Building Information

Need an inspection for a project?

Call Metro West Inspection Services at 763-479-1720 to set up an appointment.  (24 hour notice is required)

Before you dig call:

 GOPHER STATE ONE-CALL at 1-800-252-1166 or dial 811 for locates

Building Permits Made Easier

Accessory Structures (Sheds, etc.)

All detached structures that are 120 square feet or larger require a zoning or building permit. In residential areas, accessory buildings may be built a size not to exceed 25 percent of the rear yard square feet or 1200 square feet, whichever is greater, unless approved by a conditional use permit. To measure the square feet of your back yard, the rule of thumb is to use the back wall of the house, then measure the square feet from the back wall to the rear property lines. Setbacks will be dependent on your address. Please call for the required setbacks. 

For a second accessory structure, you will be required to obtain a conditional use permit. A conditional use permit will require additional time and fees, so be prepared to include the extra time and fees in your budget.


Building Permits for Decks & Balconies


NOTE:  This information outlines only general code requirements with regard to deck construction.  For specific code requirements, please refer to the Minnesota State Building Code or call your local Building Inspector – Metro West Inspection Services at 763-479-1720. 

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS: Building permits are required for decks with the following exception: freestanding decks, regardless of size, if they are not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade. Freestanding decks do not require footings that extend below the frost depth. 

Building permits are not required for patios made of concrete or pavers on grade.

Electrical Work

Residential Electrical Inspections

Your building permit does not include electrical wiring.  A separate request for electrical inspection form with the required fees must be submitted to the Board of Electricity at or before commencement of any electrical installation. 

All wiring shall be inspected before it is concealed and the installer shall notify the inspector when the wiring is complete, before the wiring is utilized and the associated space occupied. 

Apply for an Electrical Permit through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Homeowners are required to be on site at the time of the inspection.

For any questions or for same day inspections, call Minnesota State Electrical Inspector Bill Husom at 763-684-0321 between the hours of 7:30 am and 8:30 am.


PERMIT REQUIREMENTS:  Building permits are required for construction of all new garages whether they are to be attached to the home or built as detached structures.  The building code in Minnesota differentiates between attached and detached garages and there are some differences in the requirements.  Garages must also meet the land use and setback requirements of the City Zoning Code and these too vary based on the type of garage to be built.  Zoning questions should be directed to the local Planning and Zoning Department.

PERMIT FEES:  The building permit fee is based on the project’s construction cost and is designed to cover the cost of plan review and the field inspections that will be done during construction. Construction inspections will be done during the project to insure code compliance and the materials you use are installed safely.  The plan review and inspections are not designed to be a guarantee of the work but are done to provide a reasonable degree of review and observation so the project will be successful, safe and long lasting.

INFORMATION NECESSARY WHEN APPLYING FOR A BUILDING PERMIT:  Information necessary for the Inspections division to do a proper job of plan review and to help the project go smoothly are as follows: 

1. Completed Application for permit 
2. 1 hard copy and PDF of site plan or survey 
3. 1 hard copy and PDF of floor plan 
4. 1 hard copy and PDF of elevations 

Remember the purpose of the plan review is for the inspector to use his or her experience to inform you of potential problems or make suggestions, so the more information shown on the plans the more likely your project will be successful.   

MINIMUM PLAN DETAIL NECESSARY FOR A PROPER PLAN REVIEW:  The following text and sample drawings show the minimum detail expected so the permit process can proceed smoothly.  Plans do not need to be professionally drawn but should include all of the information requested.  The application for permit can be filled out at the time you drop off your plans.  Permits can usually be handled by stopping in at city hall or by mail. 

