Building FAQs

The Boulder County Community Planning & Permitting office at 2045 13th St., Boulder is open to the public on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are available on Tuesday but are not required. Schedule an appointment.

Building FAQs

Do I Need a Building Permit?

See the publication When Do I Need a Building Permit? A building permit is required 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.We recommend you use the Ask a Planner Form to determine if a separate planning process may be required prior to submitting a Building Permit Application.

What are the Roofing Requirements?

A permit is required for new or replacement roof coverings. The following are the general roofing requirements:

  • Class A roof covering or assembly in Wildfire Zone 1. (See Boulder County Wildfire Zone Map)
  • Class A roof covering (minimum) in Wildfire Zone 2.
  • Ice and water shield is not required, unless there is evidence of previous damage due to the effects of ice damming or where there is clearly potential for damage due to ice damming, the provisions of IRC Sections R905.2.7.1, R905.4.3.1, R905.5.3.1, R905.6.3.1, R905.7.3.1 and R905.8.3.1 or IBC 1507.2.8.2 as applicable, shall apply.
  • Underlayment and winds greater than 110 mph by the provisions of IBC 15070803.1 or IRC 905.7.3.2 as applicable shall apply. See Boulder County Ground Snow Load and Wind Speed Maps.
  • For asphalt shingles: Use the manufactures high-wind nail pattern.
  • Eve and rake drip edge required for both Residential and Commercial.
  • Reroof flashing per International Residential Code Sections R907.5 & R907.6.
  • No mid-roof inspection necessary.
  • Gutters removed for re-roofing and must be reinstalled for inspection.
  • Commercial reroof applications require plan submittal and plan review. Provide approved roof covering product manufacturer’s data listing with fire classification per IBC 1505 and assembly details. Additional information may be necessary, including building occupancy classification and type of construction. IBC Section 3303.2 requires pedestrian protection during the tear off, loading, and application.

What is Required to Get a Building Permit?

Please review the Building Permits to determine which type of building permit you may need. Please see Building Permits for Residential Construction for more information. EZ BP’s (easy building permits) are residential building permits that can be applied for that do not require plans for submittal.

All Building Permit applications must be submitted online and include a PDF of the site plan and a complete set of building plans. The following may also be required for new buildings, additions, and remodeling:

  • Soils Report – Soils reports may be required in the mountains and are always required in the plains This area is defined as east of Broadway and east of Foothills Highway.
  • Warranty Deed – A copy of your warranty deed which has been recorded with the County Clerk and Recorder’s Office for new residences and/or recently acquired property.
  • Evidence of Water – Evidence of water supply as a water tap or letter of commitment from a water department; or, a copy of your approved well permit from the State of Colorado Engineer’s Office in Denver. The State Engineer’s Office can be reached at 303-866-3587.
  • Evidence of Sanitation – Evidence of sanitation such as a sewer tap or letter of commitment from the sanitation agency; or, a copy of your septic approval form from the Boulder County Health Department. Whenever an addition increases the total number of bedrooms or involves sanitation facilities, Health Department approval will be required.
  • Access – If your property does not front on a County Road shown on the official Boulder County Road Map, it may be necessary to submit additional information such as recorded access easements or other proof of legal access. So that the inspectors will be able to find your property more easily, a location map should also be submitted unless you are in an easy-to-find location.

What does a Complete Set of Building Plans Include?

The required information will vary depending on the type and scope of your project. However, in general:

  • Your planned project must be prepared in a graphic form with a minimum ¼” scale.
  • Construction drawings or plans must show all proposed work and details of compliance to the Boulder County Building Code Amendments and the Boulder County Land Use Code.
  • The plans and specifications must be of sufficient clarity to indicate the nature and extent of the proposed work.
  • Incomplete plans will be returned to the applicant without review.

Use the following submittal checklists for specific project types:

Please Note:

  • A majority of the plains portion of the county consists of expansive soils and high groundwater. For this reason, a soils report is required for new buildings in areas other than mountainous areas.
  • For residential projects creating: new, additions to, or remodel of conditioned floor area, a complete submittal must include all design detail for compliance with the Boulder County BuildSmart Regulations (IRC Chapter 11: Energy Efficiency).
  • For projects located in Wildfire Zone 1 (per Boulder County Building Code Amendments) exterior building materials are regulated. The proposed exterior materials should be clearly labeled on the plans.

