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Change of Use / Tenant Finish / Remodel

Tenant finish and remodel projects include the alteration or reconfiguration of existing commercial or multi-family residential structures. This type of project may occur within or outside of a structure, but does not include the construction of any new structures or the expansion of existing structures.

Tenant finish/remodel projects are often the result of a change in how an existing building space is being used, for example: to accommodate a new business or tenant. Some projects of this type are subject to additional requirements that are identified in the zoning code "change of use" and/or the building code "change of occupancy" requirements. For more on zoning, visit Zoning for Your Project or contact the Zoning Team.

A pre-application/concept review may be required depending on the complexity of your project. Contact the Projects Team for additional Information.

Many commercial projects can apply for both zoning code and building code reviews at the same time.

Preparatory Demolition and Non-structural Framing Permit (“Expanded Prep Demo”)

Start work while building plans are under review


Only tenant-finish projects in the following occupancy groups, according to the International Building Code: (1) Group B, business; (2) Group M, mercantile; and (3) potentially Groups S-1 and S-2, storage, provided the S-1/S-2 project is for tenant improvement (TI) office space only and tenant separation wall only, and the facility has a functioning early suppression/fast response (ESFR) fire suppression (sprinkler) system and fire alarm system.

Exclusions: Projects in landmark or historic structures, containing any type of marijuana use, needing a change of occupancy, or having an occupancy different from those listed above are not eligible. For a first-time occupancy, request approval from Building Official before applying for expanded prep demo.


Limitations on what work can be completed—and how it will be inspected—are outlined in ADMIN policy 131.2. As an overview, expanded prep demo enables...

  • Removal of previously installed interior finishes, non-structural walls, and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire alarm or fire suppression systems 
  • Installation of new, non-structural framing, one side of gypsum board, and the ceiling grid (but not ceiling tiles)
  • Licensed contractors to pull permits for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and fire alarm or suppression work up to the point of the rough inspection, but cannot include new equipment requiring structural modification and cannot connect to an electrical service, switchgear, panels, transformers, etc.


  1. Log in the whole tenant-finish project for a commercial building review. The architect/engineer of record must attest that construction drawings submitted at Log In were 100% complete and fully code compliant. The plans must include fire suppression and alarm system shop drawings if you intend to use the prep demo permit path to work on these systems.
  2. You can do minor exterior work (e.g., storefront) with an approved zoning permit; otherwise, this policy covers interior work only.
  3. Go to the Sewer Use & Drainage Permit (SUDP) counter to get an SUDP or to get approval to begin work without an SUDP.
  4. Once you have SUDP authorization, go to the Commercial Architectural/Structural Walk-through counter to apply for the prep demo permit. You will need • Log number, • contractors’ names and license numbers, • the prep demo application, and • signed affidavits from the architects/engineers of record (originals only, no copies). Find the application and affidavit forms at the end of ADMIN policy 131.2.
  5. Then, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire alarm and fire suppression contractors can pull their appropriate permits.


$100 one-time fee for the expedited prep demo permit at the Commercial Walk-through counter

$100 standard fee for each additional trade-specific permit

This fee structure is based on framing and demolition costs having been included in the plan set submitted to Log In; if they were not, their valuation will be included at the Walk-through counter and the above fees will differ.


The prep demo permit path is predicated on the understanding that building and zoning code review of submitted plans is not complete. Changes may be required to items installed under these expedited permits. The general contractor, owner, developer, and subcontractors may bear the risk of increased costs and delays due to change orders. Denver assumes no responsibility or liability for work completed that requires corrective measures and/or remediation.

Download a printable PDF of the Expanded Prep Demo information.

Partnering for safer building


CO Department of Public Health and Environment Logo    Denver Water logo    US Environmental Protection Agency logo  
Colorado requires an asbestos inspection before remodeling if there might be asbestos-containing materials, and before any demolition work. This inspection determines whether abatement is required. Unsafe removal of asbestos releases microscopic fibers that can cause severe lung disease and cancer when inhaled. To prevent breaks, low-pressure issues, and health risks, replace water service lines that are older than 50 years or that are made of non-copper materials, particularly lead and galvanized pipe. Contact Denver Water Sales Administration to find out if the water lines on your property need to be replaced. The EPA requires firms performing renovation, repair, and painting in homes, childcare facilities and preschools built before 1978 to use an EPA-certified renovator trained to follow specific work practices to prevent contamination from lead-based paint.
Learn more about state asbestos rules and permits. Learn when and how service lines must be replaced. Find certified RRP contractors.  



Need help with building repairs or upgrades?

The organizations and agencies listed below serve Denver area residents who are in need of home modifications and repairs, from installing wheelchair ramps, snow removal and landscaping to minor electrical/plumbing work, energy-efficient upgrades, and more. Follow the links below to contact these groups for resources, advice, and assistance.

  • A Little Help: Connects older adults with volunteer help, skilled services and resources 
  • Brothers Redevelopment, Inc.: Repairs for in-home safety and mobility for low-income, disabled, or elderly citizens
  • Colorado Housing Connects: Bilingual housing/tenant/home repair resources for renters, homeowners, and landlords
  • Denver Home Energy Webpage: Residential energy-efficiency information and resources from Denver Environmental Health
  • Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA): Low-interest loans and grants for single family home rehabilitation and emergency home repair, and supports redevelopment of blighted property through TIF assistance and more
  • Energy Outreach Colorado: Home energy assistance, emergency home furnace repair and home weatherization for low-income Coloradans, seniors, and individuals with special health needs. Also offers grants for non-profit and affordable housing facilities to increase building energy efficiency
  • Home Builders Foundation (HBF) of Metro Denver: Accessibility solutions and home modifications for individuals with disabilities or financial need
  • Rebuilding Together: Repairs, safety modifications and energy efficiency upgrades for qualified homeowners and community centers
  • Seniors’ Resource Center: Helps older adults with minor home repairs and yard clean-up services

Potential Reviews and Permits

The review and permitting process varies according to the size and location of your project. The following is a list of what may be required. A list of the reviews and permits needed for your specific project will be identified upon completion of the pre-application/concept review.