Boulder County enacts Stage 1 fire restrictionsNews release

Marshall Fire Rebuilding in Unincorporated Boulder County
Construction worker building

The Community Planning & Permitting Department physical office in Boulder will be closed on Thursday, June 30 for an off-site department meeting.

Marshall Fire Rebuilding and Repairs in Unincorporated Boulder County

We know this is a difficult time for all those impacted by the Marshall Fire. Community Planning & Permitting (CP&P) is committed to helping residents to navigate the rebuilding and repair process. CP&P will be prioritizing all Marshall Fire rebuilding and repairs, and we are available to assist property owners and their agents (architects, builders, design professionals) with their projects. Contact the rebuilding team at MarshallRebuilding@bouldercounty.org or 303-441-3930. Visit the Marshall Fire Recovery page for current Marshall Fire information and resources.

Rebuilding

Rebuilding Coordinators, who will help unincorporated Boulder County property owners navigate the rebuilding process and answer questions, will be assigned to each Marshall Fire property owner or their agent. To get connected to your assigned Rebuilding Coordinator please email MarshallRebuilding@bouldercounty.org. (View City of Louisville or Town of Superior rebuilding information.)

Property owners who are rebuilding the same structure that was lost in the fire (i.e., original location and footprint, same floor area or smaller, same height or shorter) may move forward immediately and apply for a building permit, so long as they commit to rebuild with additional wildfire resiliency measures. Property owners who wish to make changes to the pre-existing structure may proceed under streamlined review (instead of Site Plan Review) if the modifications fall within the defined parameters.

On March 17, 2022 the Board of County Commissioners approved Docket DC-22-0001: Land Use Code text amendments related to the Marshall Fire – Article 19. This approval creates Section 19-500 in the Land Use Code which establishes a streamlined permitting procedure for rebuilding structures destroyed by the Marshall Fire. These new Article 19-500 regulations combine the planning review with the building permit review, which shortens the overall process. View Resolution 2022-029, approving Land Use Code Docket DC-22-0001, effective March 29, 2022.

If you are doing clean-up on your own and not participating in the coordinated debris removal program, it may be helpful to understand the timelines required for site clean-up. Please note that a private Deconstruction/Site Clean-Up Permit must be applied for by June 30, 2022.

BuildSmart

Since Boulder County BuildSmart (the county’s building code requirements and energy efficiency code) may drive your design, Community Planning & Permitting plans to hold community meeting on Monday, April 11 at 6-8 PM with property owners, architects, and contractors to provide information on this program and answer questions. Information on how to participate in this workshop will be posted soon.

Please take a look at the regulations in place through the BuildSmart program. All new construction in Boulder County will need to adhere to the regulations within BuildSmart (this may include adding things like indoor sprinkler systems). Please contact building@bouldercounty.org to ask questions and learn more about BuildSmart and other building code requirements.

Additionally, EnergySmart (Boulder County’s residential energy advising service) is offering free and unbiased expert guidance on building a high-performance home to homeowners impacted by the Marshall Fire. EnergySmart advisors can provide advice on high-efficiency electric heating and cooling as well as other considerations when building a high-performance home. To speak with an EnergySmart advisor, call 303-544-1000 or email info@EnergySmartYes.com.

Marshall Fire Rebuilding and Repair Resources

Rebuilding Single Family Dwellings

Boulder County Building Safety & Inspection Services does not have jurisdiction over cities within Boulder County, with the exception of Jamestown. If your project is within a city (other than Jamestown), you need to contact that city’s Building Inspection office instead of Boulder County.

Building Permit

A building permit, plan review, inspection approvals, and a Certificate of Occupancy (“C.O.”) are required for the proposed residence. Separate building permits, plan review, and inspection approvals are required for detached buildings.

Please refer to the county’s adopted 2015 editions of the International Codes and code amendments.

Automatic Fire Sprinkler System

Under the 2015 International Residential Code (“IRC”) as adopted by Boulder County, all new one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses are required to be equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system that is designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 13D or IRC Section P2904.

BuildSmart

Please refer to the county’s adoption and amendments to Chapter 11 of the IRC, the county’s “BuildSmart” program, for the applicable requirements for energy conservation and sustainability for residential additions and new residential buildings. Please be aware that there are energy-related requirements of this code that may require the use of renewable energy systems (such as rooftop solar systems) that will also need to be approved by your electric utility provider. In some cases, there may be limitations on the size of on-site systems allowed by your utility provider that could constrain the project design. We strongly encourage discussions between the design team and the utility company as early in the process as possible in order to identify these constraints. Provide a complete BuildSmart Checklist.

