Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

Permit FastTrackBuilding Inspections

Inspections may be scheduled up to seven (7) days ahead with the FastTrack system.
If you need additional accomodations, please call (970) 498-7700.

Larimer County will be closed November 27 and 28, 2014 for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Inspections will not be conducted on these days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Back to Permit Search


Building Codes:

WHY BUILDING CODES?
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.

[Return to Top]

WHAT BUILDING CODES HAVE BEEN ADOPTED?
Larimer County has adopted and will be implementing the 2003 International Codes on November 17, 2004. Plans submitted on or after November 17, 2004, will be reviewed under the International Codes. We are currently accepting applications under the 1997 Uniform Building, Mechanical, Plumbing Codes, and the 1997 Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings. The Building Department also has amendments to these codes that can be picked up at the Planning and Building Services Division. For a complete list of codes adopted for Larimer County please see Building Codes Adopted.

[Return to Top]

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BUILDING A MANUFACTURED HOME?
Provided that the vacant parcel is zoned for residential, a manufactured home can be placed outside of a manufactured home park. For information see Manufactured Homes outside of a Manufactured Home Park.

[Return to Top]

WHAT FIREPLACES/WOODSTOVES ARE APPROVED IN LARIMER COUNTY?
Larimer County amended the code in July 2000 to include new provisions regarding fireplaces and woodstoves. Please see Fireplace/Woodstove Information for further information.

[Return to Top]

WHAT IS THE CODE ON SNOW LOAD, WIND LOAD, AND FROST DEPTH?
There are four design loads in Larimer County. For elevations under 7000 feet the ground snow load is 30 pounds per square foot (psf). Elevations from 7001 feet to 7999 feet the ground snow is 40 psf. From 8000 feet to 8999 feet the ground snow is 50 psf. For elevations 9000 feet and over the ground snow load is 70 psf. The minimum basic wind speed is 100 mph (3 second gust) and exposure "C" will be assumed.

[Return to Top]

ARE THERE MINIMUM FOUNDATION REQUIREMENTS IN LARIMER COUNTY?
We currently recognize minimum foundation requirements typically in the class "B" 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.

[Return to Top]



Building Permits:

HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A BUILDING PERMIT?
Many homeowners are not aware when a permit is required. 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.

Here are some common construction projects that REQUIRE a building permit:
  • To erect a new building or structure, including garages, agricultural buildings, additions, decks, swimming pools, and manufactured/mobile homes.
  • Renovations (garage conversions, basement finishes, kitchen expansions, etc.)
  • Commercial floor plan alterations and changes of use
  • Decks over 30" above ground
  • Fences greater than six feet high
  • To demolish, repair, alter, add to, or move an existing building or structure
  • Fireplace/wood stove installations
  • Propane installations
  • For any repairs which change or affect the structural nature of a building or structure
  • Electrical work
  • Fire alarms and sprinkler systems
  • Addition of or changing out air conditioning/heat systems
  • Water heaters (new or replacement)
  • Structural alterations or repairs
  • Signs and signage (temporary or permanent)
  • Roof repairs and re-roofing
  • Gas line installation and repairs
  • Siding
  • Retaining walls 4 feet or high

Building Permits Are Not Required For:
  • Fences six feet high or less
  • Painting, decorating, and laying carpet
  • Cabinet work
  • Repairs using similar or same materials for the purpose of maintenance and which do not affect any mechanical work
  • Minor work valued at less than two thousand ($2000) when such minor work does not involve alteration of structural components, fire-rated assemblies, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, fire-extinguishing systems, or repairs and clean up of dangerous building.
  • Accessory structures (storage sheds, etc.) not greater than 120 square feet in floor area, provided a hazard is not created. However, a Setback and Use permit is required for these structures.

Larimer County does not issue electrical permits or conduct electrical inspections. Electrical permit forms are available in our office or at the State Electrical Board, 3842 S. Mason, Fort Collins, Colorado (223-9838).

This list does not cover all activities that require a permit, however, it gives a general overview of when a permit may be required. It is advisable to call the Building Department before starting your work if you are uncertain if a permit is required.