SUBMIT 2 COPIES OF A CERTIFICATE OF SURVEY OR SITE PLAN:  The certificate of survey or site plan needs to be drawn to scale indicating the lot dimensions, the location and size of the existing structure(s), and the location and size of the proposed structure.  Indicate the setbacks from property lines of the existing and proposed structure(s).  See sample site plan.
Garage Image 2

SUBMIT 2 COPIES OF THE FLOOR PLAN SHOWING PROPOSED DESIGN AND MATERIALS:  All drawings need to be drawn to scale and the scale should be shown on the drawing.  Floor plans should include all of the following:

  1. Proposed size of garage
  2. Location and size of window and door openings
  3. Size of headers over all doors and window openings
  4. Size, spacing and direction of rafter (roof) materials
  5. Type (grade & species) of lumber to be used

Garage Image 1

All cross sections should include the following:
  1. Height of structure from grade
  2. Size and depth of footings
  3. Floor design and materials used
  4. Wall and roof construction and materials used

Note:  If truss roof system is to be used, submit 1 copy of stamped pre-engineered truss designs from the manufacturer.

Garage Image 3


LAND USE RESTRICTIONS:  Setbacks from property lines vary depending upon the city and zoning district your home is located in.  They may also vary dependent on whether the garage is attached to the home or detached.  Some communities have additional zoning provisions besides setbacks that may apply to a garage.  These may include, lot coverage, building height or limitations to the number and size of accessory structures on the lot.  Contact the Building or Planning Department in your community for the requirements in your location.  This is an important first step in the planning for any garage project.

BUILDING CODE REQUIREMENTS: FOOTINGS:  Footings must be extended below frost depth for all attached garages.  A “floating slab” may be used for the foundation support of detached garages up to 1000 square feet on all soils except peat and muck.  If a floating slab is used sod and root structures must be removed and replaced with 4 inch sand fill.  The perimeter of the slab must be thickened to a minimum vertical dimension of 12 inches at the edge. The bottom of the thickened edge must be at least 8 inches wide and then may be sloped upward to meet the bottom of slab at 45 degree angle.  The minimum slab thickness must be 3 1/2 inches.  The minimum concrete strength required is 3,000 pounds per square inch (28 day strength).  In cold weather, protect concrete from freezing until cured.  When slab is over 200 sq. feet in area, provide a minimum of reinforcement of 6 x 6 No. 10 gage wire mesh.  Over lap splices and bend down into the edge of the slab at least 6”.  When the slab is over 400 sq. feet in area, provide 2 – #4 re-bar around the perimeter of the slab.  Note:  Fiber mesh is not acceptable in place of wire mesh for structural slabs.ANCHOR BOLTS:  Foundation plates or sills must be bolted to the foundation with not less than 1/2 inch diameter steel bolts embedded at least 7 inches into the concrete and spaced not more than 6 feet apart.  There must be a minimum of two bolts per piece with one bolt located within 12 inches of each end of each piece.

SILL PLATES:  All foundation plates or sills and sleepers on a concrete or masonry slab, which is in direct contact with earth, and sills which rest on concrete of masonry foundation must be of approved treated wood, foundation cedar or redwood not less than 2 inches in thickness, having a width not less than that of the wall studs.

WALL FRAMING:  Studs must be placed with their wide dimension perpendicular to the wall, and not less than three studs must be installed at each corner of an exterior wall.  Minimum stud size is 2 x 4 and spaced not more than 24 inches on center.

TOP PLATES:  Bearing and exterior wall studs need to be capped with double top plates installed to provide overlapping at corners and at intersections with other partitions.  End joints in double top plates must be offset at least 48 inches.

HEADERS:  Headers for 16’-0” door in gable (non-bearing) end shall be minimum 2 – 2 x 12’s with plywood in-between.  When the door is located in bearing wall, header shall be minimum of 2 – 14” laminated headers if truss length is up to 24 ft.  If truss length is up to 32 ft., 3- 14” laminated headers are needed.

SHEATHING, ROOFING AND SIDING:  Approved wall sheathing, siding, roof sheathing and roof coverings must be installed according to the manufacture’s specifications.  Structural sheathing when used on roofs, clips must be used or spacing is required.

