Even though they are a necessity, building permits may be anything but straightforward. Determining if you need a building (residential or commercial) permit for your home renovation project can be overwhelming. The reason is licensing departments often frustrate applicants’ attempts to get permits quickly.
Traditionally, permitting departments prioritize commercial interests over private residential interests. In most instances, it is a bias bred from necessity: builders, contractors, and the trades represent a large majority of applicants.
Specific themes do emerge to clarify permitting requirements, regardless of the differences in cities and counties. The themes can be generalized as personal and public safety, electrical, natural gas, and plumbing. Projects that touch on these areas require permits.
But what are building permits, and how do they relate to a remodeling company?
What Is A Building Permit?
I’m glad you’ve asked. A building permit (in Colorado or other states) is an official approval by a local government agency, allowing a hired contractor to construct and remodel a structure on any property. The permit ensures compliance with local Colorado state building codes, land use, zoning, and construction standards. These standards tend to vary across cities and counties.
The codes, rules, regulations, and standards are structured to ensure the safety of the community, builders, and homeowners. Therefore, it is often considered as a safety precaution against damage, danger, and the authorities.
A building permit addresses several issues, such as a building’s structural integrity, water, sanitation, zoning, sewer lines, fire protection, and electrical service.
Why Do I Need A Building Permit When Remodeling?
Unfortunately, most homeowners hate the process of acquiring a building permit. However, a building permit is more than a piece of paper. Individuals who avoid permits face moderate to severe risks.
Typically, one of the protections that a permit offers is an inspection by the municipality. Inspections can expose shoddy remodeling workmanship, safety hazards, and building code violations ordinarily discovered when a problem appears.
Generally, obtaining or “pulling” a building permit is a dual responsibility of the contractor and homeowner. Unfortunately, getting a permit can take up to months, which you might not have. Luckily, here at Avi’s Remodeling Contractors, we have worked extremely hard to establish valuable contacts, allowing us to get building permits faster. As such, we can get your project up and running in no time.
Building Permits in Denver, Colorado
Once you decide to start building or conducting major constructions in Denver, Colorado, applying for a building permit is a crucial initial step. The Denver building permits applications process alerts the city of your construction plans. That way, the Building department can ensure your dreams are up to standards and building codes.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the resurgence in Denver’s development has led to the city issuing lots of construction permits. Due to the high volume of construction applications, the submittal and reviewing process to all the required agencies can be lengthy, overwhelming, and often frustrating. Below is a detailed guide about building permits in Denver, Colorado.
Who Needs A Building Permit In Denver, CO?
As expected, most construction projects, whether remodeling, repairs, or additions, require building permits specific to the work type proposed. Unfortunately, failing to get the correct permits often leads to various consequences.
Not having the proper permit could halt your construction project. You could also be fined heavily by the city and county of Denver. However, the is no worse consequence other than experiencing delays in your project timeline.
You have to undergo the application process to successfully receive approval from the various agencies within Denver Development Service, whether you are working on a residential, public, or commercial property. Such services include, but not limited to;
- Planning and Zoning
- Wastewater Management
- Building Department
- Environmental Health
- Fire Department.
Types of Construction Permits Required in Denver, CO
Depending on the specifics of what you intend to construct or remodel, various building permits can be required for any particular project. Generally, besides having a general construction permit, you must meet the criteria from Planning and Zoning to start any project. Trade-specific permits may also come in handy for other aspects of the project, such as plumbing, electrical, among others.
Differentiating commercial and residential projects may seem as straightforward. But, unfortunately, unknown to many, distinguish between the specific types of commercial construction projects can be challenging or partly a gray area.
However, to better understand which category your construction project is to seek approval from the Planning and Zoning Department before submitting applications for Building Review. The department will determine the proposed use of the space where you plan on renovation or construction and ensure the service is approved per Zoning Code for the specific property.
Commercial Building Permits in Denver, CO
If you plan to remodel, rebuild or construct a building structure for your business or commercial setting within Denver, be aware of the unique set of guidelines you need to follow. Commercial construction building codes vary from residential codes. They often require the signature and seal of an engineer, architect, and surveyor before you can submit them for review and approval.
Residential Building Permits in Denver, CO
These are the most common issued building permits in Denver. They are necessary for constructing new homes, remodeling, making additions to an existing home. While the permits are not mandatory for minor in-home repairs, projects requiring a contractor or trades-person typically require a license from Denver Development Services.
