Find the Right Permit for Your Project

The city requires building permits to ensure safe building, coordinated development, effective land use and high-quality site planning.

Do You Need a Building Permit?

It is easier for us to tell you what you do not need a building permit for. If your project is not listed in the information below, you will need to apply for a permit.

General work that does not require a building permit:

  • Simple drywall repairs or carpet replacements;
  • Sheds and structures under 80 square feet and one story with no utilities;
  • Fences not over seven feet high;
  • Retaining walls which are not over three feet in height, measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or III-A liquids;
  • Private sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below, and which are not part of an accessible route or a previously approved plan;
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work;
  • Temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery;
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy which are less than 24 inches deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons, and are installed entirely above ground;
  • Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes and not including service systems;
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one-and two-family dwellings;
  • Window awnings in Group R and Group U occupancies supported entirely by an exterior wall and which do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall;
  • Moveable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height;
  • Replacement of windows in low-rise residential buildings that are three-stories or less in height;
  • Replacement of exterior siding on low-rise residential buildings that are three-stories or less in height; and
  • Building energy efficiency components that (a) are required as part of a city energy efficiency program; (b) do not include any heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, solar photovoltaic and solar hot water heating systems; and (c) are inspected by a HERS rater (a Home Energy Rating System rater certified through Residential Energy Services Network) or a city licensed energy inspector as defined in chapter 4-4, "Building Contractor License," B.R.C. 1981.

Electrical work that does not require a building permit:

  • Minor repair and maintenance work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles, radio and television transmitting stations, temporary testing systems for the testing or servicing of electrical systems or apparatus and those items in Article 90.2 (B) of the electrical code.

Gas work that does not require a building permit:

  • Portable heating appliances; and
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.

Mechanical work that does not require a building permit:

  • Portable heating appliance, portable cooling unit, portable evaporative cooler or portable ventilation equipment; and
  • Self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds (4.54 kg) or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of one horsepower (746 W) or less.

Plumbing work that does not require a building permit:

  • The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drain pipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code; and
  • The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the replacement of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves or pipes.

If your work does not require a permit, you are still legally bound to meet all city codes.

A City of Boulder building permit is an official document that authorizes the alteration, demolition, construction, enlargement, movement, repair, removal or replacement of any building or structure, or of any accessory attached to a building or structure.

Apply for a Building Permit

Apply

All exterior changes to a property designated as an individual landmark or located within a historic district require additional review and approval through a Landmark Alteration Certificate (LAC). Properties older than 50 years but not designated as an individual landmark or in a historic district may require additional Historic Preservation Demolition Review.

  1. Use the Customer Self-Service Portal

    The following permit types can be applied for directly through the Customer Self-Service Portal:

    • Electrical;
    • HVAC/Solar Water Heater/Wood Burning;
    • Plumbing;
    • Roofing;
    • Fence and Wall;
    • Floodplain Information Request;
    • Fire;
    • Sign; and
    • Mobile Home Installation.

    Ensure to list all contact email addresses that should have access to the permit.

    Homeowners planning to do the work on their own should complete the Homeowner Contractor License Application and email to COBContractorLicense@bouldercolorado.gov prior to applying for a permit.

  2. Use Email

    All other permit applications must be emailed to PDSskipatrip@bouldercolorado.gov.

    • Visit the Applications and Forms Database: Application forms, documents and guides for building, construction, design, development planning and zoning are available.
      • Get the Online Permit Application Guide for more information about the process.
      • Review the permit application form and permit checklist/requirements that most closely match your scope of work.
      • Get the relevant building permit.​​​​

    Ensure to list all contact email addresses that should have access to the permit.

  3. Submit
    • Email your properly formatted files to PDSskipatrip@bouldercolorado.gov.
    • A confirmation email will come from a noreply email address, please check your spam/junk box if you do not receive an email within the processing time frame.
    • An invoice for applicable fees due will be available on the Customer Self-Service Portal. Payment is required in order for the permit process to proceed.

Monitor Progress

Watch for communications from a noreply email address. If your permit application is denied, you will receive a review comments letter containing:

  • A list of items needing attention or revision concerning your application;
  • Instructions on what you will need to do to resubmit your application; and
  • A resubmittal due date.