Design Wind and Snow Loads

Boulder County is a special wind region with several incremental zones as outlined in the Boulder County Building Code Amendments. To obtain the design wind and ground snow loads for the property, please email the plan review team at building@bouldercounty.org or call 720-564-2640.

Ignition-Resistant Construction and Defensible Space

Please refer to Section R327 of the Boulder County Building Code for wildfire hazard mitigation requirements, including ignition-resistant construction and defensible space.

Plan Review

The items listed above are a general summary of some of the county’s building code requirements. A much more detailed plan review will be performed at the time of building permit application, when full details are available for review, to assure that all applicable minimum building code requirements are to be met. Refer to Building Permits for Residential Construction, the Residential Plan Checklist, and other Boulder County Building publications, forms, and applications.

At Application

When you are ready to make your application, the following information, as applicable, will be required:

  • A dimensioned site plan indicating what is to be constructed, distances, property lines, etc.
  • Any grading will need to documented showing calculations and where the material is to be placed on site.
  • If the design criteria, including the wind and snow loads, exceeds the tabular values and details of construction outlined in the International Residential Code, provide signed, dated, and sealed structural drawings and associated reports or calculations. Drawings should be scalable at ¼” per foot or larger.
  • Structural details, general load paths, and wall bracing will be required, as well as details of stair construction, wall openings, deck connections, and guard and handrail details.
  • A soils report will be required if Boulder County does not have one for the property.
  • Provide signed, dated, and sealed architectural drawings if prepared by an architect. Drawings should be scalable at ¼” per foot or larger.
  • Provide floor plan(s) of the structure indicating the intended use of the areas.
  • Provide elevation views of construction indicating overall height of construction to existing grade.
  • Provide plan details of wall construction, including flashing and siding details.
  • Provide elevation views representing ceiling heights, depth of crawlspaces, and attic clearances.
  • Please outline the BuildSmart pathway chosen for your project. Refer to the BuildSmart checklist.
  • Provide the applicable reports to demonstrate compliance to the BuildSmart pathway chosen.
  • Provide a detailed plan showing the thermal envelope. This should be depicted in plan view (floor plan view) and in elevation views.
  • Provide the appliance product detail information and the third-party certification or listing for the appliance.
  • Please provide the product information for any solid fuel or fuel gas appliances, such as boilers, furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters etc.
  • Provide the Jobsite Recycling Checklist (Boulder County Building Publication B50). Both sides must be filled out at the time of application. The final values for the checklist may be substantiated with receipts to document how deconstruction materials were reused or disposed prior to final sign off. This serves as a recycling plan.

Several helpful documents with regard to the construction of the structure and the documents required for permitting may be found on the Boulder County Building Publications, Forms, Applications page. Many general questions may be answered on the Boulder County Building FAQs page.

If you have additional questions regarding your building project please feel free to contact a plans examiner, building@bouldercounty.org or call us at 720-564-2640. We are available at the Plans Examiners desk weekdays from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM.

Opting Out of the County's Debris Removal Program

Site Cleanup Permit Process for those Opting Out of the County’s Debris Removal Program