These construction permits deal with a single aspect of a project needing special approval. Such include gas piping, plumbing, electrical, siding/roofing, mechanical for HVAC systems, and fire permits. In addition, the permits can be stand-alone for small jobs or needed as part of a complete construction or remodeling project.
Denver Building Permits Application
Most building permits in Denver applications and plans can be submitted online quickly in e-permits. In addition, Denver’s online licensing system provides a straightforward, convenient avenue to submit permit applications for development projects, pay certification fees, and download permits. You can also schedule and monitor an inspector’s expected arrival time, check the results for your inspections, and so much more at your convenience.
Common Types of Permits Issued in Denver
Denver issues several types of permits. The main building permit types include;
- Commercial Construction Permit. It covers commercial and multi-family projects, including information on related permits.
- Residential Building Permit. It covers projects in single-family homes and duplexes, as well as information on related permits.
- Fire Alarm Permit. It covers the installation of a commercial fire alarm system.
- Access Control Permit.
- Signs Zoning Permit. Application for a commercial sign permit.
There is a different category known as quick permits. These are trade-specific permits that are issued without needing a plan review. These include;
Mechanical Permit. You apply for a mechanical permit to install forced-air furnaces, gas piping, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Plumbing Permit. You apply for a plumbing and gas piping permit
Boiler/ Commercial AC Permit. Application for hot water/ steam boilers, radiation for heating systems, and commercial AC
Roofing Permit. Applying for a general permit for siding, roofing, fascia, and blown-in insulation
How to Apply for Building Permits As a Homeowner in Denver, CO
Single-family homeowners in Denver can alternatively apply for residential permits without contractors. However, before you decide to do this yourself, check out this short guide on eligibility and requirements.
Eligibility for Permits As a Homeowner
The permit must be for a single-family home and may include your garage. However, you can obtain a license for work in Accessory Dwelling Units, duplexes, condos, or townhouses, even if you live in a single unit out of many.
- You must be a resident and a legal owner. Moreover, you must produce a photo ID matching the assessor’s database to prove property ownership. Unfortunately, permits cannot be issued to corporations, trusts, and LLCs, among others.
- You must pass an exam before doing plumbing, electrical, mechanical, or HVAC work. Fortunately, you can use a state license to substitute the plumbing or electrical exam. No exam is required for roofing/siding or construction.
- You must reside (with proofs) in the home for at least 12 months after completing the work.
- As a homeowner, you can only receive a permit to construct a new single-family home once every five years. The rule does not apply to additions or renovations in existing single-family homes.
- A homeowner is responsible for ensuring the project is completed by all relevant building and zoning codes.
Are you eligible to apply for your independent permit in Denver, Colorado?
Most homeowners want to retain control over their remodeling and construction projects as their general contractors. While it shows a sign of independence, hiring a general contractor with experience helps avoid specific regretful scenarios. In addition, a licensed, experienced general contractor knows every corner of the industry and enables you to achieve the best at an extra cost.
However, if you meet the above eligibility requirements, nothing should stop you from applying for an independent building permit. You can apply for a general residential building permit and hire certified subcontractors, each of whom should present their trade-specific permits.
To apply, you will need;
- A signed “notice of requirements for owner-occupier permit” form
- A written letter (not a text message) requests to act in a general contractor’s capacity. The letter should include the property address and the name(s) of the property owner(s). It should also state your intent to reside in the building for at least one year after completing the project. Moreover, the letter should contain a statement that you will hire certified Denver contractors to do any task you are not performing yourself.
- You will also need a valid Colorado photo ID or driver’s license matching the property owner’s name listed in the Denver Assessor’s database.
- An application and construction drawing.
Applying for a Building Permit
To obtain your building permit, apply to the Denver city and county to be reviewed by the Building Department and various agencies within the Denver Development Services. For a single project, coordination needs knowledge and diligence to ensure all applications are filled out correctly and submitted within a timely fashion.
The length and complexity of the review process depending on the project type. In addition, the Building Department carries out two types of reviews before issuing an approval;
Construction projects in commercial and residential areas that need a logged-in review are usually higher in dollar valuations. The projects also have proposed work deemed complex to be reviewed within half an hour or less, in-person. You may have to hand over your building plans to the Building Department or different agencies for review and collaborate with the reviewers’ overtime to gain approval.
