Building Inspections in the Denver Metro Area During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Building Inspections in the Denver Metro Area During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Apr 10, 2020

Client Alert

Brownstein Client Alert, April 10, 2020

As counties and municipalities react to the outbreak of COVID-19, the typical development process is disrupted. Some jurisdictions have chosen only to suspend building inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units, while others have suspended all building inspections except on an emergency basis. Some jurisdictions are also exploring the use of video and photo technology to perform remote building inspections, and at least one jurisdiction has promulgated detailed instructions for the performance of a remote building inspection (see Centennial below). 

This list summarizes the approach of the counties and major municipalities in the Denver and Boulder metro areas to building inspections during the COVID-19 outbreak. All data is based on self-reporting by the counties and municipalities, and individual experiences may vary. Preference may be given to critical projects and critical activities.

Please note that multi-industry construction guidance promulgated by the State of Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE) should be observed, including social distancing on construction worksites and strict observance of hygiene protocols. Please find more information from the CDHPE here

Click here for a PDF of the full chart. 

Chart last updated April 10, 2020:

Jurisdiction

Website

Notes

Adams County

Adams County website link

  • Inspections continue on a priority schedule, except that inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.
     
  • Owners and contractors of occupied home projects have the option to use a third-party inspector or inspection company according to a temporary third-party inspection policy in place until April 20.

Arapahoe County

Arapahoe County website link

Arapahoe County permitting and inspections

  • Inspections of commercial and new residential development resumed March 30.
     
  • Field inspections of residential projects on the exterior of occupied dwellings continue.
     
  • Inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.

Boulder County

Boulder County website link

  • Inspections are suspended, except that virtual inspections are available for selected building projects as follows:
     
    • Virtual inspections will be performed by video call on a smart phone or tablet;
       
    • Customers must have firsthand knowledge of the installation; and
       
    • Large and complex projects, such as new homes or large remodels, are not eligible for virtual inspections at this time.

City and County of Broomfield

Broomfield website link

Building Department Closure Information

  • Inspections continue, except that inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended. 
     
  • No contractors or subcontractors may be in the vicinity of the area to be inspected.
     
  • Rough inspections (but not final inspections) may be performed remotely in some cases.
     
  • Commercial electrical inspections will only be performed Wednesdays through Fridays until April 20. Beginning April 20, they will be performed every day.

City and County of Denver

Denver website link

  • Inspections continue.
     
  • Inspectors are available by phone and email but will not offer in-person office hours in the morning.
     
  • Inspections will only be performed at sites that have social distancing protocols in place.

Douglas County

Douglas County building inspections

Douglas County website link

  • Inspections continue, except that inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.
     
  • Inspectors will attempt to perform remote inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units using remote video technology.

Jefferson County

Jefferson County website link

  • Inspections continue, except that inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.

Arvada

Arvada website link

  • Inspections continue, except that inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.
     
  • Inspections are expressly limited to those related to new construction and those needed to restore electrical and gas utilities.

Aurora

Aurora website link

  • Inspections continue.
     
  • Inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units will only be performed remotely by live video.

City of Boulder

Boulder website link

  • Inspections are suspended except for the following:
     
    • Emergency inspections to maintain effective operations for critical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, fire, police, and emergency operations centers;
       
    • Emergency inspections to restore interruptions for existing essential utilities such as electrical, gas, water, and sewer services;
       
    • Emergency inspections to address structural concerns resulting from incidents such as explosions, fires, or vehicles hitting buildings;
       
    • Inspections of projects considered critical public infrastructure, such as emergency shelters, affordable housing, essential businesses, telecommunications, public utilities, and projects necessary to restore life safety requirements;
       
  • Remote video inspections are now available for specified inspections types, including underground plumbing and electrical, gas and hydronic piping, insulation, drywall, exterior weatherization, and minor re-inspections. See the website for the complete list.
     
  • Existing appliances necessary for sanitation and health (e.g., water heaters, furnaces) may be replaced when necessary and permits and inspections obtained once offices reopen.
     
  • Third party inspections will be accepted in-lieu of city inspections when pre-approved by the city.

Centennial

Centennial - Schedule a building inspection

Remote inspection guidelines

  • Inspections continue, except that in-person inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.
     
  • Remote inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units continue. Detailed instructions for remote inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units have been promulgated.
Cherry Hills Village Cherry Hills Village Website Link
  • Inspections continue, except that:
     
    • Inspectors may request that the space be reasonably vacated during the inspection window;
       
    • The inspector may postpone an inspection if the inspection would result in an unsafe situation; and
       
    • Six feet of separation is required for all outdoor inspections.

Lakewood

Lakewood website link

Lakewood Building Inspection Alert

  • Inspections continue, except that:
     
    • Inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are limited to inspections needed to move projects forward and for which access to the work area is directly from the outside.
       
    • Only one person may accompany the inspector.
       
    • Final inspections and inspections that require walking through the home are suspended.
       
    • Inspections on large projects and unoccupied residential units may only be performed if the area to be inspected is clear of workers.

Thornton

Thornton website link

  • Inspections continue, except that:
     
    • New commercial inspections will only be performed when the structure is vacated.
       
    • Inspections of new commercial structures may only be performed in-person. Such inspections may not be performed remotely.
       
