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Navigating the permitting process

04/    01  /   2023

Whether you are contemplating opening a new restaurant, adding on to your existing residence or even building a new custom home, one of the prime questions your bound to have is, how long does it take to get a building permit?  It is no secret that the Denver Metro area has experienced a bit of a building boom in recent years. And that is no surprise as Colorado has much to offer from a work/lifestyle perspective, thus the metro area is currently experiencing a growth spur ranked 6th in the nation by Axios.

This growth, combined with Denver’s abundant outdoor lifestyle opportunities and unique geographical location on the map (some say it’s the best city between LA and NY) forecast the Metro area as a hotspot for economic growth long into the foreseeable future. Thus, it makes sense that so many would be looking to lay roots in this little cow town.

Unfortunately, all this promising outlook does come with its growing pains. So much so, that the Denver Building Department has take it upon itself to issue a formal warning that “plan reviews are currently taking much longer than usual to complete.” While they do show a few fancy charts in hopes of anticipating what a timeframe might look like, there are many variable that go into anticipating a permitting timeframe. Every project is different. A commercial restaurant is much different than a residential addition. A new single family home in one of Denver’s Landmarks Districts can easily double or even triple the standard timeframes. There are many variable that go into anticipating a permitting time frame; by right zoning use, variances, number of city agency approval required, concept or SDP, the list goes one. And this is after you’ve worked through design and documentation coordination to prepare an acceptable application that Denver will accept for review!


Reach out and talk to us about how a Design + Build approach can help expediate the overall project delivery timeframe. As both an Architect and a General Contractor, BONSAI is exceptionally qualified, experienced and available to help you navigate this complex and daunting process. We can help you from napkin sketch through final inspections in one turnkey service offering.

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