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Design Review for Window and Door Replacement

 
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Landmark Preservation reviews applications for the replacement of windows and doors on all landmarks and historic district structures. Applications are reviewed for consistency with the appropriate design standards and guidelines. Please read the following instructions carefully to ensure timely design review of your project.

Before you begin . . .

Original windows are one of the most important aspects of historic buildings. Windows give architectural detail to the building and are a major architectural component to the facade of most buildings. Windows should be considered historically significant if they:

  • Are original to the structure
  • Reflect the original design intent for the building
  • Are examples of exceptional craftsmanship or design
  • Have architectural or historic significance

The Landmark Preservation Commission and Lower Downtown Design Review Commission strongly encourage the retention of historic windows.

Additional notes:

  • Replacement windows and doors on individual landmarks and buildings contributing to historic districts must be wood or aluminum-clad wood and must match the operation and configuration of the historic windows. 
  • Composite fiberglass windows and doors are not allowed for replacement of windows or doors on individual landmarks or buildings contributing to historic districts, though they may be used to replace windows on a non-historic addition or on a non-contributing structure. 
  • Vinyl windows are not allowed. 
  • Windows with internal muntins or glued-on muntins are not allowed. Windows may be simulated-divided light with muntins on the exterior and interior faces of the glass but must include a spacer bar. 

For more information about appropriate materials, please review the design guidelines in Step 1. For information on window types and parts, download our Components of Historic Windows handout (PDF). 


1 - Determine which design guidelines apply

Your location and type of project determines which design standards and guidelines you should follow. If you are unsure about whether your project is in a historic district, check the landmark and historic districts map.

In certain neighborhoods and historic districts, additional design guidelines may apply.


2 - Determine whether you need a pre-application meeting

Non-historic windows or doors - Administrative review - Pre-application meeting not NOT required

If you are replacing windows or doors that are not historic and not original to the structure, or are on a non-contributing building to a historic district, your project may be approved administratively by Landmark Preservation staff and you may submit your application (Step 3 below) without a pre-application review meeting.

NOTE: Documentation showing that windows or doors are not original to the structure must be submitted along with the application for administrative review. 

Historic windows or doors - LPC/LDDRC review - Pre-application meeting required

The replacement of historic windows or doors requires a pre-application review and meeting with Landmark Preservation staff. To apply for a pre-application review, please submit the pre-application review form (PDF) and all required information to Landmark Preservation staff via email (landmark@denvergov.org).


3 - Collect submittal materials

Design review applications must adequately describe the project and provide sufficient information to evaluate the proposal. Documentation must clearly illustrate the existing conditions as well as any proposed alteration(s).

All applications for window or door replacement must include the following information:

Please click the submittal elements for downloadable materials and additional information. To avoid delays, please only submit complete applications.

All projects must submit a dimensioned and scaled site plan including:

  • Street address
  • North arrow
  • Scale (plans must be drawn to a measurable scale)
  • Location of streets, sidewalks, alleys (any right-of-way or easement), property lines, and all existing structures
  • Location of fences, retaining walls, exterior stairways and ramps, driveways, etc.
  • Front setbacks of adjacent properties
  • Original grade elevation at intersection of side property lines and minimum setback
  • Spot grade elevation at rear corners of property
  • Primary street setbacks of adjacent properties (the distance from the front property line to the face of the enclosed area, not porch or awning)

sample site plan

Overall and detail photographs of existing conditions of the windows and doors to be replaced are required and must be:

  • In color
  • Labeled with direction and orientation to the street
  • No smaller than 4"x6" in size (or between 1024 x 768 pixels and 1280 x 960 pixels)
  • Arranged on one or more sheets within the drawing set (PDF format)

For examples of acceptable photos and tips for taking good photos, download Landmark Standards: Photographs (PDF) and the Photo Page Example (PDF).

Submit an elevation that includes the following:

  • All windows and doors to be replaced and any proposed size alterations clearly noted
  • Labels on all windows and doors on the elevation noting whether the window or door will be replaced or remain as is
  • Scale of least 1” = 30’
  • Information about the material, operation and configuration of each existing window and door

A photograph of one portion of a building showing the location of each window or door to be replaced may be acceptable if it is properly annotated with the above information.

