Frequently Asked Questions
State Building Code says that a permit is required by anyone who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change use of a structure, building or a portion of a building. This would include any work to the permanent weather resistive surfaces of the dwelling such as the siding, windows or roof. There are very few exceptions to building permit requirements, most notably cabinet work and interior finish work. All plumbing work requires a separate permit. Please see our What Requires a Building Permit page for more information.
The Building Inspection and Zoning Department is happy to respond to all your questions regarding permits, construction, and placement on the property. Call them at 507-537-6773 between 8 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. weekdays or leave a message anytime.
If the building is a commercial building, you may do work on property you own without hiring a contractor and without a license. Exceptions to this include plumbing, mechanical, and electrical work that must be performed by licensed contractors. If you apply for a building permit, you become responsible for all Code compliance and inspections. This link from the State may be helpful: https://www.dli.mn.gov/workers/homeowners/tips-hiring-contractor.
If your contractor asks you to obtain a permit for him and tells you that he can do the work cheaper because he is not licensed, he should be reported immediately to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has a number of handouts available about hiring a residential contractor. You are encouraged to contact them or visit their web site for more information.
Applications for a building permit may be filled out at the Public Works Department, second floor of the Municipal Building located at 344 West Main Street. As an alternative, you can apply on-line, from the City of Marshall website. You will need your contractor’s name, address, phone number, and license number. However, the best way is to ask your contractor to apply for a building permit himself: in this case he is responsible for all code related issues. All contractors doing residential work with few exceptions have to be licensed by the State; in addition, contractors performing work (except re-roofing and re-siding) on houses older than 1978 have to be lead certified. In the event of a licensed contractor’s poor performance, State funds may be available to remedy the situation. Nevertheless, you can be your own contractor on the dwelling you live in and do your own work.
You will have to sign an application, either on paper or electronically, before submitting it. You will have to pay a building permit fee at a time of application or ASAP if you apply through the website so you will have to provide a project valuation, which is the cost of materials and labor for the project even if you do the work yourself; therefore, you will need an estimate of the project valuation. Please apply as early as possible before you intend to start the project so we can resolve any issues. Please remember that an application for building permit does not become an actual building permit until you submit a full payment and a Building Official signs it after review. Therefore, you cannot start working on your project until you receive a signed building permit and a colored copy for window display. This may take several days depending on the project extent and the time of your payment. Please see our Building Permit Application Process page for more information.
Please see our Fee Schedule page. Your building permit fee will depend on your project valuation which must include both materials and labor even if you do the work yourself.
All applications shall be accompanied by construction documents or minimal information describing the project. The purpose of developing a set of plans is to provide a written document of the scope of your project. A staff member will review your plans to determine in advance that the proposed work complies with the various building rules. In order for the review to be a help to the builder or owner, it is important that the plans be as detailed as possible. The goal is to uncover potential problem areas while the project is still on paper and save costly corrections later.
If you are disturbing more than 2,000 SF of land during your project, you will need a Land Disturbance permit that should be secured through Engineering Department. A building permit cannot be issued until this permit is approved. Additionally, Excavation on Right-of-way, Sanitary Sewer Connection permit, and Driveway permit may be required if related work is performed. Plumbing permit is always required for all plumbing work even if plumbing valuation is included in the building permit valuation.
Plans should be detailed and be neatly drawn to a useable scale. All interior remodeling projects shall include a dimensioned layout of the remodeled space. All projects involving new buildings, structures, or additions, including decks, shall include dimensioned site plan showing property lines and location of work, dimensioned building plans, exterior elevations, and construction materials information. All reroofing projects need information on roof type and roof slope and attic ventilation information. And finally window and door replacement projects shall include information on type, material, and U-value of doors and windows installed in heated spaces along with size and location of egress windows. You can also make an appointment to review your project on site or in the City Hall office to resolve all questions and issues in advance. Residential and small commercial projects will require just one set of construction documents. For larger commercial projects, one full size set and two half size sets will be required. One half size set will be stamped after review and corrections and send back; this set will have to be kept on site and available to building inspectors upon request. Please see our Required Construction Documents page for more information.
All work shall be inspected regularly and at the completion of the project. For most projects, an inspection card which will list all required inspections will be sent out along with your building permit. City of Marshall building inspectors are trying to visit and inspect all projects regularly; however, calls for required inspections are contractors’ and/or owners’ responsibility. Each issued permit is accompanied by an “Inspection Card” that lists all Code required inspections. It is a duty of the permit applicant to make sure that work remains accessible and exposed for inspection purposes and to notify building inspectors on time about readiness for inspection. Please make appropriate plans and let us know at least 24 hours in advance of a required inspection.
So long as you actually keep working on your project and call for inspections, your permit will never expire. The only exception to this is that your exterior projects such as re-siding and re-roofing have to be completed within 6 months of commencement according to the City Ordinance. However, if you stop working on your project or do not inform us of your progress, your permit will expire in 180 days after suspension of the work. To prevent this from happening, please call for inspections regularly; if you do need to take a pause with your project, please let us know and we may be able to extend your permit.
The City Ordinance requires that building address numbers are placed on all buildings so they are readable from the street. This measure allows emergency personnel to locate all buildings quickly and efficiently. The Public Safety Department has requested this Ordinance be enforced. Therefore, each building permit application will trigger an inspection of the building exterior. The State Building Code requires that all residential structures have smoke and CO detectors installed in specific locations so every building permit application for any residential interior work except mechanical work will result in a dwelling inspection. If compliant address numbers are not displayed on the exterior wall or smoke and/or CO detectors are missing, inoperable, or not installed per Code, it will be a building permit applicant’s responsibility to provide and install them.
Life safety is the primary concern. Building codes also provide a minimum standard for construction to protect future owners and the value of the property and to keep insurance rates reasonable. In addition, building codes ensure energy conservation and healthy environment.
The new Residential Code has been adopted by the State of Minnesota and became effective in March 31, 2020. There are some significant changes from the previous Codes that may affect your construction project. The new Residential Code is available for viewing on-line https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/document/1581. You can call Marshall Inspection Department with any questions at 507-537-6773 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays or leave a message at any time. In addition, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has a very helpful website with a lot of information.