Plan Review, Construction, Systems Testing & Occupancy

Plan Review

Step 1.Plan Review

The City and County of Denver requires that plans and specifications be reviewed by plan review experts prior to approval of building or installation permits. The purpose is to provide safety through ensuring compliance with local ordinances, including the fire code.

Reviews include:

  • Site plans
  • Water plans
  • Building Construction
  • Installation of life-safety systems (fire alarm, fire sprinklers, smoke detection, carbon monoxide detection, smoke control, emergency communications systems, etc.) that are not part of a larger, overall construction project 

The plan review process may involve multiple agencies, Fire Department reviews will be directed to Denver Fire Department when submitted through Development Services

Step 2.Submit Applications for Fire Construction E-Permits

Development Services E-permits

Step 3.Electronic Permit Submittal Guide

Electronic Permit Submittal Guidelines (PDF)

Pre-Application Plan Review 

If you would like to discuss specific issues or design questions about your project with our Plan Review personnel before submitting formal plans contact firecodequestions@denvergov.org.

Systems Testing

Step 1.Obtain Permits and Install Life Safety Systems

After a life-safety system has been installed, inspection personnel from the Fire Prevention unit must conduct an inspection to determine that is has been installed properly and is functional. 
 
Life-safety systems that require testing include:
  • fire alarms
  • fire sprinklers
  • smoke detection and alarms
  • carbon monoxide detection and alarms
  • smoke control
  • public-address systems
  • firefighters emergency communications systems
  • emergency generators
  • fire pumps
  • radio enhancement systems
  • kitchen hood extinguishing systems
  • special extinguishing systems
  • emergency elevator recall
A successful life-safety systems acceptance test usually results in a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy.

Please see our DFD Testing Guide(PDF, 936KB) for additional information. 

Fee Information 

There is no charge for initial acceptance testing. If you need to schedule testing for a time outside normal business hours fees are charged at $80 per hour per assigned inspector (subject to a minimum hourly fee for standby personnel). A fee is also charged for any re-tests and subsequent phases (i.e., in cases when the initial test or subsequent tests determined that the system did not function in accordance with applicable standards). The fee is $300 for the first retest and $500 for each subsequent retest. 

  

PLEASE NOTE: Inspections and fire systems tests scheduled outside of normal business hours cannot be cancelled once they have been scheduled. Inspections and fire systems tests scheduled during normal business hours can only be cancelled up to 24 hours before the test. 

Any cancellations outside of these timeframes will be assessed the applicable fees. All cancelled tests will be rescheduled by contacting your inspector, or sending an email to DFDSystemsTesting@denvergov.org

Both fees can be avoided by a contractor’s diligent preparation (i.e., pre-testing systems) and scheduling of all inspections and testing during normal business hours.

Step 2.Additional Information

Refer to the installation permit for details about timing of and arranging for a post-installation inspection, or contact the Life-Safety Systems Acceptance Testing Group at DFDSystemsTesting@denvergov.org.

 

Occupancy Inspections

Construction contractors must request Fire Department occupancy inspections via Accela Citizen Access. For questions or inquiries please email DFDCOInspections@denvergov.org.

For Fire Department business license inspection requests and general questions please call 720-913-3409.  

 

Modified Drawings

The inspector wouldn’t sign off because I added a device. How do I submit modified drawings? 

  • For changes to a project after permit issuance, modified drawings are required. Modified drawings are submitted as a new project. A new log number is assigned, and a new permit will be issued. All modified drawings should be submitted online via E-Permits.
  • Include each of the following items in your submission of modified drawings:
  • A letter specifically defining what was modified and why, with references to the appropriate plan sheets;
  • The modified sheets with the appropriate electronic signature, seal, and code references, with changes clouded;
  • Where applicable, include one set of modified calculations, specifications, or other pertinent documents with the appropriate signature and seal;
  • A revised statement of valuation form if the modifications result in an increased project valuation. Hourly plan review fees will be assessed. All contractors with changes under modified plans must schedule inspections for these changes. If this does not occur, final inspections and/or Certificate of Occupancy sign-offs may be delayed.

Administrative Modifications

How do I apply for a variance?

