utility (Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing)
- Final construction inspection
- ROW – Construction Engineering will inspect work performed int he ROW and check to see if ROW infrastructure was damaged during construction.
- Denver Forestry
NOTE: The inspections listed above may vary depending on the complexity of your project. You will be advised as to which inspections your project requires through the permitting process and by your inspector.
- Please be aware that an ROW inspector may require the replacement of any damaged infrastructure (i.e. sidewalk and curb and gutter) in the ROW adjacent to your site.
- Section 49-551.1 of the Denver Municipal Code states that the property owner or lessee of any real property is responsible for the continuing care, maintenance, repair, and replacement of all improvements installed in the public ROW between the property line and the curb line adjoining their property.
Connect With Us
Planning your next renovation, or maybe you are looking to do a complete remodel for your home? Whatever the task, it can’t hurt to ask. Reach out to our team through this form.
We can schedule a free consultation and discuss everything you need to get your project moving in the right direction. Did we mention, it’s absolutely free?
No time like the present to get started on turning your house into the home of your dreams.