Project Guide for Sheds and Detached Structures

This guide is intended to provide you an overview of the permitting process for detached accessory structures such as a shed, pergola, gazebo, stand alone deck, pool house, playhouse, cabana, and outdoor fireplace.

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.



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.

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 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.

  • Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness - required if your address is in a Landmark District or if you live in a designated landmark structure
  • Zoning Permit
  • #1R Construction Permit - 
    • Required if you are building a structure that is over 8 feet in height and 120 square feet of projected roof area. 
    • Required if you are building an uncovered deck of any size that is 30 inches or more above grade
  • #2 Roofing Permit
  • #3 Electrical Permit
  •  #11 Forced-Air Furnaces, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and Gas Piping Permit
  • Wastewater Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP)
  • Parkways approval - required if construction occurs in a parkway setback

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:

  • Address
  • Location of all existing buildings (shed, garage, carport, patio, etc.)
  • Location of proposed project
  • Location and size of footprint of all existing and proposed structures in relation to property lines on the lot
  • Property lines and relation to streets and alleys
  • Elevations - depending upon scope of work
  • Primary street setbacks of adjacent properties if proposed project is to be located on the front side of the property
  • 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 needs site plan

Medium Project - Exactly 5' from property line and height within 2 ' of the bulk plane - needs 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 - needs the following:

  1. Site plan with base plane information for height and bulk
  2. Elevation plans with base plane information for height and bulk


For Building Permits:

  • Floor plan with dimensions of each room
  • Foundation Plan including details on construction of the piers
  • Survey - required if construction is within 3 feet of the property line
  • Framing Plan  including size and spacing of post and beams
  • Roof framing
    NOTE:  If you are using roof trusses, keep the truss manufacturing specification on site for access by the building inspector. 
    NOTE:  If you are using dimensional lumber, provide the span, size, and spacing of the lumber.
  • #1R Construction Permit - will be completed by Development Services staff
  • #11 Forced-Air Furnaces, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and Gas Piping Permit (PDF) (with information about number of gas outlets, ductwork, or other mechanical equipment being installed)
  • #3 Electrical Permit (PDF)
  • #2 Roofing Permit (PDF)


 For Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP): 

  • Utility Site Plan that includes the following:
    • Location of structures in reference to property lines
    • Sewer locations
    • Pipe sizes
    • 2-way cleanouts
    • Material for all existing and proposed structures from point of connection to the structure to the main
    • Water line locations with sizes
    • All existing and proposed underground and storm water/sewage drainage.

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 application, guidelines and other specific information, see the following:

Sewer Use and Drainage Permits (SUDP)

For a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Project:

  • Homeowners Exam for specific trade if completing the work yourself  (See DIY Projects for requirements and more information.)
  • Identification (i.e. Driver's License)


Estimate Fees

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 SUDP, there is a $100 application fee plus additional fees may apply.  The fees change yearly. 

View the permit fee schedules to estimate the fees required for your project.

There are no fees for Landmark or Parkways review.

Pay Fees

Fees can be paid in person at our office on the 2nd floor of the Wellington Webb Building or by mail:
Development Services
Wellington Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor
Denver, Colorado 80202
We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card, cash and personal checks at our counter.

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 for building and zoning review. The Parkway review can be done at the same time.  Once review is complete and all approvals have been obtained, permits will be issued.


Quick Permits

Quick Permit for #3 Electrical Permit

Quick Permit for #2 Roofing Permit

Application is reviewed by staff for completeness and permit is issued.


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.


For Wastewater Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP):

 Plan Review


Approved construction set of documents, permits and inspector signature card are to be available on site upon request.


Typical inspections for the construction of detached accessory structures include the following:

  • Footing
  • Exterior Sheathing
  • Exterior Lath
  • Drywall
  • Rough Utilities (Electrical)
  • Frame
  • Roof
  • Final Utilities (Electrical)
  • Final Construction
  • Wastewater inspection for replacement of sewer lines
    • Permit indicates sewer replacement when structure is over the sewer line or within 2 feet of the existing sewer line.
    • You may need to contact a plumbing or sewer contractor to determine if structure is over the sewer line.  The City only has location of the main lines, not the location of the sewer on private property. 


NOTE:  The inspections listed above may vary depending on the complexity of your project. 


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. 


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.


What you need to know for your project!

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View property details including zoning, landmark status, inspector districts and more.