This guide is intended to provide you with an overview of the permitting process for finishing the basement in your house. For additional guidance, see the Single Family Residential Basement Finish Building Guide (PDF) from the Colorado Chapter of the International Code Council.
NOTE: If your attic conversion will add a dwelling unit or change the use or occupancy of the structure, see the project guide for a adding a new dwelling unit.
Before you start your project, you need to know what regulations apply to your property and what factors may impact your project. You'll need to consider:
Historic Landmark Status
If your basement remodel will affect the windows or exterior of a landmark or historic district property, the project must go through the landmark design review process.
Any project that involves changes to the exterior of landmark structures or properties in historic landmark districts must be reviewed by Landmark Preservation staff before you begin. The appropriate zoning, building, curb cut, or revocable permits needed for the project will be issued only after design review has been completed and the project has been approved. To determine your property’s landmark status, use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right. Then, visit the Design Review web page for more information.
Denver Building Code provides minimum standards for building in order to safeguard public safety, health and welfare. The permitting and inspection process ensures that all home projects meet these standards and that all dwellings are safe and habitable at the time of construction.
Listed in the order they must be obtained. All permits must be in hand and at site before work may begin.
The above must be in hand before you apply for the following:
*For a complete list of required documentation for zoning and building plan review, download the Residential Permitting Guide (PDF).
Quick Permits may be applied for by email. See www.DenverGov.org/QuickPermits. For same day service, sign in online or at the kiosk once for two Quick Permits at a time.
For #1R permit, sign in online or at the kiosk and select Single-Family Home & Duplex Walk-Through Review.
Zoning and Building permit fees are based on valuation of the work to be completed including the labor and materials. View the permit fee schedules to estimate the fees required for your project. There is no fee for the Landmark review.
NOTE: When Same Day Review is required for the #1R permit, a "walk through" fee of $100 may be charged in addition to building permit fees, depending on the valuation of the project.
Fees can be paid in person at our cashier on the 2nd floor of the Wellington Webb Building. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card, cash and personal checks at our counter.
To pay by mail, send a check to:
Wellington Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor
Denver, Colorado 80202
All approved construction set of documents, permits and inspector signature card are to be available on site upon request.
Typical inspections for basement finish include the following:
NOTE: The inspections listed above may vary depending on the complexity of your project. You will be advised as to which inspections your project requires through the permitting process and by your inspector.
Decide whether you plan to complete the project yourself or hire a licensed contractor to complete the job for you.
Do It Yourself
You may need to pass a Home owners exam to demonstrate proficiency in specific trades in order to get a permit to do the work yourself.
You will also need to meet a set of requirements established by the Denver Building Code and the Building Department Policy ADMIN 131.3 governing homeowner completed work. This policy can be found on our Building Codes, Forms and Policies page.
Use the Contractor license search to see if your contractor has obtained a contractor's license from the City and County of Denver.
To view other considerations, see our Doing the Work Yourself page.
Every project is different. Depending upon the complexity of your project, the permit requirements and inspection process may vary from the information presented in this guide. If you have any questions, please contact us.