How to Solve the No Building Permit Conundrum in Larimer County

How to Solve the No Building Permit Conundrum in Larimer CountyUnfinished Home

You’ve just found the home of your dreams!  Even better, your offer has been accepted ahead of all the others!  Congratulations!  Your due diligence period begins and your inspector tells you everything looks good.  You’ve asked for any documentation in the Seller’s possession relating to improvements done to the Property.  They have a few receipts for various projects they completed on their own but nothing major.  The basement is finished and the Sellers indicate it was finished by the previous owners.  The current Sellers didn’t do a permit search for the basement build-out when they bought it – but you’re thorough and want to know if a permit was indeed pulled for the additional bedroom, rec/theatre room, and spacious 3/4 bathroom that completes this perfect home.  You inquire with the local buildling authority and nothing appears in their archive except the original construction permit which indicated the basement was left unfinished.

StormCloudCan you feel the stormclouds gathering?  It’s like all the sunshine has been snuffed out by a pall of cold, grey sleet.  You’ve heard horror stories of militant building and safety inspectors demanding holes cut in the drywall around every switch, receptacle and light fixture.  The ceiling has to be cut open to reveal how the copper tubing was run to supply the plumbing in the bathroom and… well, you get the picture.  Your dream home has just turned into a nightmare.

Aside from the simple uncertainty of whether the work done was completed by a licensed professional or not, of paramount importance to you and your family is their health and safety and whether the work was done to building code standards.  Who is liable if one of those systems fails?  Questions that would never have come up had their been a permit consume your thoughts and keep you awake at night.

Thankfully, Larimer County has taken steps to provide homeowners with options for situations just like this.  The Department of Planning and Building Services offers an alternative resolution to exposing concealed construction items.  It is called an  “As-Built Certificate of Observable Compliance”.  It still requires inspections and certifications by licensed tradespeople as well as a Life-Safety Inspection by a Code Compliance Officer (see the Life-Safety Checklist here).  Yes, there are fees involved and time – but to be able to get the peace of mind that this As-Built Certificate can provide is priceless.  Check out the details at

Please Note:  This information is for areas of unincorporated Larimer county where municipal entities do not have jurisdiction over building and safety permits and inspections.