Construction work that does not need a permit

We list construction work that can be done without a permit according to state law.

Minnesota State Building Code states the types of construction work that can be done without a permit.

Read Minnesota Rules 1300.0120

Exempt building work

A building permit is not required: 

  • Water tanks not exceeding 5,000 gallons
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar finish work (a permit is not required for the installation of hard surface floor finishes in apartments, condominium, and other multi-family buildings but must comply with sound transmission class (STC) ratings)
  • 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
  • Movable cases, counter, and partitions not over five feet, nine inches in height
  • Installation of insulation in wall cavities when the wall finish is not removed and in unfinished attic floors
  • 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
  • Certain window and door-related work:
    • Installation of storm windows and storm doors
    • Installation of vinyl jamb liner weather-stripping for existing window sash
    • Replacement of glass, screens, wood parts, and other minor repairs

Work that may need City Zoning or Public Works approval

The following projects do not require a building permit but may require Zoning or Public Works 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 structure (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 not over seven feet in height
  • Sheds, greenhouses, utility buildings, and screened porches, if detached and under 200 square feet in area, do not require a permit.  If these structures are attached to the house or garage a permit is always required.
  • Decks, platforms and stoops that are not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, are not attached to a structure with frost footings and that do not serve the required exit door of the dwelling
  • Sidewalks, walkways, and driveways on private property that are not part of an accessible route
  • Prefabricated, above-ground swimming pools not exceeding 5,000 gallons and a 24 inch depth
  • Playground equipment

Electrical permits

Electrical permits are issued by the state of Minnesota. Contact the State Board of Electricity for exempt work.

Mechanical permits (includes gas piping, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning work)

A mechanical permit is not required for:

  • Portable heating, cooking, or clothes drying equipment
  • 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
  • Portable heating, ventilation, or cooling appliances and equipment
  • Steam, hot, or chilled water piping within any regulated heating or cooling equipment
  • Portable evaporative coolers
  • Self-contained refrigeration systems
  • Capping an open gas line 

Plumbing permits

Unless the plumbing work poses an unsanitary or hazardous condition, the administrative authority Minneapolis Construction Code Services waives the permit, inspection, and testing requirements for the following plumbing work performed in one- and two-family dwellings,

  • The reconnection of an existing water supply line to a replacement appliance that is in like kind and does not involve the replacement or alteration of the existing water supply line.
  • Replacement of the internal working components of existing water closets, faucets, or valves.
  • Replacement of sink faucets when the work does not include alterations to the existing plumbing piping system; or
  • Replacement or resetting of water closets when the work does not include alterations to the existing plumbing piping systems.
  • Replacement of a clean-out plug
  • Minor repair of broken drain, waste, and vent pipes
  • Minor repair of leaking fixtures
  • Minor repair of leaking water pipes
  • Replacement of a dish washer
  • New or replacement of garbage disposals 

For more information about exempt plumbing, see the Minnesota Plumbing Code.

See Minnesota Plumbing Code MN Rules Chapter 4715

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. 

More information

  • The information provided is a summary of the Minnesota State Building Code. For a complete description, xxx
    See MN Rules 1300.0120
  • The value of work that is exempt from a permit may still be used in determining the total valuation of work that does require a permit.
  • Work that does not require a permit may still require that the contractor performing that work must be licensed.
    See contractor index

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Minneapolis Development Review

Community Planning & Economic Development


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505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 220
Minneapolis, MN 55415

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