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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
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 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.
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 DevelopDENVER tool at right. Look under “Designated Parkways” on the results panel on the left. If a specific parkway appears, click on the “Details” button for information on setbacks.
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.
For Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness:
If your property is historically designated or located in a historic district, you will need a design review of your project to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness. Visit the Design Review web page for more information.
For Zoning Permit:
A scaled or fully dimensioned Site Plan showing the following:
Base Plane Information: Original grade spot elevations at intersection of side property lines at front setback and spot grade elevations at rear corners of property if within 2 feet of bulk plane and / or height.
Simple Project - One story, more than 5' away from property lines - only need site plan
Medium Project - Exactly 5' from property line and height within 2 ' of the bulk plane - need Site Plan and Elevation Plans with base plane information for height and bulk
High Project - Less than 5' to property line and/or the peak is perpendicular to the side property line - need the following:
NOTE: An Improvement Location Certificate can be used in place of a site plan in most cases.
For Building Permits:
For Wastewater Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP):
Wastewater does require sewer replacement with approved material for any structure being built over or within 2' of the existing sewer line.
Wastewater does require that historic storm drainage be maintained and not directed to adjacent properties or across public sidewalks.
If property is in a floodplain, additional submittal requirements apply.
For additional information, see the following:
Single Family & Duplex (2-unit) Sewer Use and Drainage Permits
Single family & duplex (2-unit) sewer use and drainage permits
For a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Project:
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.
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.
There are no fees for Transportation, Parkways or Landmark review.
Wellington Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor
Denver, Colorado 80202
For Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness:
Submit a design review application to Landmark Preservation. The approval typically takes one to three weeks. More complex projects or projects requiring Landmark Preservation Commission or Lower Downtown Design Review Board approval will take longer.
NOTE: Obtain Landmark approval first before proceeding with other permits.
For Zoning and Building Permits:
Same Day Review - Present all construction documents at the Permit Service Counter for review by City staff. Once review has been completed and all documents approved, permits will be issued.
For Parkways Review:
Plan Review - If Parkways review is required, submit all construction documents at the Permit Service Counter for review by City staff. Once review has been completed and all documents approved, permits will be issued. The review process can take up to 30 days depending upon the complexity of your project.
Same Day Review if the additional space does not change the use (e.g., Single Family Residence to Duplex)
Plan review for all change of use and or work in a floodplain
All approved construction set of documents, permits and inspector signature card are to be available on site upon request.
Typical inspections during construction of attached accessory structures not enclosed include:
NOTE: The inspections listed above may vary depending on the complexity of your project.
Decide whether you plan to complete the project yourself or hire a licensed contractor to complete the job for you.
Do It Yourself
You 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.
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.
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.