  1. Submit a Disposal Notification Form to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Once the form is submitted to the state, you can apply for the site cleanup permit through our online portal.
  2. Create an account on our portal if you do not have a login yet.
  3. Once you are logged in, apply for a building permit and when asked what type of project, select deconstruction of structure.
  4. Important information when filling out the online application:
    1. Please indicate in the project description that the permit is for site cleanup due to the Marshall Fire. This will help us prioritize your permit request.
    2. The completed Right of Entry form to opt-out of the County’s debris removal program MUST be uploaded to the documents part of the online application for the application to be accepted. This form must be signed by the property owner. *Please note that this step is in addition to the submittal made to the Debris removal program.
    3. Please provide a basic aerial of the property that generally illustrates foundation location(s) and ash footprint in relation to property lines. (The ash footprint of a home is the concentrated burn area and directly informs the soil sample locations required to demonstrate that property has been adequately mitigated and is safe to rebuild.)
    4. If hiring a Contractor, your contractor must have at least a Class M contractor license with Boulder County Community Planning & Permitting before the permit can be issued.
  5. After submitting your application, you will receive an automated email within 1-2 business days indicating that the permit is ready for payment, including instructions on how to submit payment.
  6. After payment has been received, your permit and supporting documents will be emailed out to you within 1-2 business days. Once you receive the permit, please be sure to carefully read through all the conditions listed on the permit for important instructions on what needs to be done onsite before, during, and after the debris removal/site clean-up work is completed.
  7. All site clean-up permits will be required to be closed out prior to the issuance of any rebuilding permits on the property. In order to close out your site clean-up permit, you must pass the following inspections, as well as provide haul receipts and/or soils test results:
    1. Utility capping inspection to verify that utilities have been safely disconnected. Contact the Health Department at (303) 441-1190 for questions on proper abandonment of the septic system.
      1. Schedule this through the IVR system at 303-441-3925, option 1. You will need the BP# from your permit, ex. BP-22-XXXX, please use inspection code #49, and indicate that the inspection is for utility capping. *Do not end the inspection request call until you have received a confirmation number, otherwise the inspection will not get scheduled.
    2. Pre-Clean-up Inspection (only for those choosing to remove 12” of soil) to verify existing grade prior to soil removal
      1. This inspection should be done at the same time as the Utility Capping Inspection, so please indicate that inspection code #49 is also for your pre-clean-up inspection.
    3. Final Inspection
      1. Schedule this through the IVR system at 303-441-3925, option 1. You will need the BP# from your permit, ex. BP-22-XXXX, please use inspection code #69. *Do not end the inspection request call until you have received a confirmation number, otherwise the inspection will not get scheduled.
      2. Confirmation that the foundation is removed, the site is cleaned up of all ash/debris and that either fencing is around the open hole or graded to a natural grade and stabilized, seeded and erosion and sediment control is installed, depending on if property owners will or will not be rebuilding immediately (per the above options).
    4. Submit documentation to ezbp@bouldercounty.org of one of the following:
        1. If 12” of soil was removed from the ash footprint, Haul Receipts from an approved landfill must be submitted, or
        2. If only 3” to 6” of soil was removed from the ash footprint, the soil test results demonstrating that minimum standards have been met must be submitted.
  8. Please note that, in addition to the Class M license that is required for the Site Cleanup permit, all hauling companies operating within Boulder County that collect, transport, or dispose of discarded materials (trash, recyclables, compostables, construction and demolition materials, aggregate, or landscaping materials) must obtain a Hauler License.

Site Cleanup Requirements for those Opting Out of the County’s Debris Removal Program

Before Work Begins

  • Upon issuance of the debris removal/site clean-up permit, you must post the site address on the site so that it is clearly visible.
  • Erosion and sediment control measures shall follow the site clean-up detail (provided at issuance of your permit), be installed prior to site-cleanup, and remain in place after site cleanup is complete.
  • The owner or operator must obtain a Colorado Storm Water General Permit for Construction Activities and a Boulder County Stormwater Quality Permit for all construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land, as well as activity that disturbs less than one acre but is part of a larger common plan of development. Exceptions may exist. Please contact tdstormwater@bouldercounty.org for more information.
  • You must obtain permission from adjoining property owners in order to trespass onto another person’s property. Trespassing without permission may result in a stop work order or other enforcement actions by the County. You may not access the property from any adjoining County owned property, other than public street rights of way.
  • Contractors should consult with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at (303) 844-5285 (Denver) to determine training and personal protective equipment that will be required for those handling this material.
  • A Hauler License with Boulder County Resource Conservation Division is required prior to any waste disposal.
  • Debris removal/site clean-up work is limited to the hours of 7am to 8pm on weekdays and 8am to 8pm on weekends and holidays.
  • Call 811 to have utility locates placed on the property for gas, electrical, water, and sewer services so that our Building Inspectors can properly identify the services during the utility capping inspection.

Debris Removal

  • Contractor is required to remove all ash and debris, metals, concrete, and dead or damaged hazardous trees (e.g., trees that endanger onsite workers, neighbor’s homes or public rights of way) that will not survive for at least 5 years (based on the evaluation of a certified Arborist) and dispose of all materials properly.
  • To prevent the risk of ash and debris contaminating deeper clean soils, the area that requires excavating shall be cleared with a straight blade.
  • You must adhere to all local and State guidelines for debris removal, including but not limited to the following:
    • Contractor must always take adequate dust control measures, including applying water to ash and materials during disturbance and loading.
    • Do not overwater. Contractor must prevent runoff of dust control water beyond the property boundary and entry into the storm drain system or a watercourse.
    • Contractor must completely remove and dispose of the foundation or submit a letter from a licensed Structural Engineer certifying that the foundation is acceptable for reconstruction.
    • Ash/debris must be wetted to minimize dust and packaged inside a container (such as an end-dump roll-off or truck) lined with double 6-mil plastic sheeting with PET sheeting completely closed over the material and sealed once the container is loaded.
    • Ash and debris must then be disposed of at an approved landfill. Please see attachment to permit card for a list of the approved landfills.
    • You must contact the landfill before you want to dispose your items, and you must have your Hauler’s License in order to do so.
    • Materials that are to be sorted for recycling must meet any State or County guidelines and be generally free of ash and debris.

