Do I need a Building permit?

What Good Does a Permit Do?

Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with the minimum codes adopted by your community, the value of your investment could be reduced. Property insurers may not cover the work done without permits and inspections. If you decide to sell a home or building that has had modifications without a permit, you may be required to tear down the addition, leave it unoccupied or do costly repairs.

A property owner who can show that code requirements were strictly and consistently met, as demonstrated by a code official’s carefully maintained records, has a strong ally if something happens to trigger a potentially destructive lawsuit.

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.

Why do I need a permit?

Obtaining a permit will ensure your construction project is built according to code, while also reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction. You will benefit from the knowledge and experience of City staff regarding building codes and general construction practices which helps to ensure that your project is safe and built to last.

If your home improvement project does not comply with applicable codes, property insurers may deny claims against unpermitted projects. In addition, at the time you sell your home, informed buyers will ask to see permits as evidence that work performed on the property was properly inspected and met building codes.

What if I’ve hired a contractor?

Contractors are responsible to obtain appropriate permits for the work being performed. Generally, a permit will not be issued to a homeowner when a contractor has been hired as the permit holder is responsible for all permitted work. Residential contractors must be licensed with the State of Minnesota, with only a few exceptions, and a permit will not be issued without a current license. To confirm if your contractor is licensed in Minnesota, contact:

How do I get a permit?

Fill out this permit application and return it to City Hall. In most cases, the homeowner may obtain a permit when the owner is performing the work and resides in and homesteads the property.

When and how do I get an inspection?

Inspections are required at various stages of a project. All required inspections will be printed on the inspection card. Call Building Official at 320-226-5189 to schedule inspections, allowing at least 24 hours advance notice.

What do I submit with the permit application?

  • For projects involving new construction, additions, and certain types of renovations, an accurate site plan and three copies of detailed building plans must be submitted at the time of application.
  • Building plans should show framing detail, type and size of lumber used, joist spaces, post spacing, footing detail, floor plan, etc. This may vary depending on the project.
  • A site plan must show the property corners, lot lines and dimensions. All existing and proposed structures must be located, showing dimensions and setback distances to the lot lines and each structure.
  • Porches that are heated may need to conform to the Minnesota Energy Code.

When are carbon monoxide and smoke alarms required?

  • Minnesota State law requires the installation of smoke alarms in all sleeping rooms when certain types of home improvements are made.
  • The 2006 legislation passed a carbon monoxide law requiring CO alarms in all existing single-family homes by August 1, 2008.
  • Alarms help save the lives of occupants, as well as the personnel responding to emergencies.

Building Permit

*Questions about permit requirements, contact the Building Official at 320-226-5189 or dri101@live.com.

  • Additions and / or Remodeling of any type of Houses & Garages 
  • Access entries (front & rear)
  • Accessory structures
  • Air conditioning & conditioning & another related ductwork
  • Alarms, Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Basement Finishes / Remodeling
  • Bathroom Additions & Remodeling
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Duct work
  • Car Ports
  • Construction, new of any type
  • Doors & Window Replacements (same size or other)
  • Decks over 30 inches in height or attached to the dwelling
  • Demolition of structures
  • Egress Window Installation
  • Electrical systems
  • Emergency Escape & Rescue Openings
  • Entries (front & rear)
  • Fences over 7 ft. high Fireplaces
  • Foundations (below frost level)
  • Furnace, Air Conditioning & Other Misc. related ductwork
  • Garage doors
  • Guards are required for porches, balconies, ramps or raised floor surfaces more than 30”
  • Handrails
  • HVAC (heating, venting, air conditioning)
  • Landings near exist and entry doors
  • Manufactured Home Installation
  • Mobile Home Installation & Remodeling
  • Moving and / or relocation of structures
  • Platforms over 30 inches in height or attached to the dwelling
  • Plumbing Systems
  • Roofing, reroofing
  • Safe Room / Storm Shelter / Tornado Shelter
  • Sheds / accessory or storage structures over 200 sq. ft.
  • Siding and residing
  • Signs of any type w/foundations
  • Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Stairways, spiral stairways, landings, handrails, guard rails
  • Steps, Stoops, stair risers / height
  • Storm Shelters (tornado shelters)
  • Tornado Shelters
  • Relocation or moving of structures (within or outside of Olivia)
  • Windows, new & replacements

Land Use Permit

*The purpose of land use permits is to protect City setbacks & easements from any type of structure which may prohibit 24 / 7 access to underground utilities of any type (gas, cable, phone, electric, etc.)

  • Accessory structures, one-story (less than 200 sq. ft.)
  • Decks (less than 30” above adjacent grade & not attached to a structure with frost footings)
  • Driveways
  • Fences
  • Hedges
  • Hot Tubs w/depth of more than 24 inches
  • Landings
  • Patios & Concrete (pavers on grade)
  • Platforms
  • Playhouse
  • Risers (steps)
  • Shrubbery
  • Sidewalks
  • Signs of any type (if there is a foundation it requires an inspection)
  • Steps
  • Storage structures (less than 200 sq. ft.)
  • Swimming pools w/depth of more than 24 inches
  • Tool Shed (less than 200 sq. ft.)
  • Walls used in landscaping 

Work Exempt from Permit

  • Carpeting
  • Cases (book, entertainment, etc.) if movable
  • Ceramic tiling
  • Countertops & other similar finish work
  • Hot Tubs (having a depth of more than 24 inches) protect setbacks & easements
  • Papering (wall paper)
  • Painting,
  • Partitions not over five feet, nine inches in height.
  • Window awnings (supported by an exterior wall not projecting more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and does not require additional support when constructed to provisions of the Building Code.
101 Development Resources

Darin Haslip

Building Inspector

For inspections please call 320-226-5189

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