According to the Building Code, “An owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert, or replace any gas, mechanical, electrical, plumbing system, or other equipment, the installation of which is regulated by the code; or cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.” (Minnesota Rules 1300.0120, Subp. 1).

The Building Code exempts the following work from the Permit requirements (Minnesota Rules 1300.0120, Subp. 4):

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  • One-story detached accessory structures, used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses, and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet;
  • Fences not over seven feet high;
  • Retaining walls that are not over four feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or III-A liquids;
  • Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1;
  • Sidewalks and driveways that are not part of an accessible route;
  • Decks and platforms not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade and not attached to a structure with frost footings and which is not part of an accessible route;
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar finish work;
  • Temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery;
  • Prefabricated swimming pools installed entirely above ground accessory to dwelling units constructed to the provisions of the International Residential Code, which do not exceed both 5,000 gallons in capacity and a 24-inch depth;
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support, when constructed under the International Residential Code;
  • Movable partitions not over five feet, nine inches in height; and
  • Swings and other playground equipment;
  • Portable mechanical and gas equipment;
  • Ordinary repairs to structures. The repairs shall not include the opening or removal of any wall, partition, or portion of a wall or partition, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement, or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring, or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.

Exemptions from permit requirements of the code do not authorize work to be done in any manner in violation of the Code or any other laws or ordinances.