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Building codes are adopted and enforced all over the world to ensure that structures in which we live, work, and play meet recognized minimum standards for protection against structural collapse, fire, explosion, health hazards and other potential dangers.
Each type of permit has varying submittal requirements for the review process. It is recommended that you call the Building Department and speak with staff regarding the scope of work and requirements for submitting. The Building Department has several handouts available at the office or on the web page that provide a guide for submittal requirements.
Many homeowners are not aware when a permit is required. For information on what kinds of projects do and do not require a permit, click here. As a general rule, the answer is YES - any construction work that is regulated by adopted building codes and fire and public safety regulations requires a permit before work can begin. The best way to find out if you need a permit is to call the Building Department. Discuss your plans with Building Department staff before you begin construction to determine whether you need a permit. The staff member will answer your construction questions and may provide valuable advice.
We currently recognize minimum foundation requirements typically in the class 'C' roofing area. Subdivisions may have specific requirements for engineered footings and foundations so it is advised to call the Building Department to get specific information. Typically in the class 'C' roofing area (front range and east) we require engineered foundation plans or a soils report. See Engineered Foundation Requirements for further information.
It is much more difficult to determine whether or not a building meets minimum building standards if the structure does not have the benefit of in-progress inspections required under a permit. It is often difficult or impossible to evaluate the safety of a structure if important elements have been covered up by insulation, drywall, siding, concrete, or brick. The rule of thumb for construction is 'Don't cover anything until it has been inspected and approved.' For more information see Inspections.
Larimer County has implemented an entire Wildfire Safety Program in the effort to increase awareness and education regarding wildfires in the county. Tony Simons, Wildfire Safety Specialist, has developed an informative web page describing all aspects of the program. For further information see Wildfire Hazard Mitigation.
Reputable contractors know the requirements and abide by them. In most cases, the contractor will obtain the building permit for the property owner. Unfortunately, not all contractors comply with applicable code requirements. Remember, regardless if your contractor or the homeowner obtains the permit, the property owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all work on his/her property is preceded by acquisition of the appropriate permits and that the contractor requests the required inspections at the appropriate time.
Larimer County has a contractor licensing program. The Colorado State statutes changed allowing NON-home rule jurisdictions to administer their own contractor licensing program and Larimer County started a licensing program on September 1, 2009. The City of Fort Collins and City of Loveland each have their own contractor licensing program. We suggest you verify that your contractor is licensed and has adequate workers' compensation and general liability insurance coverage. Larimer County Contractor Licensing Search
Finishing off an existing attic, basement, or garage may seem like a great way to create more living space, but it is important to do some 'homework' first. Check on the zoning and building requirments early in the process. You will save a lot of time and money knowing about County building standards in advance. Existing conditions could make it expensive, difficult, or even impossible for you to change your attic, basement, or garage into living space.
These documents are available from the office once the permit has received all final inspections. The contractor or owner can bring in the yellow inspection card with all required engineered letters to have a staff member verify completion. Once all inspections are approved and conditions are met a Certificate of Occupancy or Letter of Completion can be issued at your request. For details see Certificate of Occupancy.