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Buildings in Denver to be safer, more energy-efficient with adoption of new building code

New building code brings Denver in line with best practices worldwide

Last night, Denver City Council adopted a new building code for the city, bringing Denver in line with the latest building safety and energy-efficiency standards worldwide. The adoption of the 2015 International Code Council (ICC) codes for building safety, along with Denver-specific amendments to those codes, means that new buildings, and old buildings being renovated, will be safer and more energy-efficient.

“Embracing best practices in safety, quality and sustainability is a long-term commitment to our city and its future,” said Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development. “Through an open and collaborative review process, design and construction professionals, property owners and code officials reached consensus on standards that will serve us well for years to come.”

Highlights of the new code include:

ENERGY EFFICIENCY. New buildings in Denver are expected to be up to 25% more energy-efficient. Denver’s adoption of the 2015 ICC codes, including the International Energy Conservation Code, is a huge step forward in the construction of energy-efficient buildings.

PRESERVATION. The code will also make it easier to renovate, repair and alter existing buildings, which could mean keeping more existing building stock — ultimately a more sustainable approach. Denver’s adoption of the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) removes barriers and costs for some project types, and allows for the most pragmatic approach to preserve older buildings.

CUSTOMIZATION. Denver-specific amendments to the international codes ensure that Denver applies the best building standards worldwide, while meeting our city's unique needs and values. For example:

  • Garages at new single-family and duplex homes must include a conduit and panel capacity to support charging an electric car.
  • The code requires garages and accessory buildings to be on the same electric meter as the primary residence, for firefighter safety and to deter the illegal rental of these buildings for marijuana cultivation by an offsite party.

The code adoption is the culmination of a nearly year-and-a-half public process in which city officials hosted a series of public meetings and reviewed 170 building code amendment proposals from the local construction industry, the general public and city officials who administer the codes.

In 2015, Denver issued a near-record 75,717 building permits for everything from plumbing, electrical and mechanical work to construction of new houses, additions and commercial buildings.

There will now be a 6-month transition period during which customers may apply for building permits under the 2011 Denver Building Code or the new code. 

Learn more about the building code and its review, amendment and adoption process at denvergov.org/buildingcode.

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BUILDING COMMUNITY: Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) is responsible for visionary city planning and ensuring safe, responsible, sustainable building. CPD regulates planning, zoning, development and maintenance of private property in Denver. We're working hard to make Denver a great place to live, work and play! Visit DenverGov.org/CPD or follow us on Twitter at @DenverCPD.