Suppose a construction project is less complex and involves legal usage or occupancy, such as business office, retail space, or plain residential work. Then the project may be appropriate for over-the-counter same-day walk-through review. It is only applicable to projects valued under $500,000 and with limited work complexity. However, it can lead to a Denver building permit being issued in a shorter period.
Factors determining which review you get depend on your usage or occupancy of the space, proposed construction dollar valuation, and the proposed work complexity.
How Long Does A Building Permit Review Take?
Typically, logged-in permit reviews with Denver’s Building Department may take between two and four weeks. This only applies if your project does not qualify for a walk-through review. On the other hand, applicants should expect a longer waiting time for residential and large-scale commercial projects, usually up to 2-3 months.
When Do You Need A Permit for Home Remodeling in Denver, CO?
We take precautions at Avi’s Remodeling Contractors by having all the necessary permits when remodeling our clients’ homes. In addition, different cities and states require other permits for various home remodeling tasks.
However, most localities, including Denver, will require permits for such remodeling projects;
- Wall demolition or changing layouts
- Building an additional space or garage
- Anything to do with sewer
- Adding fences and decks
- Installing new electrical wiring
- Changing roofline
- Installing a new HVAC system.
Do I Need A Building Permit from Denver’s city hall for each home extension?
The best way to determine (and the fastest) if you need a building permit is to visit the Denver city hall offices or the town’s building department website. You may need to provide more information to your clerk or the department to determine if you need a building permit. The Denver city hall offices are helpful and provide good customer service. However, most people prefer conducting the process online to get an e-permit.
Fortunately, not all construction or remodeling projects require permits, but most do, especially projects involving structural alterations to your property, such as extending a deck or adding a bathroom. Even small projects such as replacing windows or adding in a fence may require permits. However, you are not likely to need a building permit to pave the driveway or paint your house.
How to Apply for a Building Permit (step-by-step)
- Contact the relevant authorities to explain your construction plan so they can help you determine what permits you need
- Fill out any permit applications with all the requirements. They may require additional documents such as insurance or bond forms. It is advisable always to have the entire scope of your project laid out before applying for the permit.
- Some permit applications may require physical appointments.
- Submit the permit fees together with the application. Permit fees vary across cities and counties.
- Once the city hall approves your permit, you will need to keep it displayed at the construction site. You may also need to schedule inspections of the project to ensure you are abiding by the plan, depending on where you live.
Steps for A Commercial Building Permit
- Use DevelopDENVER (https://developdenver.org/) to look up your proposed development site.
- Decide whether you need to submit a Site Development Plan (SDP). The SDP is required for residential construction of three or more units, all new commercial constructions, and significant additions or remodels
- Determine if you will need approvals or reviews from other disciplines such as Forestry, Address Assignment, Right-of-Way, Public Works, Zoning, and Landmark.
- Ensure your project will abide by all local, federal, and state regulations. It may also include having the site inspected for asbestos and lead-based paint before applying for the permit. Find a licensed contractor to perform abatement or remediation work if necessary.
- Assemble every item listed on the Additions, New Buildings, or Change of Occupancy, or Tenant Finish and Remodel forms.
- Determine whether you will (or not) need to log in to your planned review, or you will be able to obtain a commercial or residential permit at the walk-through/ multi-family/ commercial counter.
- Pay the planned review fees based on customer-provided valuations for the project scope, including labor, materials, overhead, and profit.
- Your remodeling project will be assigned a log number. The plan review may include multiple disciplines such as plumbing, fire, transportation, electrical, wastewater, environmental health, or mechanical, depending on your project scope.
- Use your site address or log number to check your building permit application online.
- Before completing the plan review, provide the staff with the license number and name of the contractor to be associated with your project’s building permit. This allows you to receive the license by email upon completing all reviews, and you pay the final permit fees.
The Cost of Getting A Building Permit in Denver, Colorado?
The cost of getting a business permit in Denver varies across businesses and homes. However, the permit fee is calculated using different entries. As such, it may be hard to determine the exact range of the permit fees. However, several factors can potentially result in additional permit fees. These include;
- When there is a change of scope or work in the original project intent that was not done in response to a legal reviewer’s comments
- Reaching the third review cycle and subsequent process after the third review and the applicant has not addressed all comments from the reviewer.
