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Most of the time. Property owners may perform building related trades on property they own and occupy. Property owners may personally perform mechanical, electrical and plumbing on property they own and occupy.
Exceptions: Rental Properties - Owners may perform building trade work. However, all plumbing, electrical & mechanical work shall be performed by a licensed contractor.
Intend to Sell Property - Owner must be state license if performing work on more than one property in a two-year period. All other trades require a licensed contractor.
If you are planning improvements to your property and do not want to do the work yourself, the following suggestions can help you select a contractor:
The State Department of Commerce establishes the rules for licensing of contractors. Most contractors are required to be licensed, however, there are some exceptions. You should ask your contractor if they are licensed. If a contractor asks you to apply for the building permit, chances are they are not licensed because we verify contractor licensing for all building permit applications. Resident homeowners do not have to be licensed to perform work on their own home. If you have questions about contractor licensing, contact the Department of Commerce at 651-539-1500.
The contractor you hire to complete your project is responsible for compliance with the state building code and they should be licensed by the state (when required) to perform the work. If there is ever a question as to whether or not some aspect of a construction project complies with the code, the contractor is the responsible party. If you are performing the work yourself, then you are the responsible party.
If you're planning to do any digging in connection with your building project, you must call Gopher State One Call at 800-252-1166 to arrange for utility companies to mark the buried utility lines in your yard. This service is free, but you should call at least 48 hours prior to digging. Learn more online at Gopher State One Call's website.
It is the property owners’ responsibility to determine where the property lines are. Property iron stakes (typically 36-inch-long rods) are placed at the corners of the lot usually at or below grade, and sometimes can be found using a metal detector. The city does not provide surveying services. Approximate property lines and dimensions can be found on the county’s website.
A building permit gives you legal permission to start construction of a building project in accordance with the approved drawings and specifications. The drawings and specifications must be approved and a permit issued by the City of Elk River. The purpose of the permit is to ensure that the building project meets minimum safety, zoning and aesthetic requirements enforced by the City of Elk River and required by the State Building Code.
A building permit is required for a shed that is larger than 200 square feet.
Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with the codes 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.
Your 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, your friends, or future owners.
Do not take out a building permit for the contractor. When the contractor signs the permit, the contractor is agreeing to do the work according to code. If you sign for the permit, you are liable for correcting the contractor's work if it should fall short of City or State building code standards. Make sure your contractor has a permit and that the contractor calls for inspections. An inspection card will be issued and should be displayed near the work area.When each inspection has been completed, the City's Inspector will sign the card. When the final inspection is approved, the inspectors' signatures are your assurance that the work has been properly inspected and no violations of the building code were discovered. You should pay for the work only after it has passed final inspection.
Some projects that do not require a permit include cosmetic changes such as paint, wall paper, floor covering, cabinets, countertops, tiled backsplash, vanities, trim, baseboard, interior doors, fences, retaining walls less than 4 feet in height, and sheds 200 square feet or less.
If you are unsure whether you need a permit, contact the Building Division and explain what you will be doing. Staff will advise you if the work you are doing is regulated and whether or not a permit is required.
To apply for an electrical permit, you will need to apply through the State of Minnesota via the Department of Labor and Industry website. All of the instructions on how to set up an account and apply for a permit can be found on their website.
Fence permits are not required in residential areas if they are 6 feet or less in height. Fence Guidelines must still be followed.
Permits are required for fences in a commercial zoned area if they are 6 feet or higher. Engineered plans must be submitted with your permit applications.
In accordance with Minnesota Rules, permits expire within 180 days of issuance if no work is started and no inspections have been called in by the permit holder. Permits also expire if work has started, but then is suspended for more than 180 days and no inspections are called in by the permit holder.