A building permit is a type of authorization that must be granted by the Building Division before the construction of a new building, or to enlarge, alter or repair an existing building. Permits are for your safety and protection.
The County issues permits to monitor all construction projects for safety and to ensure that all buildings meet minimum standards. These minimum standards protect present and future occupants. Building codes protect future owners who deserve reasonable assurance that the home or place of business they buy will be safe.
A building permit is legal permission to begin construction in accordance with the approved 2006 Building Codes (PDF). All plans and specifications are reviewed for compliance with the building codes adopted by Rio Blanco County (RBC) before a permit is issued. The process works best if you set up an appointment to discuss your project with the Building Official before finalizing your plans. He will provide you with ideas, guidance, and instructions for your project.
Also, work done without a permit is illegal and can pose serious complications for your homeowner’s insurance or when you sell your home. By obtaining a Building Permit, you avoid legal and financial liabilities.
When to Get a Building Permit
Typically, all new home construction, remodeling, alterations, storage and shop buildings, and room additions need building permits. You must also obtain a State Electrical Permit (PDF), plumbing, and mechanical permits when installing, altering, gas and water lines, drains, fixtures, water heaters, boilers and furnaces. If you are unsure if your project requires a permit please call the Building Division at 970-878-9450.
Some common outdoor improvements that also need building permits are:
- Fireplaces and wood stoves
- Garages and carports
- Patio covers
- Retaining walls over 4’ in height
- Siding replacement
- Some fences over six feet in height (check with Building Division before construction)
- Storage buildings over 200 sq. ft. (Residential) 120 sq. ft. (Commercial)
- Swimming pools and spas
- Window replacement
- You or your authorized agent (contractor or other) will submit your complete application and drawings to the Building Division staff for the plan review process.
- For simple construction installation such as wood stoves, gas lines, new heating and cooling units, and most plumbing, the Building Division reviews and approves permit applications with no or very little plan requirements.
- For more complicated projects such as new buildings and room additions, the review process requires two complete sets of construction plans.
- After the application and plans are received, they will be reviewed by both divisions of the Community Development Department and you will be notified of any problems or additional information required to complete the application. After the application and plans have been approved you will be notified that the permit is ready to issue and what the required fee amount will be. (All fees must be paid before the permit can be issued)
- The Building Division staff reviews applications for completeness, reviews plans and issues the Building Permits and inspects each phase of construction for safety and conformance to the RBC building, plumbing, and mechanical codes.
- The Planning Division looks at the placement of new structures on property to verify zoning requirements such as lot size and coverage, density, building setbacks, and height limits. Some Zoning restrictions may require a use permit or variance.