Building and Fire Code

Building Codes, Policies and Guides 

The Denver Building and Fire Code establishes the minimum, mandatory standards for building construction in Denver. Denver's code is based on international standards for safe, habitable structures.


Denver has adopted the 2021 ICC (International Code Council) codes listed below. You are responsible for ensuring that your project complies with ICC codes as well as Denver's amendments to the ICC codes, which are located in the Denver Building and Fire Code.

The links below will take you to an external site hosted by the ICC.

  • International Building Code (IBC): 2018 | 2021
  • International Existing Building Code (IEBC): 2018 | 2021
  • International Plumbing Code (IPC): 2018 | 2021
  • International Mechanical Code (IMC): 2018 | 2021
  • International Residential Code (IRC): 2018 | 2021
  • International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC): 2018 | 2021
  • International Fire Code (IFC): 2018 | 2021
  • International Energy Conservation Code (IECC): 2018 | 2021

Denver also abides by the 2023 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), which is adopted at the state level.

Building code policies

The policies listed below clarify existing codes and detail how to handle certain situations that are not clearly addressed within current codes.

Referenced 2022 Code Section Description Last updated
ADMIN 103.10(PDF, 138KB) Transition Rules 1/12/23
ADMIN 120A(PDF, 209KB) Classifications of Licenses, Registrations and Certificates
2/22/23
ADMIN 120B(PDF, 102KB)
Small Cooler and Freezer Room Contractors and Permits
2/22/23
ADMIN 130.2B(PDF, 169KB) Independent Third Party Roofing Inspection
3/14/23
ADMIN 131A(PDF, 222KB) Permit Application and Issuance
3/4/24
ADMIN 131B(PDF, 1MB) Prep Demo and Early Start Permits
2/7/24
ADMIN 132B(PDF, 113KB)
Temporary Stage, Platform, Bleacher and Event Structures
2/22/23
ADMIN 133(PDF, 140KB) Electrical Plan Review Requirements 3/1/23
ADMIN 133.4 & 135(PDF, 184KB)
Deferred Submittal and Phased Construction Permits
2/22/23
ADMIN 134(PDF, 121KB)
Building Permit Application Requirements for Temporary Buildings
2/22/23
ADMIN 134B(PDF, 507KB)
Temporary Sales Office Within a Model Home
3/1/23
ADMIN 134C(PDF, 161KB)
Temporary Emergency Residential Shelters
2/22/23
ADMIN 134D(PDF, 152KB)
Temporary Daycare Occupancies
2/22/23
ADMIN 134E(PDF, 141KB) Small Temporary Emergency Shelters
3/3/24
ADMIN 138(PDF, 162KB) Permit and Inspection Fees
5/21/24
ADMIN 140.4(PDF, 116KB)
Home Inspections Containing Weyerhaeuser Flak Jacket TJI Joists
2/22/23
ADMIN 142(PDF, 125KB) Change of Occupancy and/or Change in Use in an Existing Building Procedure for Obtaining a New Certificate of Occupancy
8/1/23
ADMIN 142A(PDF, 119KB)
Temporary Occupancies Within Existing Buildings
2/22/23
IBC 1704.2.1(PDF, 175KB) Firestop Special Inspections and Licensure
4/1/24
DCBC 302.1(PDF, 152KB) Occupancy Classifications for Marijuana Uses
2/7/24
DCBC 603.1(PDF, 114KB)
Limited Combustible Pedestals on Roofs of Type I and II Buildings
2/22/23
DCBC 708.9(PDF, 109KB)
Gas-Fired Heating Systems in Small Existing R-1 & R-2 Occupancies
3/1/23
DCBC 1004.5(PDF, 353KB) Calculating Business Office Occupant Load
2/22/23
DCBC 1010(PDF, 124KB)
Locking and Securing of Egress Doors
2/22/23
DCBC 1507.18(PDF, 196KB)
Use of Foam Plastics with Reinforced Rubberized Asphalt Roofing
2/22/23
DCBC APPX H(PDF, 108KB)
Permitting Procedures for Electric and Neon Signs
3/1/23
DEC Residential Requirements(PDF, 363KB)
Energy Code Requirements for Residential Projects
1/23/24
DEC C101.5.1, C103.2, C202, C402.5.1.5, & C408.2(PDF, 149KB)
Commissioning Submittal Requirements for Commercial Energy Provisions
12/5/23
DEC C401.2(PDF, 143KB) COMCHECK Interim Submittal Requirements  
5/1/23
DEC R401.2(PDF, 286KB)
RESCHECK Interim Submittal Requirements
5/1/23
DEC C401.2.1 & DGC 101.4.1(PDF, 202KB)
DEC and DGC Compliance for Core and Shell and Tenant Finish 4/24/24
DEC C401.2.1(1) & 401.2.1(2)(PDF, 221KB) DEC Compliance for Campus Approach 2/7/24
DEC C402.2.1.1 & 402.2.1.2(PDF, 310KB) DEC Compliance for Tapered Insulation
2/6/24
DEC R404.4, R404.5, & R404.6(PDF, 186KB)
Residential Electric Infrastructure Requirements
7/13/23
DEC C405(PDF, 105KB)
Lighting Requirements and Residential Metering
3/1/23
DMC 506 507 & 508(PDF, 125KB)
IMC Kitchen Hood Exhaust System Submittal Requirements
2/28/23
DMC 507(PDF, 150KB) Kitchen Hoods and Ventilation Requirements for All Occupancies Except R3 and Individual Units of R1 and R2 Occupancies
3/1/23
DPC Chapters 13 & 14(PDF, 207KB)
Graywater Treatment Works Systems
3/1/23
DRC R302.1(PDF, 268KB)
Exterior Wall Requirements for DRC Buildings
3/13/24
DRC R302.2(PDF, 368KB)
Extending Stories in DRC Townhouses
3/12/24
DRC R324 - 2023 NEC(PDF, 216KB)
Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy System Permits
8/14/23
NEC 590(PDF, 142KB)
Temporary Power Generation
3/1/23
NEC 590.4(PDF, 134KB)
Cable Installation for Temporary Special Events
3/1/23
NEC 690 - 2023 NEC(PDF, 223KB)
Commercial Solar Photovoltaic PV Energy Systems Permits
3/1/23

