Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need a building permit?

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.

How can I confirm if my building project requires a building permit?

The Community Planning 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.

Do I need to hire a contractor or I can do work myself?
Nothing prohibits a homeowner from doing work on their own home. So, the answer to whether you need to hire a contractor largely lies with your own abilities to do the work you propose. For example, if you feel uncomfortable doing electrical wiring you may wish to hire an electrical contractor although you may do the work yourself. In either case, make sure you check on the permitting requirements for the type of work you are proposing to do.

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.
Are contractors required to be licensed?
Minnesota law requires residential builders, remodelers, and roofers to be licensed as a means to help protect homeowners. Contractors are required to include their license number in any contracts submitted to you as well as in any advertising. Contractors are required to provide proof of licensure when they obtain building permits. You can verify if a contractor is licensed via the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website https://www.dli.mn.gov/business/residential-contractors/residential-contractor-faqs

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.
How can I apply for a building permit?

Applications for a building permit must be applied for online from the City of Marshall website (https://mn-ci-marshall.onegov.rtvision.com/core/login.php). 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.

What is a procedure for a building permit application?

You will have to sign an application electronically before submitting it.  You will have to pay a building permit fee at a time of application or ASAP, 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.

How much will my building permit cost?

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.

What else do I need to submit to get my building permit?

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.

What other permits may I need?

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.

What should be included in the set of submitted construction documents?

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 one half size sets will be required. Please see our Required Construction Documents page for more information.

Do I need to have my work inspected?

All work shall be inspected regularly and at the completion of the project. For most projects, a list of required inspections will be available on the web 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.  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.

How long can I work on my project?

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.

What else should I be aware of if I plan to do some improvement?

The City Ordinance requires that building address numbers be 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.

Why do we need Building Code?

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.