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Permit Requirements

Rum River Inspection Staff often receive general questions about permits and building codes.  We've answered a few of the most commonly asked questions:
Why Do I Need a Permit?
For most people their home and/or business property is their most important investment.  If improvements are constructed improperly or without permits, your property may lose value and become unsafe.  All homes and properties are eventually sold.  Upon sale, work done without required permits must be disclosed.  Building code violations may impede or devalue the sale of the property.  If after-the-fact permits become necessary, you may find yourself struggling to catch up.  Sometimes work must be dismantled and rebuilt for inspections and repairs to meet code standards.
Is Receiving a Permit Difficult?
Obtaining a permit from Rum River Consultants is quick, easy, reasonably priced and lets us help your project succeed.
  • Quick - Residential projects are typically reviewed and approved by our staff immediately, or within a week to 10 business days, once all required informational submittals have been provided.  Commercial permits are typically reviewed and approved within 10 to 15 business days, depending on the complexity of the project.  Please note, timeframes can be impacted by other entities outside of RRC, such as planning and zoning or engineering, prior to the issuance of the building permit.
  • Easy - Our processes allow for electronic submittal and plan review, allowing for decreased costs to our customers by saving on printing expenses, along with time and energy driving to and from the municipality to drop off permit information.  Baseline Online Permits is available in the majority of our jurisdictions.  For those not utilizing this platform, the municipality has their own version of online submittals.  Please visit your jurisdiction's tab on the Rum River website for more information.  Many of our jurisdictions also take payments via phone and/or online, allowing for streamlined processes and efficiency.
  • Reasonably Priced - Both residential and commercial building permit fees are based on the valuation of the project.  The jurisdictions we serve have typically adopted the  International Code Councils' valuation data that determines project valuation on a per square foot basis.  Therefore, building permit fees are fair, consistent and based on services provided rather than arbitrary valuation estimates.
  • Professional Customer Service Oriented Staff - Our staff have repeatedly been praised by customers, both in person and via our satisfaction surveys, indicating that we are helpful, knowledgeable, and easy to work with while assisting the applicant in complying with the building code.
Should I Apply For Permits or Should My Contractor?
Most commercial work is typically permitted and done by professional contractors.  Residential work, on the other hand, may be permitted and done by either a do-it-yourself homeowner or a licensed residential contractor.
If a contractor is hired to perform the work, please verify that the contractor is currently licensed by the State of Minnesota.  Ultimately, both the property owner and the contractor are responsible for building code compliance.  However, homeowners are often better served when the licensed residential contractor applies for and obtains required permits for the project.
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry provides tips for hiring a contractor for your project here.
What Kind of Work Requires a Permit?
One of our mantras is:  "When in doubt, fill it out."  In order to protect your property from some of the challenges referenced in "Why Do I Need A Permit?" it is better to have a record at the jurisdiction that you applied for a permit and it was found none was needed than to work in the other direction.
Building Permits

Building Permits are required to construct, expand, remodel, remove, repair or demolish a structure.

Examples include:

basement finishes, re-roofing, re-siding, swimming pools, garages, porches, sheds, etc.

Plumbing Permits

Plumbing Permits are required for new construction and any alterations to existing plumbing systems. 


Included are new plumbing installations, water heater or water softener replacement, backflow preventer installs, in-floor heat, etc.

HVAC Permits

HVAC or Mechanical Permits are required for the installation or replacement of mechanical systems in new and existing buildings. 


This includes furnaces, air conditioners, air to air exchangers, garage furnaces, gas fireplaces, etc.

Fire Suppression or Fire Alarm Permits

Fire Suppression / Sprinkler Permits are required for the installation, addition, or alteration of any wet, dry, chemical or other fire suppression systems in new and existing structures.  This does not include portable fire extinguisher installation, service, or maintenance.

Installation Permits

Septic Installation Permits are required to install or repair any septic system.   Any work (design or installation) completed on a septic system must be done by an individual licensed by the MN Pollution Control Agency.

Maintenance   Permits

Septic Maintenance Permits are required to pump a septic tank and complete scheduled maintenance.  The licensed septic maintainer/service provider will obtain

the permit through RRCC.

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