Provide all of the following:

  • Material and finish information and/or samples
  • Manufacturer cut sheets
  • Visible transparency ratings of glass (clear glass with a .7 or higher Visible transmittance rating with low exterior reflectance under 20 percent is preferred, particularly on the first floor)
  • Number of panes (i.e. dual pane), specifications, and information on any proposed color tinting or coating

This may include photographic documentation, historic permit records, or other evidence that the windows and doors are not historic or original to the structure.

Projects to replace more than three windows or doors that are original to the structure or considered historic must submit a window assessment evaluation matrix form completed by professional who would not benefit financially from proposal and explaining why the existing windows cannot be repaired.

Window Assessment Evaluation Matrix Form (PDF)

Projects to replace original or historic windows must submit an existing/replacement window comparison form for each window, including notated measurements (in inches) of existing and proposed windows.

Window Comparison - Single and Double Hung Form (PDF)

Please coordinate with staff during your pre-application to determine if any additional information is needed due to the unique circumstances of your project. 

Submit Your Application

Complete the required application and submit it, along with any supporting materials, by email to landmark@denvergov.org.  Your submission should include two attachments:

  • PDF with the completed form ("yourname-app.pdf") 
  • PDF that combines all supporting materials ("yourname-app-materials.pdf")

File size should not exceed more than 25 MB combined. Contact us if you are having trouble with your electronic submission.

Every project is different. Depending upon the complexity and specifics of your project, process and time frame may vary from the information presented on this website and in the application materials. If you have any questions, please contact us.

NOTE: All materials submitted with your application become the property the City and County of Denver. The materials are part of public record, can be used in a public hearing, and cannot be returned.


4 - Staff review, revision and LPC or LDDRC presentation (if applicable)

Administrative Review

For non-historic windows or doors, or windows or doors on non-contributing buildings to historic districts. 

A - Landmark staff will evaluate the completeness of your application and perform a preliminary design guideline evaluation within a few days. If necessary, staff will provide comments or request revisions.

B – If an application is found to be complete and meets the design guidelines, landmark staff will issue an approval within a few days.

C – If staff believes that the windows or doors are historic, the application may require review by the Landmark Preservation Commission or the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission.

LPC or LDDRC Review

The Landmark Preservation Commission reviews the replacement of historic windows or doors on individual landmarks and properties in historic districts except properties in the Lower Downtown Historic District, which are reviewed by the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission. The LPC and LDDRC also review any replacement of windows and doors that do not clearly meet the design guidelines.

LPC/LDDRC review will result in approval, approval with conditions, continuance or denial.

Projects that are approved with conditions must submit the requested adjustments to the final construction drawings to landmark staff before a certificate of appropriateness will be issued.

Projects that are continued must provide additional information as requested by the LPC or LDDRC, and must return to the LPC/LDDRC for approval.

Projects that are denied must go before the LPC/LDDRC again with a revised submittal that addresses the LPC's or LDDRC’s comments.


5 - Certificate of Appropriateness issued

Once the project has been approved by LPC/LDDRC, landmark staff will issue a certificate of appropriateness and stamp the drawings.

The certificate of appropriateness and stamped drawings must be included with plans and materials submitted to Development Services when applying for building or zoning permits. If drawings submitted for a building permit vary in any way from the stamped drawings issued by Landmark staff, the permit drawings will need to be revised or the Landmark stamped drawings will need to be revised. If drawings submitted for a building permit vary substantially from drawings approved by staff or LPC/LDDRC, the project may need to return to the LPC/LDDRC for approval. During the inspections process, the completed project must match the work shown on the Landmark-approved stamped drawings. 

Please coordinate with landmark staff on any changes. 

 
Image of a window on a historic property
Image of a window on a historic property
Image of a window on a historic property
Image of a window on a historic property
Image of a door on a historic property
Image of a door on a historic property