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Building Codes and Permit Requirements   arrow

The Routt County Regional Building Department is dedicated to serving the citizens of Routt County. Our primary goal is not to simply regulate, but to help educate and train the construction industry and serve as a resource for technical information in order to raise the level of awareness with regard to building safety.  Public service is our main function and the key element in administering the building codes that serve to protect the best interests of the citizens of the Routt County region.

The Building Department office is located on the second floor of the Courthouse Annex Building in downtown Steamboat Springs. Typical office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For specific information with reference to work schedules and availability to meet with staff members, please feel free to call the office at (970) 879-5566, or stop by for a personal visit.

Why Building Codes?

The purpose of building codes is to safeguard public health, safety, and welfare related to occupancy and use of buildings and structures. These objectives are met by regulating and controlling the design, materials, construction, fire and safety, occupancy, and other construction criteria for all buildings and building service equipment.

Routt County and the municipalities within it (Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Oak Creek, and Yampa) have each adopted a model building code and related codes, which contain provisions intended to provide a reasonable degree of safety to the citizens of Routt County.

Code Types

There are four different types of codes and each regulates the installation of that phase of work. Building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and energy conservation are the systems regulated by these codes.

Required Permits

Permits are required for all construction, installation, alteration, repair, and demolition to any building or building service equipment in Routt County (separate permits are required for building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, etc.). Certain types of work are exempt from permit requirements. It is very important that individuals contact the Building Department to fully understand what types of work are exempt from permits before proceeding.

The most commonly misunderstood permit exemption in rural Routt County is for agricultural buildings. The intent of the permit exemption for agricultural buildings is to allow individuals involved in an agriculturally based business to construct buildings used for the sole purpose of providing shelter for agricultural implements, farm products, livestock, or poultry. Therefore, buildings where the entire building or portions of it are used for storing items such as passenger motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, boats, etc., or which are used as workshops are not exempt from building permit requirements. If there is any question as to whether a permit is required, it is best to call and ask.

Permit Applications and Special Approvals

The Routt County Regional Building Department is currently responsible for the administration of building codes for all municipalities within the county, except the Town of Hayden, as well as unincorporated rural Routt County.

To obtain a permit, applicants are required to file an application for the proposed work at the Routt County Regional Building Department located in the Courthouse Annex Building in downtown Steamboat Springs. Applicants are required to provide the following information:

  • A description of the work to be covered by the permit for which application is made.
  • A description of the land on which the proposed work is to be done (i.e., legal description, street ad dress or similar description that will readily identify and definitely locate the proposed building or work).
  • Indicate the use or occupancy (i.e., residence, garage, etc.) of the building for which the work is intended. Three sets of plans and/or specifications that accurately describe the nature of the work to be performed. The valuation of all work for which application is made, to include all labor and material costs. (Note: The Building Department staff can assist with this information.)
  • The square footages of the job need to be given in relation to type of space (i.e., garage, finished/ unfinished, basement, deck square footages).

Plans and/or specifications that are submitted for review need to be drawn to scale and must be clear. For more detailed material as to what information is required to be included in plans and/or specifications a booklet entitled General Guidelines for Permits, Inspections, and Approvals may be obtained from the Building Department or online at .


There are fees for plan review and permits, and there may be additional fee assessments, such as use tax on building materials. Fees must be paid prior to the issuance of permits. Detailed information about the fee schedules for plan review and permits, and other fee assessments may be obtained from the Building Department and online.

Permit Issuance

After applications are completed, the Building Department will review, approve, and issue a permit. When a permit is issued, the Building Department will stamp the plans and specifications APPROVED. The approved plans are not to be changed or modified without authorization from the Building Department, and all work must be done in accordance with the approved plans. The Building Department may issue permits for parts of the project (i.e., foundation only and shell permits) before the entire plans for the building or building   service equipment have been submitted or approved. The holder of the partial permit may proceed without assurance that the permit for the entire building will be granted or that changes may be required based on the final plan review and approval.

Inspection Procedures

Construction work shall remain accessible and exposed for inspection purposes until approved by the Building Department. It is the responsibility of all permit holders to make sure that the work is ready for inspection and that the job is accessible and exposed for inspection purposes.