Project Guide for Interior Remodel - New Dwelling Unit

This guide is intended to provide you an overview of the permitting process for an interior remodel that will add a new dwelling unit, and therefore convert the use and/or occupancy of the structure, without altering its exterior. For additional information on the process and necessary documentation, read the building permit policy (PDF) for change of occupancy/use and procedures for obtaining a new certificate of occupancy.
 
NOTE: For Change of use/occupancy conversions that do alter the exterior of the structure, see Building/Expanding a Home.

 

Help Me Get Started . . .

Before you start your project, you need to know what regulations apply to your property and what factors may impact your project. You'll need to consider:

Historic Landmark Status
If your interior remodel will involve changing or replacing the windows of a landmark or historic district property, the project must go through the design review process.

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, use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right. Then, visit the Design Review web page for more information.

 

Zoning 

Zoning establishes standards for things such as the size and location of structures and acceptable uses for your property. Before you begin construction, you need to be sure your project is in compliance with the Denver Zoning Code. Use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right to determine the zoning for your property. In the results, click on your zone district for descriptions and definitions; then, click on your neighborhood context for more information on zoning in your area.

If you are changing the use of your home or adding a dwelling or living unit, you will need a zoning permit.

 

Building Code

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 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.

 

Listed in the order they must be obtained. All permits must be in hand and at site before work may begin.

  1. Current City of Denver Contractor’s License or Affidavit of Requirements for Owner-Occupier Permits (see Issuance of Owner-Occupier Permits (PDF) for more information)
  2. Zoning Use Permit (PDF) (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:

  1. Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness – if project involves replacing the windows and is in a designated historic district or landmark property. Visit the Design Review web page for more information. 

The above must be in hand before you apply for the following:

  1. Zoning Review (Commercial Zoning)*
  2. Wastewater Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP) - if you will be digging within 2 feet of sewer lines
  3. #1R Building Permit (Plan Review)* 
    *For a complete list of required documentation for zoning and plan review, please download the checklist (PDF) for new construction, addition or change of occupancy work.
    Sample site plans: interior lot (PDF), corner lot (PDF). Bulk plane example (PDF).
  4.  #3 Electrical (PDF) (Quick permit) - required for new or relocated electrical outlets or light fixtures
  5. #4 Plumbing (PDF) (Quick permit) - required for new or relocated plumbing fixtures
  6. #11 Forced-Air Furnaces, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and Gas Piping Permit (PDF) (Quick Permit) - required for new ductwork

Sign in online or at the kiosk once for Zoning Permit (Commercial Zoning).
#3, #4 and #11 permits may be downloaded and filled out before they are submitted and applied for on the same day. 
Sign in online or at the kiosk once for #1R (Plan Review) and once for all Quick Permits.

Estimate Fees
Building permit fees are based on valuation of the work to be completed including the labor and materials.  View the permit fee schedules to estimate the fees required for your project. There is no fee for the Landmark review.

NOTE: When Same Day Review is required for the #1R permit, a "walk through" fee of $100 may be charged in addition to the bulding permit fees, depending on the valuation of the project.

Pay Fees
Fees can be paid in person at our cashier on the 2nd floor of the Wellington Webb Building. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card, cash and personal checks at our counter.

To pay by mail, send check to:
Development Services
Wellington Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor
Denver, Colorado 80202
All approved construction set of documents, permits and inspector signature card are to be available on site upon request.

Typical inspections for interior remodel projects incude the following:

  • Rough utilities (Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing )
  • Framing
  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Groundwork (Plumbing)
  • Pressure Test
  • Final Utilities (Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing)

 

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.

Who Will Be Doing the Work?

Decide whether you plan to complete the project yourself or hire a licensed contractor to complete the job for you.

Do It Yourself

Do-It-YourselfYou may need to pass a Home owners exam  to demonstrate proficiency in specific trades in order to get a permit to do the work yourself. 

You will also need to meet a set of requirements established by the Denver Building Code and the Building Department Policy ADMIN 131.3 governing homeowner completed work.  This policy can be found on our Building Codes, Forms and Policies page. 

Contractor

Contractors Use the Contractor license search to see if your contractor has obtained a contractor's license from the City and County of Denver. 

 

To view other considerations, see our Doing the Work Yourself page.

Home Projects

Every project is different.  Depending upon the complexity of your project, the permit requirements and inspection process may vary from the information presented in this guide.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

DevelopDENVER

What you need to know for your project!

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