How Long is a Permit Active?

Issued permits are valid indefinitely, provided work is commenced within 180 days of issuance and is not suspended or abandoned for a period of 180 days.

When Do I Need Inspections?

The type and number of Required Inspections vary depending on the complexity of your project. All requests for Inspection Scheduling must be received before 3:30 p.m. the working day prior to the requested inspection in order to assure efficient scheduling and routing of the inspectors. Call the IVR System at 303-441-3925 to schedule inspections. During the scope of your construction project it may be necessary to provide Inspection Reports and Surveys. These may include:

  • Height surveys
  • Setback surveys
  • Engineered caisson
  • Footing or foundation inspection reports, and
  • Fire sprinkler inspection reports

May I Change My Mind or Make Revisions?


  • If you need to change your application form or building plans prior to issuance, just ask for assistance from the Building Safety and Inspection Services Team.
  • If you want to make minor changes to your approved plans, submit your revisions electronically to your specific Plans Examiner as well as to
  • The revised plans will be reviewed and one of the approved copies will be returned to you.
  • The approved revisions need to be on-site for inspection.
  • Additional plan check fees may be required for extensive revisions.

For major plan revisions, an entirely new permit may be required. If the issued permit needs to be withdrawn and replaced with a new permit, you may be eligible for up to an 80% credit of the original permit fee paid.

If My Property is Within the City Limits, Do I Get a Building Permit from Boulder County?

Boulder County does not have Land Use jurisdiction over cities within Boulder County. However, we do have an agreement with Jamestown to review building permits If you have a question regarding Building, Code Enforcement, Planning or Zoning within a town or city in Boulder County, please Municipality Contacts Within Boulder County.

How Do I Become a Licensed Contractor?

Requirements and conditions for issuance of a Boulder County Contractors License include:

  • The submission of a completed Contractor License Online Application.
  • Proof you have passed an Appropriate Exam or provide a copy of a valid license issued from an ICC participating jurisdiction
  • Proof of Workman’s Compensation and Contractor Liability Insurance
  • Proof of lawful presence
  • Licensing fee paid

You must have all of these required documents at time of application in order to apply for your license. Once your application has been accepted, issuance of the license will take seven business days.

What Does the Term “Setback” Mean?

A setback is a fixed distance from your property line, or in certain cases, a highway centerline. Setbacks vary depending on the zoning district in which your property is located; whether your project is in a Planned Unit Development (PUD) or a newly platted subdivision; and whether or not you are on a corner lot. If in doubt, contact our office at 303-441-3930. View more information in the publication Yards, Lot Lines, & Setbacks.

When a building application is submitted, the site plan is reviewed to see if the placement of the construction meets the minimum setbacks. If your site plan is not to scale and you do not specify a measurement, we may reject your application as incomplete.

Setback Verification

If your application shows that you are placing your construction exactly or within 20% of the minimum setback, which is your right, please realize that we will require a licensed surveyor to verify that your foundation/construction is correctly placed at this minimum setback because you have no margin of error. We only request that the property line(s) in question be surveyed, not the entire boundary.

If you wish to avoid submitting a survey of the boundary line, the zoning administrator will accept affirmation of the property owner that a setback has been complied with when the proposed distance is 20% greater than the minimum setback; i.e. if the minimum setback is 15 feet and the site plan indicates an actual setback of 18 feet or more, you would not have to have this line surveyed as you exceed the minimum by 20%.

Example: 20% x 15′ = 3′ and 15′ + 3′ = 18′

If you cannot find an answer to a specific question, submit your question through the Ask a Building Official webform. A Building Official will then research your question and get an answer back to you within the business day.

Contact Us

Building Safety and Inspection Services

Contact Plans Examiners

Email Building Inspectors:

Courthouse Annex Building

2045 13th St.
Boulder, CO 80302


8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday
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Mailing Address

Building Safety and Inspection Services
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306
Building Safety and Inspecition Services website