With just about any home improvement in El Paso and Teller counties, homeowners are required to pull a permit with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (PPRBD) in Colorado Springs... anything from basement finishes, decks, electrical/plumbing updates, water heaters, furnaces, adding outbuildings... the list goes on! Their website is relatively user-friendly.
What we know about PPRBD
They often get a bad rap for high fees, strict rules for visiting properties, and being extremely particular. The codes do change almost annually, and they have a lot to keep up with. If you request a visit on building inspection, as long as you request by 8am, they will come same day. As you can imagine there are hundreds of thousands of homes here, and they do everything they can to remain organized. The rules are all posted on-line and homeowners can pull their own permits, general contractor not required, but all the same rules apply. I do not think their fees are really all that high.
My experience with Regional
We had the unfortunate issue last summer of having to terminate an agreement with a contractor mid-bathroom-remodel. It was extremely stressful. So 4 permits had been pulled - general building, heating, plumbing and electrical. And we were in a skeleton of the bathroom we had envisioned. As we approached new contractors to assist us, we realized much of the work was finalized and could be moved into our name. The contractor that helped us finish also helped us with PPRBD. My husband is really handy and did the work himself with the assistance of a contractor that worked on our kitchen. The plumber had fortunately been paid from beginning to end of the project. When my husband called them, we were stressed, but they were very helpful getting him to the right person with the answers. They voided permits and re-opened them in our name so we could conclude the project. Our electrician had skipped town, taking advantage of several customers, fortunately not us!
I also had a client do a bunch of work himself, and want to list with us without permits. We are full disclosure and told him he had to plaster the details of the non-permitted work all over the MLS listing, get professional plumber and electrician to sign off on the work, and even demolish some of the work done. He was so worried about the time and expense of going through Regional, but would have saved a lot had he done it from the start! For more about how to pull your own or requirements, here is that website www.PPRBD.org. Happy Home Improvement!!
The moral of the story... the blog... is that while our local Building Department is a big machine, they have been very helpful in many cases and even friendly. I'm sure it's a stressful job, and I strongly believe the safety of the homes in our county is of utmost concern.
Update of Rules
Sidenote - As of July 2011 Carbon Monoxide detectors are REQUIRED! We cannot sell homes without them. If you open any permit, expect the inspectors to check that your CO detectors are up to code (1 within 15 feet of every sleeping area/bedroom).
Recent Backlog of permits waiting for approval
Oh, one more thing... because of catastrophic storms in 2016, roof permits are off the charts (something like 20,000 open currently), so we cannot get them closed before sale transactions in most cases. Trust that they are working their way down the list, be patient.