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Applying for Permits as a Homeowner

Owners of single-family homes in Denver have the option of applying for residential permits without a contractor. Before you decide on a path, review the requirements listed below to see if doing-it-yourself (DIY) is the route for you.

 

Eligibility:

  • The permit(s) must be for a single-family home (may include a 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 be the legal owner and resident, and must show a photo I.D. matching the Assessor’s database to verify property ownership.
  • You will need to pass an exam before doing electrical, plumbing or mechanical/HVAC work. A state license may substitute for electrical or plumbing exams. No exam is needed for general construction or roofing/siding.
  • You must occupy the home for at least one year after work is complete.
  • 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.
 

Eligible to apply for your own permit? Here's what you need.

Many homeowners want to retain control over their project by acting as their own general contractor. In this case, homeowners who meet the above eligibility requirements apply for the residential general construction permit and hire licensed subcontractors, each of whom apply for their own trade-specific permits.

You will need...

  • A written letter of request to act in the capacity of general contractor. The letter must include 
    • the name(s) of the property owners
    • the property address
    • a statement that you intend to live in the property for 12 months after construction is complete
    • a statement that you will hire licensed (in the City and County of Denver) contractors to perform any work you are not doing yourself. (All contractors’ license numbers, names and addresses must be submitted to us by the time the permit is issued.)
  • A valid Colorado driver’s license or photo I.D. that matches the property owner name listed in the Denver Assessor’s database, which you must show in order to pick up your permit(s)
  • An application and construction drawings. Depending on the scope of your project, these can be complex. Consult our Residential Permitting Guide to download the application and learn more about what building and zoning plans may be required for your project. We also have numerous project-specific guides, categorized according to "Inside the Home," "Outside the Home," "Building/Expanding a Home" or "Demolition," to help you determine what permits will be required and what plans you will need to submit.

Download the Residential Permitting Guide >>

Unless you have submitted a request in writing to act as your own general contractor and hire licensed subcontractors, the homeowner who applies for the permit must be the person who performs the work covered on the permit. There is an option for homeowners who are doing their own work to use a designated worker (described below).

You will need...

  • A valid Colorado driver’s license or photo I.D. that matches the property owner name listed in the Denver Assessor’s database, which you must show in order to take an exam and to pick up your permit(s)
  • An application and drawings/plans (if applicable)

If you are unsure of what plans you will need to submit and what permits will be required, please consult our project-specific guides, categorized according to "Inside the Home," "Outside the Home," "Building/Expanding a Home" or "Demolition."

  • If you plan to do electrical, plumbing, or mechanical/HVAC work that will require a permit, you need to either (1) be a licensed contractor in that field or (2) pass an exam verifying that you are equipped to do this work. If you are using a designated worker to assist with the work, this individual can also assist with the exam.

Note: Exams are only available in English at this time.

Exams are not needed for residential construction or roofing/siding permits.

  When Where Fees
Homeowner Exams
Code books allowed; No notes
Mon. - Fri.,
8am - 3pm 
Contractor Licensing
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd floor
None

Using a “Designated Worker”

To complete the work authorized under the permit, the homeowner may use the assistance of a designated worker. The designated worker cannot accept payment for services rendered, and must be identified on the permit. The designated worker may assist the homeowner in taking any required exams.

Where to apply

Most building projects in Denver -- including new construction, remodeling and repairs -- require general construction permits to allow construction, and then trade-specific permits for each part of the project.

  • To apply for a residential general construction permit, you will need to bring your plans and application to the Permit Counter on the 2nd floor of the Webb building at 201 W. Colfax Ave., where you will either submit your plans for review at a "walk-through" counter or "log in" for a more extensive zoning and building code review. Whether you go to a Walk-through counter or the Log In counter depends on the type and scope of work you are proposing. Click the images below for more details on what types of projects each counter reviews.
  • Some trade-specific permits, such as minor electrical work, like-for-like replacement of plumbing or mechanical elements, roofing and siding, can be issued at the "Quick Permits" counter without the need for plan review. Licensed contractors can apply for Quick Permits online, but homeowners doing their own work must bring a valid photo I.D. to the Quick Permits counter so we can verify you are the property owner and resident.
  • All projects potentially affecting the exterior of a local landmark or historic district property must start their permit application process with Landmark Preservation, unless the project is a minor interior remodel with NO exterior modifications.
  • All new construction and additions will need an SUDP permit as well as zoning and building permits, so you will need to go to the Log In counter and the SUDP counter.

Click the images below to learn more about what types of projects each counter reviews, and how to check in for these services.

Link to walk-through webpage at https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-development-services/contact-us/walk-through.html

 

Link to Log-In Counter review types at https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-development-services/contact-us/log-in.html

 

Link to Quick Permits page at www.denvergov.org/quickpermits

 

Link to Sewer Use & Drainage Permits (SUDP) page at www.denvergov.org/SUDP

 

Link to Landmark page at https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/community-planning-and-development/landmark-preservation/design-review/design-guidelines-and-application-materials.html

 
 
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What you need to know for your project!

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Residential Project Inquiries

Due to high demand, please leave a detailed message by phone or email, and we will get back to you within 48 hours. Include your name, property address, phone number, and details of your question so we can make sure the right person returns your call/email. 

Phone: 720-865-2710

Email: ResidentialPermits@denvergov.org

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