Resubmittals follow the same permit review process as an initial application, in the order received. It is in your best interest to resubmit as soon as possible.

Schedule a Building Inspection

Book an inspection

  1. Use the Customer Self-Service Portal
  2. Inspection time
    • Check the daily schedule on the Customer Self-Service Portal to confirm your scheduled inspection.
    • The times listed on the schedule are not accurate representations of when an inspector may arrive on-site for an inspection.
    • To estimate when the inspector may arrive, determine which stop number your site is in the “order” column for the assigned inspector.

Contact an inspector

  • If you need a more specific inspection time frame, please call the inspector assigned to your project.
  • If you are unable to reach your inspector, please leave a detailed message, including your name, number, and site address, and they will return your call as soon as possible.
  1. Hours of operation

    7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

  2. Field inspectors
    Name Role Phone
    Will Birchfield Acting Supervisor 303-441-4189
    Joe Anderson Field Inspector 303-434-1446
    Ron Burhorn Field Inspector 303-434-1448
    Doug Lessig Field Inspector 720-355-1671
    Brian Nye Field Inspector 720-402-0933
    Mark Remy Field Inspector 303-590-8935

Inspection results

  • Inspectors will provide you with clear and simple results that can be viewed through the Customer Self-Service Portal.
    • Look for the "Pass," "Fail" and "Partial" results, as well as the checklist comments.

Re-inspection

  • If your site has failed an inspection, complete the necessary corrections to achieve code compliance, and then request a re-inspection through the Customer Self-Service Portal.
  • After all fees are paid and inspections are completed, a Certificate of Occupancy or Letter of Completion will be issued and is required before the building may be occupied.

Architectural inspections

  • Architectural inspection requests and scheduling are completed through the Customer Self-Service Portal similarly to all other inspections.
  • These inspections are completed by Planning & Development Services staff.
  • If you need a more specific inspection time frame, please call the Planning & Development Services case manager that was assigned to the project PMT application.
  • See the Architecture Inspections FAQs.

Building Inspection Tips

  • Building Inspections may be performed between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.

  • Only homeowners may request an a.m or p.m. inspection. You will need to indicate this in the notes section while scheduling your inspection in CSS. You must also include a contact name and phone number in the same section.

  • Please do not assume inspection processes. If special information/special request is necessary, you must call the inspector/leave a voicemail between 7:00-8:30 a.m. on the day your inspection is scheduled (note: the inspectors and phone numbers to the right on the CSS page are subject to change until 7:00 a.m. on the day the inspection is scheduled; please do not call inspectors with information/special requests ahead of an inspection scheduled date). While every effort will be made to accommodate special requests, they cannot be guaranteed. Note: Please do not initiate inspection special requests by text message; due to the time-sensitive nature of special requests they are not eligible for request by text message (calls only).

  • Please provide a copy of the approved city-stamped plans in paper form. Due to technology limitations (such as connectivity issues and limited ability to see details and capture notation), the city is unable to use digital format/electronic plans during field inspections currently.

    If plans were provided with the permit submittal, you are required to download and print a paper copy of the city-stamped plans for your on-site inspection. Failure to do so may result in delayed inspections. The plans can be printed from your account on EnerGov CSS. Please log in to your account and find the case number under "Permits" on the Dashboard. The electronic plan can be found under "Attachments".

  • Please review the new roof inspection process before scheduling a roof inspection.
  • Please review the state required electrical and plumbing contemporaneous review process prior to your inspection. The City of Boulder follows State of Colorado guidelines for conducting contemporaneous reviews to support electrical and plumbing licensure and apprenticeship requirements. Contractor information may be requested at any time depending on your permit type and scope of work. Please review this information prior to your inspection to prevent delays.

Building Permit Review Process

The City of Boulder uses a phased review process. The review is divided into two phases. The first phase includes reviewing zoning and engineering issues. The second phase includes reviewing building and utilities issues. This process allows for a coordinated review from several staff members to process your application more efficiently.

Review times vary according to the scope of the project and the clarity and completeness of submitted materials. Check the status of a permit online on the Customer Self-Service Portal.

How long does it take?

