Project Guide for Addition of Habitable Space

This guide is intended to provide you with an overview of the permitting process for additions to your house in the form of living space.  A structure that is considered "habitable" or "conditioned" living space must have a 36 inch foundation, be heated, and contain insulation within the walls.

See the Project guide for enclosed patios for guidelines for accessory structures that do not require a full depth foundation, heating or insulation.

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 property is in a local historic landmark district or is a designated landmark structure, the Landmark Preservation staff must complete a design review of your project before you begin. Use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right to determine your property’s landmark status. Changes to the exterior of landmarked properties require approval from Landmark Preservation prior to the issuance of appropriate zoning, building, curb cut, or revocable permits.   Visit the design review web page for more information.


Zoning

Zoning establishes standards for things like 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 Denver's Zoning Ordinance. Use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right to determine the zoning for your property. Once you've found how your property is zoned, you should look up your zone district in the Denver Zoning Code to see what that means for you.




Parkways

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, use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right to determine your status.



Denver Forestry

If any portion of your project has the potential to impact the trunk, canopy or roots of the street trees around your property you must first contact  Denver Forestry  by email or by phone at 720-913-0651  to evaluate your project.  Any removal, trimming or planting of trees within the public right of way must be permitted through the City Forester’s Office.  Damages to street trees may result in the issuance of administrative citations and/or fines.  Visit the Denver Forestry web page for additional information.

 

Building Code

Denver Building Code provides minimum standards for building in order to safeguard public safety, health and welfare.



Location of Utilities

When designing your project, you need to know where utilities are located. You cannot build over existing utilities. Contact the Utility Notification Center of Colorado to mark underground utilities for your project. Call 1-800-922-1987 or 811 before you dig.  

 

Location of Existing Sewer Lines

A plumbing contractor can help you locate the sewer lines on your property. 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. Contact the Department of Public Works at 303-446-3759 for more details.



Transportation

Transportation review and approval is needed whenever you are changing the location of your driveway or proposing any improvements within the Right-of-Way (ROW) such as changing the curb cut.  All projects performed in the City Right-of-Way must be performed in full compliance with the City Charter, Ordinances, permitting processes and all other applicable standards, specifications and requirements of the City and County of Denver.

  • Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness  - required If location is within a Landmark district or in a designated landmark structure
  • Zoning Permit
  • #1R Construction Permit
  • #11 Forced-Air Furnaces, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and Gas Piping Permit
  • #4 Plumbing Permit
  • #3 Electrical Permit
  • #2 Roofing Permit
  • Wastewater Sewer Usage and Drainage Permit (SUDP) - required for all new foundations 
  • Parkways review - required if construction occurs in a parkway setback
  • Denver Forestry Approval - required if project will impact the canopy or roots of street trees
  • Transportation approval - required if there are proposed improvements in the Right-of-Way associated with this addition or if there is a new or modified driveway connection to the street associated with the addition
  • Right-of-Way Permits - required for all proposed work within the ROW.
    ROW improvements must be performed by a licensed contractor.

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 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:

    • Site Plan with base plane information for height and bulk
    • Elevation plans with base plane information for height and bulk

NOTE:  An Improvement Location Certificate can be used in place of a site plan in most cases.

 

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.  
  • #11 Forced-Air Furnaces, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and Gas Piping Permit (PDF)
  • #4 Plumbing Permit (PDF)
  • #3 Electrical Permit (PDF)
  • #2 Roofing Permit (PDF)
  • #1R Construction Permit - to be completed by Development Services staff

 

For Right-of-Way Permits:

  • Include in the site plan:
  • Existing and proposed driveways, incluidng dimensions
  • Any proposed improevments in the Right-of-Way Survey


For Sewer Usage 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:

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.

ROW permit fees are based on the amount of work constructed and the amount of time they are occupying the ROW.   

There are no fees for Transportation, Parkways or Landmark review.

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.

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:

Plan Review - All other projects for adding additional habitable space

Submit all construction documents to at the Permit Service Counter for review by City staff. Once review has been completed and all documents approved, permits will be issued.


Adjacent Property Owner Notification:

Where the project requires any type of demolition or excavation, builder must verify notification of all adjacent property owners by providing the City either the return receipt of certified mail delivery, or the signed receipt of personal notification.

Please note that  a permit will not be issued until 10 working days has passed since the adjacent property owner notification was made.



Right-of-Way Permits:

The contractor can obtain the ROW permits at Public Works Permit Operations at 2000 West 3rd Ave or directly from the ROW inspector at (303) 446-3469.



For Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP):

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.

NOTE:  All documents can be submitted in person or online through the ePlan.

 

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.

 

For Transportation:

If a Transportation review is needed, the review is done concurrently with the Zoning and Building Review.

 


For Denver Forestry:

Contact Denver Forestry by email or by phone at 720-913-0651 if project will impact the canopy or roots of street trees.  Allow about 3 to 5 business working days for inspections and approval.

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

 

Typical inspections during construction of habitable space include the following: 

  • 2nd story attachment, basement structural floor
  • Pre construction meeting
  • UFER
  • Footing
  • Foundation wall
  • Foundation perimeter drain
  • Waterproofing
  • Frost Wall Insulation
  • Underground Utilities (Electrical)
  • Exterior Sheathing
  • Rough utilities (Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing)
  • Frame
  • Roofing 
  • Exterior Lath
  • Batt Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Blown insulation
  • Pressure Test
  • Final Utility (Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing)
  • Final construction inspection
  • ROW - Construction Engineering will inspect work performed int he ROW and check to see if ROW infrastructure was damaged during construction.
  • Denver Forestry

 

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

 

  • Please be aware that an ROW inspector may require the replacement of any damaged infrastructure (i.e. sidewalk and curb and gutter) in the ROW adjacent to your site.
  • Section 49-551.1 of the Denver Municipal Code states that the property owner or lessee of any real property is responsible for the continuing care, maintenance, repair, and replacement of all improvements installed in the public ROW between the property line and the curb line adjoining their property. 
  • Please take care not to damage the ROW infrastructure during the construction.

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

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