Do you need a Denver licensed general contractor for a remodel?

8 Replies

Hi BP Denver community,

I am trying to sale our house in Denver proper and we are running into a road block because the basement is only partially finished and was done back in the 70s.  It definitely needs a remodel to be comfortable for anyone wanting to use it. It has a bathroom, non confirming bedroom, and a living area.  I am reaching out to contractors about remodeling the basement.  They are saying I would only need an electrical permit and maybe a plumbing permit.  I choose to be on the cautionary side and would like to hire a licensed Residential C contractor in the city of Denver in case an inspector comes along and says, "you need a full permit for this remodel".

I have reached out to a lot of "contractors". So far I received 3 bids and two of them are not licensed in Denver and failed to mention that before they came out for a bid, even though I asked. I guess I wasn't specific enough, need to ask: "are you licensed in DENVER". I have to share... when I asked one contractor for their license information, they sent me their LLC registration....really!!!!

Anyways....I am starting to second guess myself....should I not be so stringent and be more open to hiring a "contractor" that has a license outside of Denver and works with licensed Electricians and Plumbers within Denver??


What are you trying to do exactly? Master electricians and plumbers can pull their own permits. I use Maldonado plumbing & hvac and Sutton Electric. I can give you  their info if you want. Keep in mind, everyone is EXTREMELY busy. 

Pull permits so you don't have to disclose you didn't. 

Usually if you have just cosmetic work it doesn’t require a permit and so you can get away with out a licensee contractor. In your case, finishing up a basement - if you’re adding conforming windows- would require a permit. Basement finishes require permits - not just electrical and plumbing - since basement walls usually need to be floated and fire blocked properly, and structural needs to weigh in if you’re creating egress windows.
In my opinion any contractor who isn’t licensed isn’t really a contractor at all and I would be wary of hiring them to do work if this scope. If they are licensed already in one city it’s not that hard to get a license in another. Usually Denver license is the hardest to get som other cities accept that, so I’m curious what city are they licensed in?!

Thanks @Matt M. and @Dorothy Ma for your responses. 

Here is the SOW I need done, the finished basement area is 755sqft.  One "contractor" I found is licensed in Park County.  I realize most contractors won't be able to begin until September at the earliest.   If you have any recommendations for a Denver licensed General Contractor, I would greatly appreciate it.

Living Area:

- Demo carpet, bar, and paneling

- redo electric to code: outlets and lights

- drywall and paint

- install carpet


- no demo is required

- install electric: outlets and lights (currently only a light is fed in this area, no wire feed for outlets)

- install bedroom door

- install closet

- build egress window

- drywall and paint

- carpet


- Demo entire bathroom (probably only 15 sqft max)

- expand bathroom into utility space about 1 foot

- redo shower pan and install pre-manufactured shower

- relocate shower head

- floors: prefer to stain concrete if possible

- install new vanity

- may need to relocate toilet to be to code


- remove old water heater not in use to expand out bathroom

- relocate upstairs living room air vent to expand out bathroom

- HVAC for basement should not be needed.

To complete that SOW you'll need a permit in Denver. A GC that is not licensed in Denver won't be able to pull the proper permits. Technically in Denver if you are replacing any drywall that is over a 4x8 sheet you are supposed to get a permit. Obviously that would be pretty hard for anyone to track down but since your scope is quite a bit bigger and Denver realtors are getting quite savvy when it comes to remodels it would be in your best interest to get it done to code and inspected so that you don't have any issues while trying to close the deal.

Just like ABC - Always Be Closing - APP applies here. Always Pull Permits! It's the last thing you need when you're closing and it often bites you when you're in rehab. Lenders also want to see a scope of work and draw schedule that includes a licensed contractor with insurance, both GL and Comp. Always call the carrier to verify.

this is interesting.. in most states I work in the GC license is a state license one is not needed for a city..