Basement Finish Project Guide

This guide is intended to provide you with an overview of the permitting process for finishing the basement in your house.

NOTE: If your attic conversion will add a dwelling unit or change the use or occupancy of the structure, see the project guide for a adding a new dwelling unit.

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

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.

If your basement remodel will affect the windows or exterior of a landmark or historic district property, the project must go through the design review process.

 

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.

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/Homeowner’s Exam 
  2. Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness – if the project involves replacing the windows or altering the exterior of the structure and is in a designated historic district or landmark property

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

  1. #1R Building Permit (PDF) (Residential Same Day Review)
    You will need: 
    - 3 sets of plans (Records, Contractor, Assessor)
    - Stamped letter of structural integrity
    - Floor plan with dimensions and all rooms and egress windows labeled
  2. #3 Electrical Permit (PDF) (Quick Permit) 
  3. #4 Plumbing Permit (PDF) (Quick Permit)
  4. #11 Forced-Air Furnaces, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and Gas Piping Permit (PDF) (Quick Permit)

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

Estimate Fees
Zoning and 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.

Pay Fees
Fees can be paid in person at our office 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 a 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 basement finish include the following:

  • 2nd Story Attachment, Basement structural floor
  • Rough utilities (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing)
  • Frame
  • Exterior Lath
  • Batt Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Pressure Test
  • Final utilities (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing)
  • Final Inspection

 

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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