Jumping Through Hoops

7 Mar

We have heard nothing but horror stories about the arduous process that Boulder has designed to get a permit. We also heard of all the “extra” rules and regulations that Boulder has incorporated into their code. What we have heard was right! 

I’m not saying that the rules don’t in some cases make sense. In fact, many of them in the long run are better for the homeowner and better for the environment. However, the cost of some of these items make Boulder the most expensive county in Colorado to build in. 

For example: Boulder requires fire sprinkler systems in all new residential space exceeding 4000sf. Roughly a $10K addition. Boulder requires all houses to go through a HERS rating, requiring a special engineer that makes sure the home meets the requirements of insulation, window ratings, energy efficiency and airflow. So you have the engineer, then you have the testing at the end of the process to make sure the house is air tight. A good thing, but an extra $5K. Then there is the actual HVAC that requires an air exchange. Air exchangers run a couple thousand installed and they will make sure that air is circulating so many times per hour even if the heater/cooler isn’t on so the air is clean and safe. I see this as an advantage only in clearing the air that my gassy dogs emit 🙂

While were putting the finishing touches on the plan, we get the Home Owners Assoc approval. Next we get the approval that were not disturbing the Preble’s Jumping Mouse. Next it is the Historical Society structural review since the house is over 50 years old. And, the other Historical Society who looks at the land features to make sure no artifacts might be buried along the creek. A big approval is the one from the Floodplain Managers. Once we compiled all those approvals we submitted for our Permit! Valentines Day was the big day!

Oops, I forgot to mention the Asbestos! Of course we were required to test the place for Asbestos. Of course we found some in one wall measuring approximately 200 square feet. A two week Asbestos Mitigation Process began. Special guys that are certified by the state took down the affected drywall. They had to wear hazmat suits and shower in a temporary shower set up in our front yard. The one good thing is that when they were done we had one wall completely demo’d! Progress at the cost of $3,200, but I had my Asbestos Certificate to turn in with the permit.


Now were playing the waiting game. Everything for the permit is waiting with the County. The package was extremely complete…but we hit a snag. Just when we thought we’d have permit in hand the entire Boulder County Building Department staff goes to an offsite training for a week. Yup, a whole week, no engineers on site to sign off on our permit. Waiting, waiting, waiting….

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