[Return to Top]

WHAT DO I NEED TO SUBMIT FOR A BUILDING PERMIT?
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.

Residential [pdf] Agricultural
Commercial Miscellaneous
Plot Plan

[Return to Top]

WILL MY CONTRACTOR OBTAIN THE PERMIT?
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.

[Return to Top]

CAN I CONVERT MY ATTIC, BASEMENT, OR GARAGE INTO LIVING SPACE?
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 to you to change your attic, basement, or garage into living space.

[Return to Top]

HOW DO I FIND OUT IF MY CONTRACTOR IS LICENSED?
Larimer County does not have contractor licensing program. Colorado State Statutes do not allow NON-home rule jurisdictions to administer their own licensing program. The City of Fort Collins and City of Loveland each have their own contractor licensing program. We suggest you verify that contractor has adequate workers' compensation and general liability insurance coverage.

[Return to Top]

WHY DO I NEED IN-PROGRESS INSPECTIONS AND WHAT TYPES ARE REQUIRED?
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

[Return to Top]

HOW DO I REQUEST AN INSPECTION
Visit our website at www.larimer.org/fasttrack or call 970-498-7697. The permit number is required for using both systems.

[Return to Top]

WHAT IS WILDFIRE MITIGATION?
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 Coordinator, has developed an informative web page describing all aspects of the program. For further information see Wildfire Hazard Mitigation.

[Return to Top]



Certificate of Occupancy and Related Documentation:

HOW DO I OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY OR LETTER OF COMPLETION?
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 verifying 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.

[Return to Top]

WHAT NEEDS TO BE COMPLETED FOR A TEMPORARY CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY?
A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy may be issued but only when all life-safety issues have been addressed. The inspector will determine the approval for a TCO. To obtain the TCO, you must bring $30.00 and the building inspection card to the Larimer County Planning and Building Services Division. Life Safety issues include:
  • one complete working bathroom, with shower or tub
  • kitchen sink to be installed and working
  • heating system, furnace, and water heater, to be installed and working
  • electric final to be approved by the State Electrical inspector
  • Health department final if applicable must be approved
  • Access and flood finals if applicable must be approved
  • All stairs, handrails, and guardrails to be installed per code
  • Wildfire final inspection and any other life safety issues

[Return to Top]

WHEN IS A CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY OR LETTER OF COMPLETION REQUIRED?
Once all final inspections are received, a Certificate of Occupancy is issued for new residential and commercial permits. CO's are not issued for accessory structures, such as barns, garages, storage buildings, or cabins. A letter of completion may be requested from our office for all additions/alteration and accessory structure permits. Buildings are not to be occupied until the CO or the letter of completion is issued. To obtain a Certificate of Occupancy or Letter of Completion, bring the yellow inspection card to the Building Department Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

[Return to Top]



Code Enforcement:

WHAT IS A BUILDING CODE VIOLATION?
Construction without a valid permit and inspections is a violation of Larimer County Building Code. Changing the use of a structure or living in a structure without a valid permit or certificate of occupancy are also violations of the Larimer County Building Code.

[Return to Top]

HOW ARE CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS NOTIFIED OF VIOLATIONS?
Building Code Enforcement Officers respond to written complaints, telephone complaints, agency referrals, and routine inspection patrols.

[Return to Top]

WHAT DO I DO TO RESOLVE A BUILDING CODE VIOLATION IF THE PREVIOUS OWNER CREATED THE PROBLEM?
Building code violations are like taxes - they run with the land. Unfortunately, if a buyer does not check with the Building Department for outstanding violations, the buyer assumes the responsibility for curing the violations once he/she takes title of the property. However, the seller should disclose all outstanding building code issues to potential buyers once the seller is aware a violation exists. The current property owner is the responsible party for complying with applicable code requirements. There is no statute of limitation for work done without a permit. [NOTE: A title search does not reveal building code violations because violations are not recorded].

