Owners of single-family homes in Denver have the option of applying for residential permits without a contractor. Homeowners will need to demonstrate proficiency by passing an exam for electrical, plumbing, mechanical, or HVAC (heating, ventilation, or air conditioning) work. A state license may substitute for electrical or plumbing exams.
No exam is needed for general construction, roofing, or siding.
Exams are offered in person at the Contractor Licensing counter. You do not need an appointment to take a homeowner's exam. Exams are free.
Taking the exam
To take the exam, you must be the legal owner and resident of the property. Please bring:
- A photo I.D. matching the Assessor’s database, or
- The deed listing you as an owner of the property.
No other forms of ownership will be accepted. Copies of your deed may be available from the Denver Clerk and Recorder for a small fee.
- The exam is currently only available in English.
- Taking or using notes is prohibited.
- Code books are provided for your use on a first-come, first-serve basis. You may bring your own code books or instructional books; however, they may be rejected if they contain notes or other inappropriate material.
- Any contact with individuals outside of the test area is prohibited during the exam, including cell phones, radios, and pagers.
- If you need to leave the test area for any reason, you must return all test materials immediately.
- Anyone who fails an exam may retake it after waiting 30 minutes.
Using a "designated worker"
Homeowners may use the assistance of a designated worker to help complete the work and to take the exam. The designated worker cannot accept payment for services rendered and must be identified on the permit. To assist with the test, the designated worker must bring a current Colorado photo I.D. or driver’s license. A temporary Colorado driver’s license, other form of state-issued photo I.D., passport, or Green Card may also be accepted.
Eligibility for a Homeowner's Permit
Before taking a homeowner's exam, please review the criteria below to make sure you are eligible to obtain a homeowner's permit in Denver.
- The permit(s) must be for a single-family home or garage. A homeowner cannot obtain a permit for work in accessory dwelling units (ADUs), townhomes, condos or duplexes, even for the unit where you live.
- You must occupy the home for at least one year after work is complete.
- You must be the legal owner and resident of the home. Homeowner permits cannot be issued to trusts, LLCs, or corporations.
- The person applying for the permit must be the same person who passed the exam and who will perform the work. In performing the work, the homeowner may use the help of a designated worker, who is also listed on the permit and who is not paid for their services.
- Homeowners can only receive a permit to construct a new single-family home once every five years. This does not apply to renovations or additions in existing single-family homes.
- You are responsible for ensuring work is completed in accordance with all relevant zoning and building codes.