ROOF FRAMING:  Size and spacing of conventional lumber used for roof framing depends upon the roof pitch, span, the type of material being used, and the loading characteristics being imposed.  Attached garages must be designed for the appropriate snow load in your local area (contact your local building inspector).  Detached garages need to be designed for a 30 pound per square foot snow load.  Rafters need to be framed directly opposite each other at the ridge.  A ridge board at least 1 inch (nominal) thickness and not less in depth than the cut end of the rafter is required for hand framed roofs.  At all valleys and hips, there also needs to be a single valley or hip rafter not less than 2 inches (nominal) thickness and not less in depth than the cut of the rafter.  Rafters must be nailed to the adjacent ceiling joist to form a continuous tie between exterior walls when the joist are parallel to the rafters.  Where not parallel, rafters must be tied to a minimum 1 x 4 (nominal) cross tie spaced a minimum four foot on center.

MANUFACTURED ROOF TRUSSES:  If you are using manufactured roof trusses instead of hand framing your roof you will need to provide a copy manufactures truss specifications, signed by a MN state licensed engineer at the time of your framing inspection.  Also you will need to install the roof trusses and all required bracing according to the truss manufacture specifications.

WALL OPENING PROTECTION:  Exterior garage walls located within 6 feet of a dwelling or three feet to any property line must be protected with material approved for one hour fire resistive construction.  Doors shall be approved self-closing solid wood at least 1 3/8” in thickness or a self-closing, tight fitting door having a fire protection rating of not less than 20 minutes.

ELECTRICAL:  If you are putting any electrical wiring in your garage this will require a separate permit form the Minnesota State Board of Electric.  Please call the Minnesota State Board of Electric at 651-642-0800 or call the local Electrical Inspector at 763-682-2027. NOTE:  The above outlines only general code requirements with regard to garage construction.  For specific code requirements refer to the Minnesota State Building Code and/or contact your local Building Inspector.


1.  FOOTING/CONCRETE SLAB:  To be made after all form work is set up, mesh laid, rods wired in, etc.: but prior to the pouring of  concrete.

2.  FRAMING:  To be made after all framing, blocking and bracing are in place, rough electrical (if any) is approved, siding and roof covering materials are installed and prior to closing the construction so as to make it inaccessible for inspection.  (This inspection can be completed at the time of the final inspection if all parts of the framing will be visible and accessible at the final inspection.)

3.  FINAL:  To be made upon completion of the garage, electrical final inspection and finish grading.

4.  OTHER INSPECTIONS:  In addition to the three inspection above, the inspector may make or require other inspections to ascertain compliance with the provisions of the code or to assist you with your questions or concerns during the construction process.



Be sure your contractor is licensed.  It’s the law in Minnesota.

Trees selected should be suitable for Minnesota climate and solid. Plantings should be no closer than three feet from property lines or fences. Trees and shrubs planted near overhead power lines should be a variety that grows no more than 20 feet in height.

Some properties have utility transformer boxes near boulevards or in the easements along property boundaries. Landscaping may be done to help hide the boxes, however, the doors to the boxes should be accessible to utility workers. Please avoid planting shrubs in the area where the doors are located. You may wish to have City staff look at your plan before landscaping around the transformer boxes. We will advise you if the plantings may cause a conflict with access. Typically, no plantings or obstructions should be placed within two feet of sides or ten feet of the doors of the utility boxes.


Swimming Pool Handout

Ordinance 11.17 Subd. 6 Fences

G. Swimming Pool Protection.

1. A permit shall be required for swimming pools constructed below ground level considered to be of permanent construction or above ground pools with a capacity of five thousand (5,000) gallons and/or three (2) feet or more of depth. Each application for a permit to construct or erect a swimming pool shall be accompanied by plans of sufficient detail to show:

(a) The proposed location and its relationship to the other principal buildings on the lot.

(b) The size of the pool.

(c) Fencing and other fixtures existing on the lot, including utility location and trees.

(d) The location, size and types of equipment to be used in connection with the pool, including but not limited to filter unit, pump fencing and the pool itself.

(e) That the requirements contained in Item 2 below will be satisfied.

2. All below ground and above ground pools for which a permit is required and granted shall be provided with safety fencing to prevent uncontrolled access meeting the following standards:

(a) All safety fencing shall be a minimum of four (4) feet in height and be constructed as to completely enclose the pool.

