Building Permit | Commercial or Residential

As all of the partners in the office are homeowners, we completely understand the mind set of pursuing the best value for your money as you invest in a home improvement project. Most potential clients intuitively understand that there’s a double edged sword of managing a project yourself while complying with complex local building code and zoning requirements.

Taking it a step further, there are many people who own small business who travel the same path of completing by taking on many of the business infrastructure needs themselves.

Not a week passes by in which we do not receive a call from a prospective client , in some cases a contractor, who is budgeting a small addition, residential modification, tenant finish for a leased space, the opening of a new restaurant or looking to build their dream home. The questions posed to the architect usually follow this line: Have you done this type of project before? How much do you charge?  Or how much will it cost to complete?  As we attempt to frame up the actuality of what it takes to complete a building project without completely discouraging the interested caller, we will start discussing the process for reaching their goal.

Question: Do I really need an Architect?  Answer:  No and Yes!

First step – We have to establish the clients goals and understand what they really want & what they really need- with what they can afford. Our questions in response to the call from a prospective client may be something like:

  • Have you established a budget for your project? (We’re hoping to find out what it costs first)
  • Are you planning on doing this yourself or do you have a contractor on board? (not sure yet)
  • When do you want to start? (hmmm…)  As architects we are searching to get a sense of where the  client is in the “process” and what the expectations are.
  • Do you have a drawing or sketch on hand that illustrates what they want?  This is good!

If a project is anything other than adding a new awning, patio structure, replacement of an old piece of HVAC or plumbing equipment, more than likely you will need the services of an architect. At a minimum, the architect will guide you through the process and can ultimately provide documentation to the building department required for a (residential or commercial) building permit. The prospective client can do a substantial amount of the initial work making it simpler for the Architect and less expensive for the client  At some point, the architect needs to take the reigns of the project to drive the process towards the final goal.  The final target is to have the “vision” of the prospective client come to life (within budget) in built form “blessed” to be safe and sound by local governing agencies.

Reality Checks:

  1. Building permits are required for new construction to insure the proposed building project will be safe and built to industry standards.  Completing a building project that is not permitted and inspected by the local regulatory agencies can set you up for problems down the road.  Resale of a property with nonconforming improvements can be very expensive in many ways.  You may have to correct the item prior to the transfer of the property and/or take a lower bid for the sale to compensate for the issue.
  2. In the City and County of Denver, for instance, stamped (architectural) plans with framing and foundation engineered by a licensed professional are required for any major (residential) addition over 400 square feet
  3. Building permits are required in order to insure the proposed building project will be safe to the occupants, future owners and guests, in addition to the safety and welfare of the adjacent properties and occupants.  Aesthetics aside, architects and engineers are licensed to assume the role to design and plan accordingly.

If you have any questions about a project you are considering or the process required to obtain a building permit, please contact us:

Directly by phone at: 303 455 7741

or email:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.