Soil Removal and Testing

Due to the risk of soil contamination from fire debris and ash, all demolition contractors must remove debris and ash so that the property is visually clean and must remove soil over impacted areas using one of the following two options:

  1. Remove 12” of soil over the ash footprint. No soil testing is required, but Haul Receipts from an approved landfill for the soil removed must be submitted for verification.
  2. Remove 3” to 6” of soil over the ash footprint. After removal of the soil, a qualified environmental consultant must conduct a RCRA 8 Soils Test by EPA Method 6020/6010D/7471B.

Residential burn debris screening levels for metals

Metal Screening Level (mg/kg)1
Arsenic2 11
Barium 15,000
Cadmium 7.1
Chromium (Total)3 120,000
Lead 400
Mercury4 11
Selenium 390
Silver 390

1Unless otherwise noted, the screening level represents the EPA regional screening level for residential exposure to soil. Last updated by EPA November 2021.
2The arsenic screening level represents the state background level of arsenic in Colorado soil per the CDPHE Risk Management Guidance for Evaluating Arsenic Concentrations in Soil. The EPA regional screening level for inorganic arsenic is 0.68 mg/kg.
3Value for chromium III
4Value for elemental mercury
5Value for soluble salts of nickel

If testing shows soil contamination beyond set standards, additional soil removal shall be required and retesting until minimum cleanup standards are met. The number of soil samples required shall be determined by the following table:

Estimated Sq. Feet of Ash Footprint Number of Samples
0-1,000 sq. ft. 2
1,001-1,500 sq. ft. 3
1,501-2,000 sq. ft. 4
2,0001-5,000 sq. ft. 5
>5,000 sq. ft. TBD based on a consultation with environmental consultant

Permit Closeout Options

  • Rebuilding immediately: If a property owner intends to build on the property within 180 days, a temporary construction fence may be installed around the perimeter of the property during this interim period, and all erosion and sediment control measures must be in place. Permit holder must schedule an inspection through the IVR system to approve the interim condition. A final inspection will be required as a condition of issuing the building permit for reconstruction. If the property owners decide to not rebuild immediately, the site must be restored to the standards in the following sections and final inspection requested.
  • Not rebuilding immediately: To close out the debris removal/site clean-up permit if a permit for the reconstruction will not be issued within 180 days, excavated areas must be backfilled and the site graded to a natural grade, areas of disturbed soil must be seeded and stabilized, and all erosion and sediment control must be in place until the vegetation is at least 70% established.

Permit Inspections and Documentation

All site clean-up permits will be required to be closed out prior to the issuance of any rebuilding permits on the property. In order to close out your site clean-up permit, you must pass the following inspections, as well as provide haul receipts and/or soil test results:

  • Utility Capping Inspection to verify that utilities have been safely disconnected (please be sure to contact 811 for locates to be placed prior to calling for this inspection). Contact the Health Department at (303) 441-1190 for questions on proper abandonment of the septic system.
    • Schedule this through the IVR system at 303-441-3925, option 1. You will need the BP# from your permit, ex. BP-22-XXXX, please use inspection code #49, and indicate that the inspection is for utility capping.
      *Do not end the inspection request call until you have received a confirmation number, otherwise the inspection will not get scheduled.
  • Pre-Clean-up Inspection (only for those choosing to remove 12” of soil) to verify existing grade prior to soil removal
    • This inspection should be done at the same time as the Utility Capping Inspection, so please indicate that inspection code #49 is also for your pre-cleanup inspection.
  • Final Inspection to confirm that the foundation is removed, the site is cleaned up of all ash/debris, and that either fencing is around the open hole or property is graded to a natural grade and stabilized, seeded, and erosion and sediment control is installed, depending on if property owners will or will not be rebuilding immediately (per the above options).
    • Schedule this through the IVR system at 303-441-3925, option 1. You will need the BP# from your permit, ex. BP-22-XXXX, please use inspection code #69.
      *Do not end the inspection request call until you have received a confirmation number, otherwise the inspection will not get scheduled.
  • Submit Documentation to ezbp@bouldercounty.org of one of the following:
    • If 12” of soil was removed from the ash footprint, Haul Receipts from an approved landfill must be submitted, or
    • If only 3” to 6” of soil was removed from the ash footprint, the soil test results demonstrating that minimum standards have been met must be submitted.

More Resources

For a complete list of submittal checklists, forms, and publications, view Building Publications or Planning Publications.

Contact Us

Building Safety & Inspection Services

Email: Ask a Building Official
Main: 303-441-3926

Courthouse Annex Building

2045 13th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Tuesdays the department is open by appointment only from 12:30–4:30 p.m.
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Mailing Address

Building Safety & Inspection Services
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306
www.BoulderCounty.org