- A comprehensive review can’t be conducted by a specific discipline when the initial submissions’ drawings are incomplete.
- It is advisable not to assume the permit fees. This is because the costs differ across different applicants based on various factors, such as space usage.
However, according to HomeAdvisor, a building permit may range between $424- $2,329. The national average (including Denver, CO) price for a building permit is $1,200. Different states, including Colorado, operate under their guidelines to determine permits and permit fees. Therefore, expect to pay anywhere between $1,200- $2,000 when starting a large-scale building project.
What Happens If You Conduct A Remodel Project Without A Permit?
While some home renovation projects might not require permits, most do. Such include projects that replace component for component, such as tiling, countertops, among others. Additionally, no permit is required for replacing, tearing down, or repairing drywall if limited to less than one 4-foot by 8-foot sheet.
However, what happens when you conduct a remodeling project without a building permit in situations where the permit is mandatory?
A homeowner could be fined.
Remodeling without the necessary building permits puts you in direct violation of regulations and city codes. In addition, you could end up facing penalty charges for not obtaining the permits required for the job. The penalty fee will likely be the initial cost of the license plus any other additional fees.
If you are not finished, you may be asked to stop the work in progress until inspections are done, fines are paid, and permits are issued.
The city’s engineer may ask you to undo the work.
Besides being fined, you may be asked to take down any progress you made if an inspector determines that the changes made are unsafe or is not to code.
Property buyers take over shoddy workmanship.
If you buy a property, you put yourself in a compromising situation if you purchase a property remodeled or constructed without a building permit. The liability transfers to you, and you end up losing your investment in case the authority disbands the property.
Lenders may not approve a home loan.
Lenders are entitled not to loan out money for parts that were remodeled without a permit. As such, the lenders inform appraisers not to include these areas as parts of the home’s overall square footage.
A seller may have trouble selling.
Potential home & business buyers are always looking for discrepancies and omissions that may negatively impact their investments. However, even if you find a buyer, the chances of the buyer lowballing you are extreme.
Licensed Home Remodeling General Contractors
Avi’s Remodeling Contractors is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured remodeling company operating in Denver, Colorado. We are a fully certified remodeling company with all the necessary building permits to carry out full or partial home renovation and construction projects.
Are you looking for a legitimate remodeling company in Colorado County, Texas? It is essential to use due diligence when hiring a remodeling company. When interviewing potential candidates, always ask for proof of building permits.
The benefit of hiring a reputable remodeling company is you may not need to through the hassle and stress of acquiring building permits.
Why Avi’s Remodeling Contractors?
Our company is properly licensed with the correct permits, proving that we run a legitimate business. We are licensed to remodel any parts of the house. Moreover, we are also insured and bonded. We take liability away from your shoulders in the event of worksite damage. We have resourceful contacts that allow us to get building permits in the shortest time possible.
Here is a partial list of the remodeling/ renovations that we have permits to carry out;
- Major bathroom, basements, and kitchen renovations
- Cutting holes via new doors and windows
- Installing in-ground swimming pools
- Replacement of the siding/roof
- Changes to load-bearing balconies, walls, and porches
- Footprint/ foundation changes (adding a new garage, deck, or rooms)
- Removing existing or installing new plumbing or electrical service
- Cutting holes for new doors and windows.
Final building inspection. Once all building permits are finished, a final inspection of the project may come in handy, depending on the extent of the project. In most instances, a permit is accompanied by professional inspections for quality control and compliance with regulations.
Our renovation experts also have trade-specific permits. We are an inclusive company with licensed experts in different fields for an all-inclusive remodeling project.
In a nutshell, our building permits include but not limited to;
- Commercial building permit
- Residential construction permit
- Mechanical permit
- Electrical permit
- Plumbing permit
- Roofing permit
- Boiler or commercial AC permit
Talk to us to find out if we can present the permit for you before beginning the remodeling project. Avi’s Remodeling mission is to make the remodeling process exciting and easy for you. We have some of the best specialists who help us acquire building permits locally. As such, we get our building permits faster than the average individual or company, allowing us to start working on your project as soon as possible.
We are the go-to guys for an expedited remodeling process in Colorado. Are you worried that a building permit is going to hold you back? Call our experts at Avi’s Remodeling Contractors and let us take away the stress from you. Avi’s Remodeling customer service reps are always on call to answer your questions and concerns.