Do I Need A Building Permit For My Niwot Project?

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Niwot Building Permits | Niwot Home Improvement | Niwot Homeowners | 

One of the most frequently asked questions we get about Niwot home repair and Niwot home improvement is “do I need a building permit’?

The short answer is “always check’, to make sure you don’t need a permit. Boulder County has an “ask a Planner” helpline that will give you a quick answer to all your questions.

The Boulder County Building Code states that ”no person shall elect, construct, reconstruct, alter, demolish, reconstruct, or change the use of any building or other structure, without first obtaining a building permit.” 

As a general rule you will need a permit if you build, add-on or improve your home. You will also need a permit if you repair the structure of your home or install a large physical piece of equipment.

It’s also important to know that there is an expedited building permit process (EZBP) for a number of simpler and most common projects, like reroofing and HVAC installation. The advantage of an EZBP is that you do not need to submit plans for approval when you apply for an EZBP.

HOA Approval

Don’t forget that if you live in a subdivision with a HOA, you may need to get your building plan approved by your HOA.

What Projects Do Not Require A Building Permit?

A number of common projects do not require a building permit (but must still be completed in a satisfactory manner so as not to violate other provisions of the building code and related regulations). 

Here’s a list of the most common Niwot projects that do not need a building permit (but often have a size limitation):

  • Storage sheds, playhouses, greenhouses, chicken coops or agricultural loafing sheds. There is a limitation to the size (120 sqft.), height (12 ft.) and quantity (calculated by size of lot) of the structures and it can not have any utilities. The structure must also comply with zoning and other land use laws (like set backs).
  • Fences not over 6 feet.
  • Retaining walls not over 4 feet.
  • Water tanks
  • Sidewalks and driveways
  • Painting
  • Papering
  • Tiling
  • Carpeting
  • Cabinets
  • Counter Tops and similar finish work
  • Portable heating units
  • Portable cooling units, including evaporative coolers (size limit)
  • Prefabricated pools
  • Swings and playground equipment
  • Window Awnings
  • Minor electrical
  • Minor plumbing
  • Decks not exceeding 200sqft (but not attached to house structure)

Emergency Repairs

In the event of an emergency repair, like a plumbing leak, the building permit application can be submitted 24 hours after the repairs.

Where Do I Submit A Building Permit

The Boulder County Land Use Department issues building permits for Niwot and unincorporated areas of Boulder County. If your home is located within the boundary of a town or city you will need to apply to that municipality. 

What Projects Require a Building Permit?

You will need a building permit for any construction that physically changes or adds structures to your property, or for work regulated by County Codes such as:

  • New Building: Examples include but are not limited to: dwellings, garages, detached storage sheds (if over 120 square feet contact one of our Planners), carports, pole barns, commercial buildings, manufactured housing, or mobile homes.
  • Additions: Examples include but are not limited to: buildings, swimming pools, decks, retaining walls over 48 inches, and fences over six feet high.
  • Alterations: Beyond cosmetic, examples include but are not limited to: converting a garage to a family room, re-roofing, dry-walling, insulating, finishing a basement, window replacement, and re-siding.
  • Repairs: Any repair involving structural members.
  • Installations: Examples include but are not limited to: wood burning stoves, hot tubs, and solar collectors. 

Easy Building Permits

You can get an EZBP, that require you to submit a building permit (and pay permit fees), but do not require the submittal of plans, for a number of residential only projects, including:

  • Reroofing
  • Solar panels on roof
  • Electrical only
  • Furnace
  • Air Conditioning
  • Stove
  • Gas line
  • Fireplace gas insert
  • Water heater, boiler and evaporative cooler
  • Windows
  • Siding

To get a more definitive answer for your specific project you can view the full building permit list at Building Permits for Residential Construction.

To verify what type of building permit you need, contact the Building Safety & Inspection Services Team at 303-441-3926. Building code questions can be submitted via the Ask a Building Official form, or by calling 720-564-2640.

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Ross Hair

Ross Hair is a real estate agent and the Broker / Owner of Boco Realty LLC.