Gaining a Building Permit in Boulder - How Long Does it Take?

Applying for a building permit in Boulder isn’t a quick process. But did you know there are some home renovations that are exempt? Read on to learn more.

building permit

What is a building permit, and why do you need one in Boulder?

Building permits are issued by a city or municipality’s governing building official–typically through the local government. Their main purpose is to ensure new buildings and renovations are executed safely and within all current regulations. 

Areas like Lafayette, Erie, Ward, and City of Boulder apply for permits online directly through Boulder County, whereas the Boulder County Community Planning & Permitting Department represents the rural (unincorporated) areas of Boulder. 

How long does the permitting process take?

When applying for a building permit in Boulder, there are several phases that happen before you can get your permit. This process can take anywhere from 4–6 months. 

Different types of Permits

According to the City of Boulder, there are nearly 24 different types of permits that may apply to your renovation, including electrical, erosion control, siding, roof replacement, and mechanical permits. 

When to apply for a building permit

Residential renovations are typically subject to a permitting process, however, not always. Their website states that the “alteration, demolition, construction, enlargement, movement, repair, removal, or replacement of any building or structure” should be authorized by a permit. There are a few exceptions. 

Examples of work that may be exempt from a permit in Boulder

  • Fences <7ft. in height
  • Some sidewalks or driveways
  • Finish work like painting, tiling, or carpeting
  • Installing a swingsets and playground
  • Some window replacements
  • Minor electrical and plumbing

Even if a permit isn’t needed, all work is still expected to be completed in a manner that is safe and in line with existing regulations. 

Blue shaker style kitchen

How much does a building permit cost in Boulder?

Complicated equations dictate the cost of a building permit. Fees range from about $40 to well over $10,000 depending on the scope of your project. But the fees included don’t simply cover the cost of a building permit, they also include things like Wildfire Mitigation, a Technology Fee, Emergency Services, and yes, even a Jail Improvement and Operations Tax.

To get a full breakdown of the fees, you can check out Boulder County Building Permit Fees and the Building Permit Fees and Estimator Calculator Tool here. 

How Refresh Renovations can help with your building permit application

While we don’t have any secret “in” with those issuing permits, we can make the application process less painful! Working with local officials to obtain the appropriate permits is all part of our comprehensive service. 

At Refresh, our ultimate goal is to provide Boulder homeowners with fantastic renovation results in a straightforward and stress-free manner. It all begins with an initial consultation so we can get on the same page in terms of goals and budget. From there, we’ll work through design options with you and create a corresponding schedule. Only once these details are finalized can we move onto the permitting process. Having this done early helps us keep your project on track!

From there, all that’s left to do is watch your renovation take shape. We’ll take care of the big things and small details, and you can be as involved (or not!) as you want. 

Building permits have your head spinning?

That can happen! But we’re here to help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of planning and managing your home renovation, get in touch with our expert team at Refresh Renovation in Boulder.

renovation consultant with clients

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