 

Building code policies for the 2019 code are available for download below:

Referenced 2019 Code Section Description Last updated
ADMIN 130, 131, & IBC 3307(PDF, 456KB)   Residential Excavation and Shoring 11/12/21
ADMIN 131B(PDF, 709KB) Alternative Permitting for Expedited Construction 2/8/21
ADMIN 131.5(PDF, 333KB) Plan Review and Permit Cancellation  3/9/21
ADMIN 133B(PDF, 397KB) Submittal Requirements for Residential Projects that Include Structural Work 3/2/20
IECC and IMC Clarification(PDF, 130KB) IECC, IMC Clarification on R-2 Ventilation Requirements 1/15/20
IRC R324 - 2020 NEC(PDF, 311KB)
Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy System Permits
5/17/22
IRC 401.4(PDF, 109KB) IRC Geotechnical Investigation Reports 12/28/20
NEC 690 - 2020 NEC(PDF, 223KB) Commercial Solar Photovoltaic PV Energy Systems Permits
3/1/23

Building guides

The following guides are available for download in PDF format:

Commercial Building Permit Guide(PDF, 612KB) UPDATED FEB 2024. Guideline of requirements for commercial projects, information on related permits, and collection of required forms.
Electronic Signatures Guide(PDF, 1023KB) A how-to guide with screenshots for creating a valid electronic signature using Adobe Acrobat or BlueBeam Revu. (All building plans submitted to CPD electronically must include a valid electronic signature.)
Commercial Permitting Presentation 

Presentation and panel discussion from December 9, 2020. 

YouTube recordingSlide deck(PDF, 9MB)
Energy Code Checklists and Fact Sheets

View checklists and fact sheets

Denver Modeling Rules and Procedures(PDF, 1MB)  
Denver Green Code  View checklists
Expanded Prep Demo Overview Permit path enabling an expedited construction start for certain commercial tenant-finish projects.
Administrative Modification Request(PDF, 234KB) UPDATED MAY 2023. Application information and supplemental guidelines.
Master/TA guide for production homebuilders(PDF, 651KB) UPDATED OCTOBER 2020. Submittal instructions and checklists for Master plan and Type-Approved (TA) single-family homes, duplexes, and townhomes built under the International Residential Code (IRC).
Residential Permitting Guide(PDF, 2MB) UPDATED JULY 2020. Additional project guides for specific types of work in single-family homes and duplexes are available on the Inside the HomeOutside the HomeBuilding/Expanding a Home, and Homeowner Permits webpages.
Manufactured Homes Checklist(PDF, 173KB) UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2022. This guide outlines the minimum submittal requirements for each one- and two- family manufactured house submittal.
Slide Deck: Navigating Residential Permitting(PDF, 7MB) Presentation from February 2022. Navigating the permitting process for Single-Family and Duplex projects.
DEH Plan Review Application(PDF, 570KB) UPDATED DECEMBER 2019. This application is used to conduct an Environmental Health and building permit review of proposed new and extensively remodeled retail food establishments/commercial kitchens, marijuana-infused product (MIP) kitchens, and marijuana dispensaries.
Solar PV and Solar Hot Water Panels
Visit the online guide for Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Hot Water Panels.
Restaurant Guide Visit the online guide for Restaurant Permits.
Concept Phase Visit the online guide for the Concept Development Phase.
Formal Site Plan and Plan Amendments Visit the online guide for the Formal Site Development Plan Phase and Plan Amendments.
Final Recordation of a Site Development Plan View a brief overview of the Final Recordation of a Site Development Plan.
Modifications to Site Development Plans Learn how to make minor modifications to approved and recorded Site Development Plans.
Pool Permitting Guide Visit the online guide for residential and commercial pools, spas and water features.
PUD/PBG Site Plan Rules and Regulations(PDF, 4MB) The process and requirements for site plan review of Planned Unit Developments/Planned Building Groups.
Total Demolition Guide Visit the online guide for step-by step procedures for demolition of residential and commercial structures.