(b) All gates shall be equipped with self-closing, self-latching gates capable of being locked. The latches shall be placed at least three (3) feet above ground.

(c) There shall be no opening in the fence greater than four (4) inches.

(d) There shall be no opening below the fence greater than two (2) inches.

(e) The fence shall be constructed of non-corrosive materials.

(f) The fence shall not be of a readily climbable design, including:

i. No footholds or handholds.
ii. Chain-link fencing shall not exceed 1 1/2″ mesh.

(g) Below-ground pools with an ASTM standard certified pool cover do not require fencing.

3. An above ground swimming pool with sidewalls that are at least four (4) feet high does not require enclosure by a separate fence as long as the pool has a removable or lock-up ladder, gate, or other access entry point. This ladder or access shall be secured or removed to prevent access when the facility is not in use or unattended.

What do I need a Building Permit For?

Your home or business is an investment.  If your construction project does not comply with the code adopted by the City, the value of your investment could be reduced.  Property insurers may not cover work done without proper permits and inspections.  If you decide to sell your home or building, the potential buyer may examine our records to make sure the proper permits and inspections were obtained. 

A building permit also allows the code official to protect the public by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and ensuring public health, safety and welfare.  By following code guidelines, your completed project will meet minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injury to you, your family, friends or future owners. 

Building permits are required for the following

Constructing a new home 
Building a deck or porch 
Installing a fireplace, chimney, or wood stove 
Installing a furnace, air conditioning, or mechanical ventilation system
Plumbing alterations 
Finishing a basement 
Additions to house or garage 
Storage Sheds sized 120-200 square feet – Zoning Permit 

Accessory Structures/Garages sized 201-900 square feet 
Underground sprinkler system 
Fences – Zoning Permit 
Retaining walls 2-4 feet – Zoning Permit (use Fence portion of application)

Retaining walls 4 ft or higher requires engineered plans in addition to the building permit
Window and door replacement 
Residing and Reroofing 
Swimming pools of 5,000 gallons and/or two (2) feet deep or more 

Building permits are not required for

Replacing cabinets 
Installing carpet or other floor coverings 


Permit Applications

If you have any questions or want to know if your project requires a permit please call 763-682-1181.

Applying for Building Permits


Once it has been determined you need to apply for a building permit the following is information you will need to complete the application. 

A Building Permit Application form along with one set of certified land surveys or site plans showing all easements, locations of structure and elevation in relation to street grade, and one set of building plans and specifications is required for a building permit. Please also submit one (1) electronic PDF file for new residential & commercial construction or any permit with blueprint sized plans. We will return the hardcopy set of site plans and survey to you at the time the building permit is issued. 

The following information is needed to complete the application form itself: 

Setbacks: Every zoning district has minimum setback requirements. Because setbacks vary dependent upon your address, you should call the City offices to find out what the setbacks for your lot will be. Phone numbers are listed on this brochure. 

Lot Size & Building Size: The lot size and building are to be placed on the site plan or survey along with the locations on a scaled plot plan or certificate of survey. 

Elevations: For new construction lot elevations may need to be shown on your survey or site plan. If your lot is within 1,000 feet of the lakeshore, the elevations must be shown on a certificate of survey. On all new home construction, the garage floor must be at an elevation of no less than one foot above the grade of the crown of the street. 

Building Plans: One hardcopy set of completed plans and working drawings of all proposed construction and one (1) electronic PDF file for new residential & commercial construction to include: 

-Front, rear and side elevations (for all new construction) and within 1000 feet of the shoreland 
-Basement floor plan and first floor plan 
-Cross Section (Sectional plan) 
– typical wall detail: footing to roof, list building materials and dimensions 
-Heat loss calculation: a standard worksheet of the exterior building envelope 

Site Plan or Certificate of Survey: To include: 

-Setback distances from property lines, side yards, rear yard, and if on the lakeshore, the setback from the Natural Ordinary High Water Level (a registered land surveyor must certify the NOHWL) 
-Easements for drainage and utilities 
-Proposed location of dwelling, driveway and all existing buildings or any other lot characteristics 
-Impervious surface calculations (all hard surface coverage)

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