Permit Requirements 

The City's Building Inspection staff receive many of the same general questions about permits and the 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.  If after-the-fact permits become necessary, you may find yourself struggling to catch up.  Sometimes work must be disassembled and rebuilt for inspections and repairs to meet code standards.  

Aren't Permits a Hassle?


Some may think that obtaining a permit is difficult, time consuming, costly and brings on unnecessary regulations.  In fact, obtaining a permit from the Andover Building Inspections Department is quick, easy, reasonably priced and lets us help your project succeed.   

  • Quick -- Residential projects are typically reviewed and approved by our friendly staff immediately or within 1 or 2 days depending on staff availability.  Commercial permits are typically reviewed and approved within 5 to 10 days. 
  • Easy -- One-third of permits are applied for and paid for online.  When scaled plans and other construction documents are required, it is best to bring two (2) two copies with your permit application to our counter at City Hall.  If that's inconvenient we also accept complete application submittals via email or post mail.   Online and form fillable PDF application forms are available online HERE or in paper form at City Hall. 
  • Reasonably Priced -- Both residential and commercial building permit fees are based on the valuation of the project.  The City has adopted State of Minnesota valuation data that determines project valuation on a per square foot basis.  That means building permit fees are fair, consistent and based on services provided rather than arbitrary valuation estimates.  That permit fees are based on services provided is especially true for fixed fee permits, all of which are offered online.   
  • Helpful Staff --  With decades of building experience, we help you understand and comply with the building code, and often we'll make suggestions to help you save money, make the project easier and best meet your needs.  

Should I Apply For Permits or Should My Contractor?


While commercial work is nearly all permitted and done by professional contractors, residential work may be permitted and done by either a do-it-yourself homeowner or a licensed residential contractor. 

If a contractor is hired to perform residential work, first be sure the contractor is currently licensed by the State of Minnesota.  Ultimately, both the property owner and contractor are responsible for building code compliance, however, homeowners are better served when the licensed residential contractor applies for and obtains required permits.   


What Kinds of Work Require a Permit?


Building Permits


Building Permits are required to construct, expand, alter, remodel, remove, repair or demolish a structure.  Examples of residential work may include basement finishes, re-roofing, re-siding, swimming pools, garages, sheds, decks, gazebos, porches, etc.  Obtain a building permit before you begin construction.

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, irrigation backflow preventer installations, in-floor heat, etc..  For basement finishing, if plumbing waste, vent and water lines are already installed with original plumbing, a new separate permit is not required to only set fixtures.  


Mechanical Permits


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, boilers, gas fireplaces, etc..

Electrical Permits


Electrical Permits are required for the all line voltage installations, alterations or replacements in new and existing structures.  Electrical permits are also required for any electrical installation exceeding 50 volts such as commercial fire suppression monitoring, fire alarm, or other signal circuit system.

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. 

Septic Installation Permits


Septic Installation Permits are required to install or repair any septic system.  Any work on a septic system must be made by an individual licensed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency [MPCA].  Any new septic system, alteration or repair to an existing septic system must be designed by an MPCA licensed Septic Designer.  After the design has been approved, any work on a septic system must be performed by an MPCA licensed Septic Installer.   The city septic inspector will conduct inspections of the tanks and in ground drainage systems as required. If you need a list of septic designers and installers please click HERE or stop by City Hall.

Septic Pumping Permits


Septic Pumping Permits are required to pump a septic tank. The licensed septic pumper will obtain the permit. The cost of the pumping permit is $15.00. If you need a list of licensed septic pumpers please click HERE or stop by City Hall