When you submit your completed application, the project specialist will give you an approximate date when you can expect to hear from the city. The actual time it takes to receive approval is determined by the clarity and completeness of your application materials, as well as the number of other applications awaiting review. If your submitted documents are complete, accurate and meet all the code requirements, the possibility of your application requiring resubmittal is reduced.

Over-the-counter permits

For some smaller projects such as fences, roofs, single family electrical systems, and single family heating and air-conditioning systems, a permit may be issued over the counter. A project specialist in the Planning & Development Services Center will determine if your permit may be issued at the time of application or if it will need to follow the review process. The specialist will be able to give you an estimate on how long the process will take if it has to go through review.

Possible over-the-counter permits

  • Basement Finishes
  • Residential Electrical and Mechanical Work
  • Fences and Retaining Walls
  • Floodplain Development
  • Interior Residential Renovations and Remodels
  • Mechanical/Wood Stove Installation
  • Mobile Home Installation
  • Plumbing
  • Right-of-Way
  • Roofing/Siding
  • In Property Water/Sewer

Estimated review times

SCOPE OF WORK ESTIMATED REVIEW TIME

Residential Alterations and Additions

Up to 20 business days

New Single-Family Dwellings

Up to 40 business days

Commercial Alterations and Additions

Up to 25 business days

New Multifamily Dwellings

Up to 60 business days

New Commercial Buildings

Up to 60 business days

If staff determines that additional information is needed or is missing, you will be contacted by mail or phone. This may increase the review time.

If for any reason a permit is not issued within 180 calendar days from the day of initial payment, your application will expire. You may apply for an extension to your 180-day limit by contacting the Chief Building Official at 303-441-1880, or plandevelop@bouldercolorado.gov.

You must receive an extension before your application expires.

If after your 180-day time limit, you still want to try to get a permit, you must start over by submitting all new applications and documentation.

Types of Building Permits

A list of permit types and the forms you need to submit for review is provided below. This is not a comprehensive list of everything you may need to submit for review. Submission requirements vary depending on the scope of the project. All or some of the following documentation may be required for your project. The forms, checklists, guides and documentation are available from the Applications and Forms Database.

Commercial/multi-family

Required for all commercial development, including new building, additions and remodels of existing space.

  • Multi-Family and Non-Residential Building Permit Application

  • Multi-Family and Non-Residential Building Permit Checklist

You may also need:

  • Stormwater and Flood Management Fee and Plant Investment Fee (PIF) Calculation Form (for properties that increase the amount of impervious area on the property)
  • Plumbing Fixture Count Form
  • Commercial and Multi-Family Building Permit Checklist
  • Industrial / Commercial Environmental Information
  • Housing & Development Excise Tax form
  • Energy Code Compliance (visit energy code web page for more information)
  • Development Excise Tax form
  • Site plan
  • Solar analysis
  • Floor plans
  • Copies of rated assemblies
  • Roof plans
  • Elevations
  • Structural drawings
  • Foundation plans / Section
  • Allocations
  • Copies of any approved Tec Doc drawings (grading and drainage plans; easement dedications, etc.).

Residential

Required for all residential development, except permit resubmittals.

  • Residential Building Permit Application with Checklist

You may also need:

  • Site plan
  • Solar analysis
  • Floor plans
  • Elevations
  • Structural drawings
  • Foundation plans
  • Sections
  • Plumbing Fixture Count Form
  • Energy Code Compliance (visit energy code web page for more information)
  • If you’re in the LR-E zone, a LR-E FAR sheet
  • Allocation for new residential or demolition/rebuild of residential
  • Stormwater and Flood Management Fee and Plant Investment Fee (PIF) Calculation Form (for properties that increase the amount of impervious area on the property)

Inclusionary Zoning Review

All residential development, regardless of size, is subject to inclusionary zoning, which requires that 20 percent of the total number of housing units be made permanently affordable to low income households. Inclusionary zoning is administered by the City of Boulder Housing Division, Housing and Human Services Department.

Building Permit resubmittal

Required for resubmittal of a permit application that has been submitted previously but was denied.

  • Building Permit Resubmittal Form
  • A written statement specifically explaining changes/corrections made and detailing how you've addressed the problems listed in the deficiency letter you received from City of Boulder Planning and Development Services
  • Two sets of any revised drawings with changes "clouded" (clouds drawn around changed areas)
  • New copies of any submittal documents that were deficient

Demolition Permits

Required for demolition of buildings or parts of buildings.