    • New residential inspections may be performed remotely or in person with a preference for remote video/photo.
       
    • In-person inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended except for those specifically related to safety/health.
       
    • Remote inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units may be performed.

Westminster

Westminster website link

  • Inspections continue.
     
  • The website notes that staff are working remotely. The inspections team must be emailed for information about individual inspections.

Brighton

Brighton website link

Brighton Building Safety and Permitting

  • Inspections continue.
     
  • The inspector will bring plans to the initial inspection and may reschedule based on staffing levels or health risks.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock website link

Castle Rock Building Permits

  • Inspections continue, except that in-person inspections of the interior of residential dwelling units are suspended.
  • Remote inspections of the interior of residential dwelling units may be performed.

Columbine

Columbine website link

  • Inspections continue if social distancing can be maintained, except that all inspections of residential dwelling units are suspended.

Commerce City

Commerce City website link

  • Inspections continue.
     
  • Buildings must be vacant at the time of inspection.
     
  • Exterior inspections require a six-foot separation between the inspector and anyone else on-site.

Englewood

Englewood website link

  • Inspections continue, except that all inspections of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.
     
  • Contractors must vacate the site upon arrival.
     
  • Emergency inspections of occupied residential dwelling units will be performed, if there is limited contact with the inspector.

Erie

Erie website link

Virtual Inspection Policy

  • Inspections continue except that all inspections of occupied residential dwelling units are performed according to a virtual inspections policy.

Federal Heights

Federal Heights website link

  • Inspections continue from a remote station. Pictures are submitted electronically for review.

Golden

Golden website link

  • Interior inspections are suspended. Outdoor inspections continue.
Glendale Glendale website link
  • Inspections continue.
     
  • Virtual inspections are also available if requested.

Greenwood Village

Greenwood Village building permits and inspections

Greenwood Village building update

  • Inspections are suspended except that:
     
    • In-person interior inspections of occupied or unoccupied commercial or residential structures may be performed if the space is vacated or there is an emergency of life safety situation; and
       
    • Some inspections may be conducted remotely via video/photo.

Highlands Ranch

Highlands Ranch website link

  • Inspections continue.

Lafayette

Lafayette website link

  • Inspections continue for all new construction where the building is not currently occupied.
     
  • Inspections are suspended for all occupied residential, commercial and industrial buildings except for emergency inspections necessary for the essential operations of critical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living and emergency inspections to address structural concerns resulting from incidents such as explosions, fires, and vehicles hitting buildings.
     
  • Exterior weatherization of building envelopes included with issued permits may be performed, provided digital pictures and an affidavit of compliance are provided once offices reopen.
     
  • Existing appliances necessary for sanitation and health (e.g., water heaters, furnaces) may be replaced when necessary and permits and inspections obtained once offices reopen.
     

Littleton

Littleton website link

  • Inspections continue, except that inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.
     
  • In some circumstances, the inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units may be performed remotely.
     
  • Inspections of new, unoccupied residential dwellings will only be performed if access is provided and no one is present in the structure.
     
  • Inspections of new and occupied commercial structures will only be performed if the structure is vacated a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the start of the inspection and for its duration.
     
  • City staff will maintain a social distance of at least six feet at all times when interacting with the general public.
Lone Tree Lone Tree website
  • Inspections continue.
     
  • Virtual inspections are also available if requested.

Longmont

Longmont website link

  • Inspections continue for “production” types of inspections, including new single-family homes, patio covers, carports, decks, fences and roofs, commercial tenant improvements, new commercial construction, RTUs, and commercial roofs.
     
  • Inspections of the interior of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended.
     
  • Inspections may not compromise social distancing guidelines, and the area of work may not have been occupied.

Louisville

Louisville website link

  • Inspections are suspended.
     
  • Remote inspections may be possible for some inspection types upon request.

Northglenn

Northglenn - building

SAFEbuilt website link

Northglenn Remote Video Inspection Guidelines

  • The City of Northglenn contracts its building division services through SAFEBuilt.
     
  • SAFEBuilt inspections continue.
     
  • Video inspections of the interior occupied residential dwelling units may be performed according to remote video inspection guidelines.

Parker

Parker website link

Parker Modified Occupied Residential Inspection Guidelines

Parker Remote Video Inspection Guidelines

  • Inspections continue for exterior construction and unoccupied residential and commercial structures.
     
  • In-person and remote inspections of occupied residential dwelling units may be performed according to modified inspection guidelines for occupied residential structures and remote video inspection guidelines.
     
  • Prior to inspection, Building Division staff will contact permit applicants or the contractor to discuss the possibility of the presence of COVID-19 on the site.

Superior

Superior website link

  • Inspections continue.

Wheat Ridge

Wheat Ridge website link

  • Inspections continue for exterior construction and unoccupied residential and commercial structures.
     
  • Non-essential inspections and interior inspections of occupied residential dwelling units are suspended. The website does not define non-essential or essential inspections.
     
  • Proof of code compliance will be determined remotely, if possible.

 

Information is changing daily and some of the content included in this alert may have changed or been updated since publication.

Click here to read more Brownstein alerts on the legal issues the coronavirus threat raises for businesses.

 

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