Colorado Building Codes

Colorado is a home rule state and does not have a mandatory statewide energy code. For a list of jurisdictional energy code adoptions, please click here.

Current Commercial Code of Colorado

No statewide code. Local jurisdictions independently adopt and enforce building codes suitable for their specific needs. Many municipalities, including Denver and Colorado Springs, have adopted the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) with local amendments. Boulder further extends these requirements with stringent energy efficiency and environmental sustainability amendments.

Compliance and Enforcement: Building codes are enforced by local building departments, which are responsible for overseeing building plan reviews, issuing permits, and conducting inspections to ensure compliance with locally adopted codes.

Current Residential Code

colorado code

No statewide code.

In response to growing environmental and energy concerns, Colorado legislation has continually updated its minimum energy code requirements. As of the latest updates, most Colorado jurisdictions adhere to the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) or newer as their minimum energy standard. This change reflects the state’s commitment to improving energy efficiency in residential construction. According to the latest research by the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) as part of its Compliance Planning Assistance (CPA) program, the vast majority of Colorado citizens now live in jurisdictions that have adopted the 2018 IECC or later editions, marking a significant advancement from the previously widespread adoption of the 2003 IECC.

Code Enforcement

Energy codes are not enforced at the state level, except for public buildings, manufactured and modular housing, and hotels and high-rise residential buildings in jurisdictions without an energy code. Local enforcement agencies in jurisdictions that have adopted building codes are required to enforce the provisions of the residential energy code at the local level, but may adopt their own requirements without state approval. Inspections are required as a part of the established building inspection process.

The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) works in close partnership with building departments to provide energy code training, information and other resources to support local adoption and implementation.

The energy office also provides an Energy Code Support Partnership (ECSP) toolkit to support various stakeholders in the adoption of the latest model energy codes.

Climate Zones: 4B, 5B, 6B, 7

Code Adoption and Change Process

Code Change Process

Legislative: Local jurisdictions can and do adopt their own energy code requirements, but a statewide energy code would have to be promulgated by the state legislature. The legislature meets in regular session during January each year unless the previous year’s legislature amends the date of next convening through a joint resolution.

Code Change Cycle

No set schedule

Next Code Update

Unknown


History

2021 Many local jurisdictions continue to adopt the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and newer versions, enhancing energy efficiency requirements in residential construction.
June 13, 2011 The Denver City Council unanimously adopts the 2009 IECC in its update to the 2011 Denver Building Code for new home and commercial construction, renovations, and additions. This makes Denver the largest Colorado city to adopt the national model energy code. The new energy code will achieve approximately a 15% increase in energy efficiency compared to the performance of homes built to the current Denver energy code, and a 5% increase in energy efficiency for commercial building tenants and owners. The code takes effect on October 17, 2011.
January 2010 The Governor’s Energy Office announces a wide variety of grant opportunities available as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Grant categories include energy efficiency in historic buildings, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in commercial and industrial settings, LEED for existing buildings, energy efficiency expansion and training, and innovative products and services.
December 1, 2009 The City and County of Denver Development Services Department begins the public consideration of the 2010 Denver Building Code, comprised of the 2009 International Code Council (ICC) Codes – including the 2009 IECC – and proposed amendments. During a series of seven public hearings during early 2009, the Combined Board of Appeals (CBOA) heard stakeholders’ statements and selected the amendments to include in the 2010 Denver Building Code. The final version of the Codes will be submitted, as an ordinance, to City Council.
May 3, 2007 The state legislature passes HB 07-1146, improving the energy performance of the state’s new buildings as part of a comprehensive energy strategy that begins with energy efficiency and incorporates renewable energy technologies. HB 07-1146 requires all Colorado jurisdictions that have adopted any building code to adopt a minimum energy code standard at least as stringent as the 2003 IECC effective July 1, 2008. It serves as a de facto mandatory minimum code for jurisdictions already following building codes.
1978 The Colorado legislature passes a law requiring all jurisdictions that have adopted building codes to include energy efficiency requirements for both residential and commercial buildings. The energy requirement at this time is based on Chapter 53 of the 1979 Uniform Building Code (UBC) – a codified version of ASHRAE Standard 90-1975. A sunset provision is included for commercial buildings requiring the legislature to specifically extend the provisions for those buildings. The legislature fails to act and the commercial requirements are terminated in 1980, except for jurisdictions that have adopted this code prior to this termination.

Contacts

Rick Hanger
Housing Technology and Standards Manager
Department of Local Affairs
Division of Housing

Email: rick.hanger@state.co.us

Zach Owens
Residential Buildings
Program Manager
Colorado Energy Office
Email: zachary.owens@state.co.us

Jeff Ackermann
Director
Colorado Energy Office
Email: Jeffrey.Ackermann@dora.state.co.us

Jim Meyers
Director
Buildings Efficiency Program
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
Email: jmeyers@swenergy.org

Christine Brinker
Senior Associate
Buildings Efficiency Program
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
Email: cbrinker@swenergy.org


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