Client Alert: New Denver Building Code Addresses Energy Efficiency, Preservation and Renovation of Buildings

Client Alert: New Denver Building Code Addresses Energy Efficiency, Preservation and Renovation of Buildings

On March 7, 2016, Denver’s City Council adopted the 2016 Denver Building Code, which incorporates the 2015 International Code Council (“ICC”) codes for building and fire safety, along with Denver-specific amendments. Denver’s adoption of this new code brings Denver in line with the latest standards in building safety and energy-efficiency for new and existing buildings.

According to Denver Community Planning and Development, some key features of the new code include energy efficiency, preservation and customization. Denver’s adoption of the 2015 ICC codes, including the International Energy Conservation Code and the International Existing Building Code, is expected to increase the energy efficiency of new buildings in Denver by up to 25% and also make it easier to renovate, repair and alter existing buildings. The 2016 Denver Building Code also contains some Denver-specific amendments that seek to address the unique needs of the city, including:

• Electric Vehicle Readiness: All garages at new single-family and duplex homes to include a conduit and panel capacity to support charging an electric car (See 2016 Denver Building Code Section R326.1)

• Number of Services: All garages and accessory buildings at single-family and duplex homes must be on the same electric meter as the primary residence. (See 2016 Denver Building Code Section E3601.2) The purpose of this amendment is to increase firefighter safety and deter the illegal rental of these buildings for marijuana cultivation by an offsite party. (See Proposed Amendment.)

The new code takes full effect on September 12, 2016. Prior to the effective date, customers seeking building permits may apply under either the 2011 Denver Building Code or the 2016 code. After September 12, all new applications must adhere to the 2016 Building Code, absent prior approval. Applicants intending to submit a building permit application after September 12 that wish to proceed under the 2011 Denver Building Code must submit a letter by Friday, August 26, 2016 to the Denver Building Official requesting to do so and providing certain information about the project. For more information on this process, please visit https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-development-services/help-me-find-/building-codes-and-policies.html.

To view the full version of the 2016 Denver Building Code, please visit: https://www.denvergov.org/content/dam/denvergov/Portals/696/documents/BuildingCode/2016_Denver_Building_andFire_Code_Amendments.pdf.

This article is intended to provide general information and, therefore, should not be treated as legal advice. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney. Authors: Mary Sue Greenleaf and Rudy Verner.