[Return to Top]

HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF THERE IS A BUILDING CODE VIOLATION CONNECTED TO MY PROPERTY?
Call the Building Code Enforcement office at 498-7700. When a violation of the building code is found to exist, the violation is posted in the Building Department's computer system under the applicable parcel number. After compliance with the building code is met and the violation no longer exists, the posting is removed. In the meantime, Building Department records are open to the public. If the Building Department receives a request for information concerning existing building code violations connected to a parcel, all information on file must be disclosed. In addition, once a property owner is aware of an existing building code violation, the owner is advised he/she is obligated to disclose the violation to all interested parties (mortgage companies, title companies, appraisers, prospective buyers, etc).

[Return to Top]

WHAT IF I DON'T GET A BUILDING PERMIT?
Obtaining a building permit, inspections, and authorization for occupancy is one way of obtaining assurance that your building is safe for your family and friends or your employees and customers to use. You should use the resources available at the Building Department to be reasonably certain that your structure meets nationally recognized minimum safety standards.

It is more than likely that at some time in the future someone will want proof that your building complies with local building codes. That "someone" could be a potential buyer, a bank, or your insurance company. Your insurance company may not pay on a damage claim if it is found your building does not comply with local codes. As well, you are more likely to be held liable for injuries to someone using your building if it does not meet required safety standards.

If a building code violation is discovered that cannot be resolved, the County's legal authority to enforce building codes is contained in the Larimer County Land Use Code, the Larimer County Building Code and Colorado State statutes. Building code regulations may be enforced through civil or criminal court actions. Each type of court action can include the imposition of fines or imprisonment or both. Other enforcement remedies are also available.

[Return to Top]

WHEN DO I NEED A PERMIT?
Many homeowners are not aware when a permit is required. Whenever a homeowner undertakes either renovations or additions to a dwelling or is installing or replacing a heating appliance, water heater, electrical fixtures or outlets, they must first obtain a permit for the work. The reason for the permit is simple - to ensure adequate maintenance of buildings, to adequately protect the health, safety and welfare of the people and to ensure compliance with applicable regulations. Codes are ever changing and sometimes a homeowner may not be aware of these changes. The permit process ensures that the work is performed properly.

[Return to Top]

WHAT HAPPENS IF I START CONSTRUCTION WITHOUT A PERMIT?
If you begin construction without the required permit, a "Stop Work Order" will be issued. You will then be required to apply for the permit (even if the work is existing, you are required to submit complete plans) and may be required to pay additional fees which are generally the original building fees DOUBLED.

After the permit is properly issued, you are then required to uncover any work that has been covered so it may be inspected.

Building codes and regulations change over the years. Work done without a permit under a different code that would have complied at the time may not comply with current codes. When this is the case, the work must be brought up to current building standards, which can be at a substantial cost.

If work has been COMPLETED without a permit, see Larimer County Requirements When Construction is Done without a Building Permit.

[Return to Top]

CAN I CHANGE THE USE OF MY BARN TO A RESIDENCE WITHOUT A PERMIT?
No. If you already have a residence on your property, it must first be determined if the addition of another residence will meet zoning regulations. If the zoning is okay, it must be determined if the structure itself can safely be changed to a dwelling unit. This is done through the permit process when building, fire, soil, transportation, sewer and sanitation issues are addressed. The most serious aspect of converting structures to living units without a building permit is that it often creates substandard, potentially dangerous housing. This can lead to tragic results.

[Return to Top]

CAN THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT TEAR DOWN DANGEROUS BUILDINGS?
If the County determines a building or structure is dangerous, such that conditions or defects exist to the extent that the life, health, property, or safety of the public or its occupants are endangered, the building or structure can be subject to demolition pursuant to the Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings. However, when beginning any formal administrative enforcement action, the County must guarantee the responsible person due process. Due process requires reasonable notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the County can interfere with a person's significant property interest.

[Return to Top]

Need Help?

Contact Building Staff
Rules and Tips on Using Permit FastTrack
Brochure About Permit FastTrack [pdf]

If you have comments regarding this system, please let us know by filling out a short survey.

Other Contact Information

If you are unable to schedule your inspection request, please call the Permit FastTrack assistance line at (970) 498-7675.

For all others, contact respective departments or agencies.

For problems with Permit FastTrack, email the administrator.

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.