When Do I Need a Building Permit?


Do I need a permit? 

Whenever a building is constructed, or when a building is altered in a way regulated by the building code, a building permit is required before construction starts.  Besides new construction, some examples of work requiring review and/or a permit include, but are not limited to:

  • Roofing and re-shingling
  • Replacing windows, doors or siding
  • Adding a room
  • When installing or removing sheet rock
  • Finishing a basement
  • Building a garage
  • Building a deck
  • Building a storage shed over 200 square feet
  • New sump pump installation
  • Replacement or addition of drain, waste and vent
  • Water heater replacement
  • Installation/replacement of heating and/or cooling appliances

You don’t need a permit if your improvements include only:

  • Painting
  • Wallpapering
  • Cabinet or vanity replacement
  • Installation of carpeting, vinyl or wood flooring
  • Plumbing service, i.e. faucet repair, drain augering
  • Portable heating and cooling appliances, i.e. window mounted air conditioners

Do I need a contractor? 

As a homeowner-occupant, you may obtain a permit for any construction to your own home without hiring a contractor.  Owners of other properties may perform some building projects, but plumbing, mechanical, and electrical improvements must be performed by a licensed bonded contractor.  A property owner performing construction work will be responsible for complying with all laws and ordinances just as a contractor would be. 

If you do hire a contractor, Minnesota law requires residential building contractors and plumbing and electrical contractors to be licensed in the State of Minnesota and to provide the license number on all bids and advertisements.  Mechanical contractors are required to be bonded with the State of Minnesota.

How do I find a good contractor? 

The City of Moorhead does not endorse any specific contractor, but here are some suggestions:

Questions?  Contact Building Codes. You may also reach the office by telephone 218.299.5424.

I need a permit, what’s next?

The Building Official or other qualified inspector will review your plans and issue a permit after any adjustments are made to comply with the code. Starting work without a permit is a violation. Once the permit is issued, you may begin your project. On-site building inspections will be conducted to verify that construction complies with the applicable codes. When you get your permit, Building Codes staff will let you know at what point(s) during the construction inspections are needed