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Real Estate/Land Use Law Alert: Denver City Council Delays the Effective Date Of The 2019 Denver Building And Fire Code

On April 27, 2020, the Denver City Council approved an ordinance delaying the effective date of the City’s 2019 Building and Fire Code, adopted in December 2019.  This action will allow developers and contractors additional time to submit projects designed under the 2016 Denver Building and Fire Code for building permit review.  The ordinance also allows developers and contractors issued a building permit under the 2016 Code additional time to commence construction

The ordinance responds to expected delays in project construction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This action will allow projects designed under the 2016 Code to proceed in the future without having to undergo costly redesigns to meet 2019 Code requirements.   

Key provisions of the ordinance include: 

  • The effective date of the 2019 Code is delayed from late April 2020 to July 31, 2020.  This allows developers and contractors who have not yet submitted permit applications to do so using the standards of either the 2016 Code or the 2019 Code until July 31, 2020.    
  • No changes will be required to construction documents, construction or the designated occupancy of a structure that received a building permit under the 2016 Code as long as construction is pursued in good faith prior to December 31, 2020.  
  • Until December 31, 2020, “major projects” that are in design but do not submit permit applications until after July 31, 2020 may request to be reviewed and permitted under the 2016 Code.  This request must be made to the Denver Building Official and include certain specified information, including a commitment to commence construction by July 31, 2021 and complete construction by July 31, 2023.

The text of the 2019 Code amendment and additional information regarding the City Council ordinance are available here. The amendment will apply differently depending on a project’s status, and developers and contractors should seek legal counsel to understand how the amendment affects their projects. 

Please contact Sarah Rockwell or Hanna Gustafsson if you have any questions about this Law Alert. Thank you also to Steve Ferris from The Real Estate Garage who contributed to this Alert.