  • Administrative modification requests (“admin mods,” “AMs,” “AMRs”) are a way for applicants to request an alternative, but equivalent, means of complying with specific code language. Admin mods are not a vehicle to request relief, a waiver, or noncompliance with the provisions of the code. If granted, an admin mod only applies to the specific instance (project and tenant) for which it was allowed and is not considered a precedent for other projects. As part of the request, the applicant must provide alternative, equivalent designs/measures that meet the intent of the original code language.  Admin mod approvals and denials will be signed and dated, may contain special conditions or deadlines, and will be considered final. To appeal an admin mod decision, file a written application in the office of the Executive Director of Safety located in Room #302 at 1331 Cherokee Street, Denver, CO 80204.
    • The above is based on the following provision: 109.1.1 Application. Prior to any action by the Manager of Safety, an application in writing shall be filed in the office of the Manager within thirty (30) days after receiving the order, decision, or determination made by the fire code official on a form provided by the Manager providing the necessary information required. A copy of such application shall be furnished to the fire code official by the applicant. Payment of the fee established by the Manager of Safety, in the form a check made payable to the Denver Manager of Finance, must accompany the application.    
  • Please review Denver’s Administrative Modification Guide for additional information and help preparing your submittal.

Plan Review Status

My submittal was scheduled to be reviewed last week.  I haven’t received a plan review notice yet.  When will my submittal be reviewed? 

  • The review due date is calculated based on the date that your permit application is accepted for review.  Your project may not be reviewed until well after the due date depending on current staffing and workload.  For an estimated initial review time, updated monthly based on recent averages, please visit Community Planning and Development’s Average Plan Review Times webpage.  The current status of your review can be checked via Denver’s online permitting system, E-Permits.  If your review has taken longer than the estimated initial review time, please contact the reviewer directly via email regarding status.

Expedited Small Project Reviews

I have a small project and I need my permit now.  What do I do? 

  • Small projects that qualify for a walk-through permit are reviewed two business days after the application for permit has been accepted for review.  The thresholds and types of projects that are eligible for a walk-through review are described in Appendix N of the Denver Fire Code (DFC).  Please review the following Appendix N sections for additional information on project scope and submittal requirements for your project:
  • Fire sprinkler system modifications, DFC § N103.2.1
  • Fire alarm projects, please review DFC § N103.4 
  • Radio enhancement systems for buildings not classified as high-rises, DFC § N103.7
  • Kitchen hood extinguishing systems, DFC § N103.9
  • Area of rescue assistance communication systems, DFC § N103.12 

Conditional Permits

I need to get started with fire sprinkler installation while my plans are under review.  How do I apply for a conditional permit?

  • Upon submittal of sprinkler system shop drawings, an applicant may request issuance of a "conditional sprinkler installation permit" (conditional permit). Conditional permits shall not include installation of any fire pump or pump controller components or installation of sprinklers in fittings.  Conditional permits are subject to payment of all Building Department permit fees associated with the total scope of work in addition to a $250.00 Fire Department fee. 
  • Inspections cannot be performed under conditional permits because no plans have been approved.  Work installed under a conditional permit is subject to subsequent plan review and field inspection for proper and code compliant installation. Corrections identified in the field or by design plan review shall be the responsibility of the contractor.
  • Conditional permit applications can be made as a walk-through E-permit after the logged-in parent permit has been submitted for review.  Please reference the parent permit project number on the conditional permit application, enter the valuation of the parent permit installation, and do not attach any drawings to the conditional. 

Leak Detection Systems

How do I submit for a permit to install a leak detection system?

  • Leak detection systems shall be installed under a Fire Alarm and Signaling Permit(s) by a Licensed Electrical or Electrical Signal Contractor.  See DFC § 605.8, DFC § 916, DFC § N103.3, and DFC § N103.11 for submittal and installation requirements.
  • Or, it also acceptable to submit for two fire alarm permits.  Typically, the scope is divided as follows:
  • 1st Fire – Alarm and Signaling Permit: Leak detection panel, detectors, refrigerant info per DFC § N103.11
  • 2nd Fire – Alarm and Signaling Permit: FACP programming, notification appliances, permit number for leak detection panel, detectors, and refrigerant (by others), pursuant to DFC § N103.3