The Denver Green Code

First adopted in 2019, the Denver Green Code is based on the International Green Construction Code. Starting in May 2023, the city will begin requiring commercial and multifamily development to meet some provisions from this code, while allowing projects the flexibility to choose which specific provisions to implement. 

Learn about the Denver Green Code

Energy Code Checklists

Working hand in hand with the Denver community, the city has defined and adopted bold climate goals. Adoption of more stringent building codes to achieve higher building performance is integral to attaining these goals. CPD's energy code checklists are designed to support project teams in navigating complexities of the energy code, and succeeding in delivering projects that support our community’s expressed priorities.

2019 Checklists

A commercial checklist is required for all commercial and multi-family residential construction projects. Projects using the Performance Path are required to use the two files for the energy modeling report.

A residential checklist is required for:

  • New one- and two-family dwellings
  • Additions and alterations to one- and two-family dwellings with an increase or work area over 20% of the existing above grade gross floor area, or 300 S.F., whichever is less
  • New IRC townhouses
  • New R-3 and R-4 occupancy buildings 3 stories or less above grade plane. 

Download the appropriate checklist based on your project type:

Commercial IECC Prescriptive Checklist(XLSX, 153KB)
Commercial IECC Performance Checklist(XLSX, 147KB)
Commercial ASHRAE Prescriptive Checklist(XLSX, 151KB)
Commercial ASHRAE Performance Checklist(XLSX, 143KB)
Commercial Energy Code Modeling Report(PDF, 312KB)

Residential IECC Prescriptive Checklist(XLSX, 82KB)
Residential IECC Performance Checklist(XLSX, 78KB)
Residential ERI Checklist(XLSX, 78KB)


Learn how to fill out and submit the correct IECC checklist:

Commercial checklist webinar (opens in YouTube), View slide deck(PDF, 5MB)
Residential checklist webinar (opens in YouTube), View slide deck(PDF, 4MB)

2022 Checklists

A commercial checklist is required for all commercial and multi-family residential construction projects 10,000 sf or larger. Projects using the Performance Path are required to use the two files for the energy modeling report.

A residential checklist is required for:

  • New one- and two-family dwellings
  • Additions and alterations to one- and two-family dwellings with an increase or work area over 20% of the existing above grade gross floor area, or 300 S.F., whichever is less
  • New IRC or IBC townhouses
  • New R-3 and R-4 occupancy buildings 3 stories or less above grade plane. 

Download the appropriate checklist based on your project type:

Commercial Denver Energy Code Prescriptive Checklist(XLSX, 4MB)
Commercial Denver Energy Code Performance Checklist(XLSX, 910KB)
90.1 Appendix G Compliance Form
Denver Energy Code Companion Tool(XLSM, 4MB)
Denver Modeling Rules and Procedures(PDF, 1MB)

Please choose the file type that you prefer to work in for the following residential checklists:

Residential Denver Energy Code Prescriptive Checklist(DOCX, 101KB)
Residential Denver Energy Code Total Building Performance Checklist(DOCX, 88KB)
Residential Denver Energy Code Energy Rating Index Checklist(DOCX, 89KB)

OR

Residential Denver Energy Code Prescriptive Checklist(XLSX, 64KB)
Residential Denver Energy Code Total Building Performance Checklist(XLSX, 58KB)
Residential Denver Energy Code Energy Rating Index Checklist(XLSX, 58KB)  


Learn how to fill out and submit the correct IECC checklist:

Commercial checklist webinar (opens in YouTube)
Residential checklist webinar (opens in YouTube)


Fact sheets for commercial projects:

Appendix PT: Performance Target(PDF, 207KB)
Appendix SE: Site-Energy(PDF, 181KB)
Electric Ready(PDF, 175KB)
Solar Ready(PDF, 172KB)
Electrification for Service Water Heating(PDF, 178KB)
EV Supply Equipment(PDF, 156KB)
Electrification for Space Heating(PDF, 178KB)
C406: Prescriptive Pathway(PDF, 698KB)
C407 Performance Pathway(PDF, 142KB)
Partial Electrification for Alterations(PDF, 441KB)


Fact sheets for residential projects:

Compliance Pathway Options(PDF, 156KB)
Electric Ready Requirements(PDF, 151KB)
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Requirements(PDF, 151KB)
Energy Rating Index Option(PDF, 171KB)
Minimum Renewables(PDF, 163KB)
Prescriptive Compliance Option(PDF, 146KB)
Solar Ready Requirements(PDF, 155KB)
Total-Building Performance Option(PDF, 160KB)

Building Code Appeals

To appeal a decision made regarding the building code, you must apply to the Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals is an independent body that reviews:

  • Appeals of administrative decisions
  • New methods or products
  • Plan correction notices
  • Written orders and interpretations of a building code official regarding the building code

Board of Appeals