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Change of Use / Tenant Finish / Remodel

Tenant finish and remodel projects include the alteration or reconfiguration of existing commercial or multifamily residential structures. This type of project may occur within or outside of a structure, but does not include the construction of any new structures or the expansion of existing structures.

Tenant finish/remodel projects are often the result of a change in how an existing building space is being used, for example to accommodate a new business or tenant. Some projects of this type are subject to additional requirements that are identified in the zoning code "change of use" and/or the building code "change of occupancy" requirements. For more on zoning, visit Zoning for Your Project or contact the Zoning Team.

A pre-application/concept review may be required depending on the complexity of your project. Contact the Projects Team for additional Information.

Many commercial projects can apply for both zoning code and building code reviews at the same time.

Preparatory Demolition and Non-structural Framing Permit (“Expanded Prep Demo”)

Start interior work while building plans are under review


Only tenant-finish projects in the following occupancy groups, according to the International Building Code: (1) Group B, business; (2) Group M, mercantile; and (3) potentially Groups S-1 and S-2, storage, provided the S-1/S-2 project is for tenant improvement (TI) office space only and tenant separation wall only, and the facility has a functioning early suppression/fast response (ESFR) fire suppression (sprinkler) system and fire alarm system.

Exclusions: Projects in landmark or historic structures, containing any type of marijuana use, needing a change of occupancy, or having an occupancy different from those listed above are not eligible.

For a first-time occupancy, request approval from Building Official and a "zoning verification letter" from before applying for expanded prep demo permits. These letters do not substitute for zoning or building reviews of the logged-in plans. 


Limitations on what work can be completed—and how it will be inspected—are outlined in ADMIN policy 131.2. As an overview, expanded prep demo enables...

  • Removal of previously installed interior finishes, non-structural walls, and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire alarm or fire suppression systems 
  • Installation of new, non-structural framing, one side of gypsum board, and the ceiling grid (but not ceiling tiles)
  • Licensed contractors to pull permits for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and fire alarm or suppression work up to the point of the rough inspection, but cannot include new equipment requiring structural modification and cannot connect to an electrical service, switchgear, panels, transformers, etc.
  • All work must be interior only.


  1. Log in the whole tenant-finish project for a commercial building review. The architect/engineer of record must attest that construction drawings submitted at Log In were 100% complete and fully code compliant. The plans must include fire suppression and alarm system shop drawings if you intend to use the prep demo permit path to work on these systems.
  2. Go to the Commercial Architectural/Structural Walk-through counter to apply for the prep demo permit. You will need • Log number, • contractors’ names and license numbers, • the prep demo application, and • signed affidavits from the architects/engineers of record (originals only, no copies). Find the application and affidavit forms at the end of ADMIN policy 131.2.
  3. Then, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire alarm and fire suppression contractors can pull their appropriate permits.


$100 one-time fee for the expedited prep demo permit at the Commercial Walk-through counter

$100 standard fee for each additional trade-specific permit

This fee structure is based on framing and demolition costs having been included in the plan set submitted to Log In; if they were not, their valuation will be included at the Walk-through counter and the above fees will differ.


The prep demo permit path is predicated on the understanding that building, zoning, SUDP, and fire code review of submitted plans is not complete. Changes may be required to items installed under these expedited permits. The general contractor, owner, developer, and subcontractors may bear the risk of increased costs and delays due to change orders. Denver assumes no responsibility or liability for work completed that requires corrective measures and/or remediation.

Guidance on dealing with asbestos and lead

CO Department of Public Health and Environment Logo

Colorado requires an asbestos inspection before remodeling if there might be asbestos-containing materials, and before any demolition work. This inspection determines whether abatement is required. Unsafe removal of asbestos releases microscopic fibers that can cause severe lung disease and cancer when inhaled.

Learn more about state asbestos rules and permits.

Denver Water logo

To prevent breaks, low-pressure issues, and health risks, replace water service lines that are older than 50 years or that are made of non-copper materials, particularly lead and galvanized pipe. Contact Denver Water Sales Administration to find out if the water lines on your property need to be replaced.

Learn when and how service lines must be replaced.

US Environmental Protection Agency logo

The EPA requires firms performing renovation, repair, and painting in homes, childcare facilities and preschools built before 1978 to use an EPA-certified renovator trained to follow specific work practices to prevent contamination from lead-based paint.

Find certified RRP contractors.


Project Guide

The review and permitting process varies according to the size and location of your project. The following is a list of what may be needed.

When you are ready to apply for building permits, or simultaneous zoning/building permits, use the forms, checklists, and instructions from the Commercial Building Permit Guide below.