This guide is intended to provide you an overview of the permitting process for detached accessory structures such as sheds, pergolas, gazebos, stand alone decks, pool houses, playhouses, cabanas, and outdoor fireplaces. These structures are not intended to be habitable space or dwelling units. For information on building that type of accessory structure, see the Project Guide for Detached Dwelling Units.
See also: Zoning and Building Permitting Guide - Sheds (PDF)
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 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.
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 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.
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).
SUDP application and materials may be submitted by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), online via e-Plan or in person at the Development Services Permit Counter (sign in online or at the kiosk for SUPD).
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.
Zoning and #1R permits may be applied for at the counter on the same day. Sign in online or at the kiosk once for zoning and #1R permits (Single-Family Home & Duplex Walk-Through).
Zoning and Building permit fees are based on valuation of the work to be completed including the labor and materials.
NOTE: When a Same Day Review is required for the #1R Permit, a "walk through" submittal fee of 20% of the valuation of the work to be completed with a $100.00 minimum will be charged in addition to building permit fees.
For Wastewater SUDP, there is a $100 application fee plus additional fees may apply. The fees change yearly.
View the permit fee schedules to estimate the fees required for your project.
There are no fees for Landmark or Parkways review.
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 checks to:
Wellington Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor
Denver, Colorado 80202
Approved construction set of documents, permits and inspector signature card are to be available on site upon request.
Typical inspections for the construction of detached accessory structures 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.