  • Demolition Permit Application

There are several different types of demolition permits, which use two different application forms (one form is for Historic Preservation Demolition Reviews, and the other form covers all other types of demolitions). The additional materials you submit will vary depending on the type of demolition you are doing. See the application form and/or a project specialist in the P&DS Center for more information.

Revocable Permits and Right-of-Way Lease

Required for construction or maintenance of any building, structure, fence, barrier, post, landscaping or other encroachment within, under, above, or upon any public right-of-way or public easement. This is also required for patios, awnings and signs in the downtown pedestrian area.

  • Revocable Permits & Right-of-Way Lease Application (includes other requirements information)

Electrical Permits

Required for all electrical work.

  • Electrical Permit Application
    OR
  • One-line diagrams and load calculations if service size is 400 amps or more

Elevator Permits

The City of Boulder Planning and Development Services does not provide inspections or licensing for elevators.

Fence or Retaining Wall Permits

Required for all fence/retaining wall work.

  • Fence or Retaining Wall Permit Application
  • A scaled site plan clearly showing streets and alleys, property lines, location of fences (existing and proposed), driveways (on this and adjacent properties), sidewalks, water meter pit and north arrow.

Floodplain Development Permits

Required for all work in a designated floodplain. Learn how to find out if your property is in a floodplain.

See the Floodplain Development Permits page for more details.

Fire System Permits

Required for all fire system work.

  • Fire Systems Permit Application

You may also need:

  • Two sets of drawings, engineered calculations

Mechanical Permits

Required for all mechanical work.

  • Commercial Mechanical Permit Application
  • Residential Mechanical Permit Application

You may also need:

  • Two sets of drawings (for commercial)

Mobile Home Permits

Required for setting all mobile homes. (For work other than setting, you will need a building permit.)

  • Mobile Home Permit Application

Moving Building Permits

Required to relocate a building within or out of the city.

  • Moving Permit Application

Plumbing Permits

Required for all plumbing work.

  • Plumbing Permit Application

You may also need:

  • Two sets of riser diagrams for commercial/multi-family work
  • Plumbing Fixture Count Form
  • Revocable Permit (and Easements)
  • Required for right-of-way work or work in an easement
  • Revocable Permits & Right-of-Way Leases Packet.

Right-of-Way Permits

Required for right-of-way work or work in an easement.

  • Right-of-Way Permit Application

You may also need:

  • Set of plans
  • Traffic control plan
  • Right-of-Way Contractor License Application Form

See the Right-of-Way Permits page for more details.

Roofing Permits

Required for all roofing work larger than one square (100 feet of roof area).

  • Roofing Permit Application
  • Roofing Guidelines for New and Existing Residential and Commercial Structures

You may also need:

  • Manufacturer's installation instructions

Sign Permits

Required for all sign work.

  • Sign Permit Application

You may also need:

  • Site Plan: drawings showing sign size, face, font, font size and color
    Attachment / foundation details
  • Right-of-Way Permits

Apply for a Demolition Permit

Get the form

Submit

  • Email your properly formatted files to PDSskipatrip@bouldercolorado.gov.
  • Get signature from the City of Boulder Zero Waste Team (for sustainable decconstruction applications, if applicable)
  • Obtain all other required signatures (Xcel, CDPHE, etc.)
  • Remit fees and refundable Deconstruction Deposit to the city (for sustainable deconstruction applications, if applicable)
  • A project specialist will create an EnerGov case and contact you through the system with instructions for uploading digital files through the “Attachments” tab in the Customer Self-Service Portal.
  • An email will come from a noreply email address, please check your spam/junk box if you do not receive an email within the processing time frame.
  • You will see an invoice for the plan check or permit fee on the Customer Self-Service Portal (if applicable). A complete application package and payment of the plan check/ permit fee will be required prior to routing the application for review.

Check status

Deconstruction and Demolition Waste Things to Know

The City of Boulder regulates waste reuse and recycling for construction and demolition projects. These regulations apply to residential and commercial projects, as described in the city's 2020 Energy Conservation Code and Ordinance 8366.