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Rural Living for Ocotber 29, 2009

Building permits

by Carol Dunn

HUERFANO– If you are planning some work on your home/homestead, building permits may seem like an unnecessary step.  In a way, they seem intrusive and merely an added expense.  However, if you plan to market your property in the future, you may not be able to list your improvements in your listing description if they were not properly permitted and inspected.  It is far better in the long run to comply with permitting laws in your area.

    A permit is required if you are planning to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure; if you are planning to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system; or if you pay someone else to complete this work.  You are responsible to obtain the necessary permit(s) if your contractors do not.

    There are exceptions that do not require a permit: tool and storage sheds and playhouses up to 120 square feet; fences not over 6 feet high; retaining walls not over 4 feet high; water tanks supported on grade with less than 5,000 gallons capacity; sidewalks and driveways; minor gas and mechanical repairs and maintenance; painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work; pre-fab swimming pools less than 24“ deep; swings and other playground equipment; window awnings supported by an exterior wall and extending less than 54”.  If in doubt, see your building inspector for more details.

    The contact numbers for the local building departments are: City of Walsenburg 738-1046; Town of La Veta 742-3631; and Huerfano County 738-1220.  Electrical permits are available online at: .  Plumbing permits are available online at: .  Permit costs depend on the value of the project.

    Huerfano County has special wind load, snow load, frost depth, live load and dead load specifications and requirements.  These standards are stated in the 2006 International Building Code and 2006 International Residential Code manuals.  For more information on these, see

    Your building inspector will work with you to make sure your project is completed properly and to the standards required in Huerfano County.