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Project Guide for Garages (Attached and Detached)

All garages need zoning, building, and sewer use and drainage permits.

To apply for permits, email detached garage applications and plans to garages@denvergov.org. Instructions are on page 1 of the application.

NEW Fall 2018: The SUDP review will start when the zoning/building submittal is received. To avoid delays, include the size, type, and location of water, storm sewer, and sanitary sewer lines on your site plan.

Help Me Get Started . . .

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

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.

Zoning

Zoning establishes standards for things such as the size and location of structures and acceptable uses for your property. Before you begin construction, you need to be sure your project is in compliance with the Denver Zoning Code. Use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right to determine the zoning for your property. In the results, click on your zone district for descriptions and definitions; then, click on your neighborhood context for more information on zoning in your area.

Parkways

Any project that encroaches on a designated parkway setback will need to undergo parkways review. Certain parkways and boulevards are specifically designated by ordinance to preserve their unique character. Each designated parkway has its own right-of-way width and regulations of setback distance of structures and signs. If you are unsure if you live along a designated parkway or for your parkway’s specific regulations, enter your address into the DevelopDENVER tool at right. Look under “Designated Parkways” on the results panel on the left. If a specific parkway appears, click on the “Details” button for information on setbacks.

Denver Forestry

If any portion of your project has the potential to affect the trunk, canopy or roots of the street trees around your property, before you begin, you must contact Denver Forestry by email (forestry@denvergov.org) or phone (720-913-0651) to evaluate your project.  Any removal, trimming or planting of trees within the public right of way must be permitted through the City Forester’s Office.  Damages to street trees may result in the issuance of administrative citations and/or fines.  Visit the Denver Forestry web page and click on Property Owner Resources for information on hiring a licensed tree service company or requesting a permit.

Building Code

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.

Location of Utilities

When designing your project, you need to know where utilities are located. You cannot build over existing utilities. Before you dig, contact the Utility Notification Center of Colorado at 1-800-922-1987 or 811 to mark underground utilities for your project.

Location of Existing Sewer Lines

If you plan to build a new structure over or within 2 feet of the existing sanitary sewer, you will need to replace the sanitary sewer with approved materials. A plumbing contractor can help you locate the sewer lines on your property. Visit Wastewater Sewer Use and Drainage Permit (SUDP) for application, guidelines and other specific information. Contact the Department of Public Works at 303-446-3759 for additional details.

Transportation

Transportation review and approval is needed if you are changing the location of any driveways that connect to public streets or proposing improvements, such as changing the curb cut, within the “right of way” (ROW), which includes public streets and sidewalks. All ROW projects must be performed by a licensed contractor and in full compliance with the City Charter, ordinances, permitting processes and all other applicable standards, specifications and requirements. Licensed contractors can obtain ROW permits at Public Works Permit Operations, 2000 West 3rd Avenue, or directly from the ROW inspector at (303) 446-3469. NOTE: Alterations to a driveway that connects to an alley, instead of a public street or sidewalk, do not require transportation review.

Zoning, Building, and SUDP Permits

All garages need zoning, building, and Sewer Use and Drainage Permits (SUDP). 

Use the instructions on page 1 of the garage permit application (PDF) to compile your zoning/building/SUDP submittal, and email these items to garages@denvergov.org.

Other permits/approvals needed

  1. A current Denver Contractor’s License, or for homeowners building their own garage, a signed "notice of requirements for owner-occupier permits" form. This form is located in the ADMIN 131.3 building code policy (PDF). Before applying for permits, visit the homeowner permits webpage for additional eligibility information.

  2. Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness if the project is in a designated historic district or is a landmark. Visit Landmark's Design Review webpage for more information. If Landmark approval is needed, this must be completed before applying for zoning/building permits.

  3. Forestry Review if the project will impact the canopy or roots of street trees. Contact Denver Forestry (forestry@denvergov.org or 720-913-0651) to evaluate your project and visit the Denver Forestry webpage for additional information. 

  4. Parkways Review if your property is along a designated parkway and the project encroaches on the parkway setback. You will need: A completed Parkway Exception Request form and a site plan that includes property lines, parkway setback from property line, proposed type, location and dimensions of encroachment into parkway setback, location of existing residence on property, and labeled streets. 

  5. New or modified driveways or curb cuts - If your project includes a driveway or curb cut, city transportation engineers will look at the quality of the right-of-way (sidewalks, curb ramps, and alleys) adjacent to your lot to ensure neighborhood infrastructure is safe and accessible for all residents. This could require you to make improvements to the public right-of-way adjacent to your lot. You will need: A site plan that includes the location of the existing and proposed driveways; dimensions from the driveway to the property line and any adjacent driveways; width of driveway; and material used in construction. Include this information in your emailed zoning/building/SUDP permit submittal. For questions before beginning the permit process, use the DevelopDENVER map to find contact info for your site’s transportation engineer.

  6. CDOT/State Highways - If the proposed driveway connects to a State Highway, CDOT access permits and a Transportation Engineering Plan (TEP) are required. For questions about the driveway location, Transportation Engineering Plan, or CDOT access permit requirements, please contact your site’s transportation engineer using the DevelopDENVER map.

  7. Adjacent Property Owner Notification if the project includes demolition or excavation. Submit either a return receipt of certified mail delivery or a signed receipt of personal notification for all adjacent properties at the time of permit application. A permit will not be issued until 10 working days after adjacent property owners were notified.

  8. Roofing/siding permits (Contractors can apply online for these.)

  9. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing permits if your garage work will include electrical work, plumbing work, forced-air furnace, A/C, etc. (Contractors can apply online for these.)

  10. Street occupancy or other ROW construction permits from Denver Public Works if work will temporarily block the public right of way or is located in the ROW.

Estimate Fees
Zoning and building permit fees are based on valuation of the work to be completed including the labor and materials. 

Visit the fees webpage for zoning, building, landmark, and SUDP fee schedules and instructions on paying.

 

Approved construction set of documents, permits and inspector signature card are to be available on site upon request.

Typical inspections for attached and detached garages include the following:  

  • UFER
  • Footing
  • Foundation Wall
  • Underground Electrical
  • Exterior Sheathing
  • Rough Utilities (Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing)
  • Frame
  • Roofing
  • Exterior Lath
  • Drywall
  • Framing final inspection
  • Final Utilities (Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing)
  • Final Construction
  • Fire - If your project is within five feet of the property line, you will need to install a 1 hour fire wall
  • Wastewater sanitary sewer replacement if building is over or within 2 feet of sewer or if approved plans show sewer replacement.  
  • ROW - Construction Engineering will inspect work performed in the ROW and check to see if ROW infrastructure was damaged during construction.
  • Denver Forestry

 

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.

 

Who Will Be Doing the Work?

Decide whether you plan to complete the project yourself or hire a licensed contractor to complete the job for you.

Do It Yourself

Do-It-YourselfYou may need to pass a Homeowner's exam to demonstrate proficiency in specific trades in order to obtain permits to do the work yourself. 

You will also need to meet a set of eligibility requirements established by the Denver Building and Fire Code and the Building Department Policy ADMIN 131.3 governing homeowner-completed work. 

Contractor

Contractors Use the Contractor license search to see if your contractor has obtained a contractor's license from the City and County of Denver. 

 

Contact us

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.

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