What Requires a Permit?

The Minnesota State Building Code identifies the types of construction work that can be done without a permit. The following information is a summary from MN Rules 1300.0120 & 1300.0215.

A Building Permit is not required for:

  • Private residential pools that have a capacity of less than 3,000 gallons.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar finish work.
  • Decks and platforms not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade and not attached to a structure with frost footings. Manufactured homes require a permit for all decks. It is important to consider zoning ordinances and homeowners' association’s requirements when constructing a deck.
  • Installation of roof gutter systems (downspouts shall not be directed to adjacent properties).
  • Installation of soffit, fascia, trim, and other accessories.
  • Installation of battery operated or plug-in type smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or the repair or replacement of existing detectors.
  • Minor earth work associated with gardens or landscaping planters that do not affect drainage patterns.

The following types of window and door-related work is exempt from permits:

  • Installation of storm windows and storm doors.
  • Replacement of wood sash for prime windows.
  • Installation of vinyl jamb liner weather-stripping for existing window sash.
  • Replacement of glass, screens, wood parts, and other minor repairs.
  • Window awnings for one- or two-family dwellings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the wall and do not require additional support.

The following projects do not require a building permit but may require Zoning or City Engineering permit/approval:

  • Retaining walls not over four feet in height (height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall) unless supporting a surcharge (which may include buildings, pools, parking areas, streets, alleys, sidewalks, or other loads). It is suggested that you have a site plan review even for walls under four feet in height.
  • Fences that are not property line fences do not require a permit i.e. around your patio.
  • One-story detached accessory structures not exceeding 200 square feet (see shed handout).
  • Patios and sidewalks made of concrete or pavers.
  • Treehouse (with solid walls and or a roof).
  • Swings and other playground equipment.

Examples of work that require a building permit (but sometimes overlooked):

This list is not intended as a complete list of work that requires a building permit. For more information you may speak with a Building Inspector to determine if the work you are proposing requires a permit.

  • Installation of a foundation drainage system.
  • Basement egress window well.
  • Retaining walls over four feet in height.
  • Parking lot resurfacing (this does not apply to single family homes).
  • Residential driveway replacement.

A Mechanical Permit is not required for:

  • Portable heating, portable cooking, or portable A/C (window unit).
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment.
  • Portable fuel cell appliances not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.

Examples of mechanical work that require a permit:

This list is not intended as a complete list of work that requires a mechanical permit. For more information you may speak with a Building Inspector to determine if the work you are proposing requires a permit.

  • Install a heating appliance such as a furnace, garage heater, or boiler.
  • Install duct work, radiant heat, or in-floor heat.
  • Connect gas appliances, such as stoves, dryers, or fireplaces, to gas piping.
  • Install central air-conditioning.
  • Install radon mitigation systems.

A Plumbing Permit is not required for:*

  • Reconnection of an existing water supply line to a replacement appliance that does not involve the replacement or alteration of the existing water supply line
  • Replacement of the internal working components of existing toilets, faucets, or valves.
  • Replacement or resetting of toilets when the work does not include alterations to the existing plumbing piping systems.
  • Minor repair of broken drain, waste, and vent pipes.
  • Minor repair of leaking fixtures.
  • Minor repair of leaking water pipes.
  • Replacement of clothes washing machine.
  • New or replacement of garbage disposals.

*Unless the plumbing work poses an unsanitary or hazardous condition 

Examples of plumbing work that require a permit:

  • Installing new fixtures, such as a new sink, tub, shower and laundry tub etc.
  • Replacing a water heater.
  • Installing any new water piping or waste and vent.
  • Replace or installing a foundation drainage system.
  • Replace or installing a water softener.

This list is not intended as a complete list of work that requires a plumbing permit. For more information you may speak with a Building Inspector to determine if the work you are proposing requires a permit.

Emergency Repairs

Emergency repairs can be done without first obtaining the necessary permits but the permits must be obtained after the work has been completed within a reasonable timeframe. All work must be inspected prior to covering.

Additional Information

Electrical permits are issued at City Hall. Contact Peter Tokle at 763-754-2983 between the hours of 7AM to 8:30 AM, Monday through Friday (City Electrical Inspector) for questions regarding exempt work.