Minnesota Building Code: 5 Construction Laws to Know Before Starting a New Build

Jamie Jacobs
Jamie Jacobs joined APX Construction Group in June of 2020 specializing in interior design, marketing, event planning, and business development.
  • In the Minnesota Building Code, there are a lot of regulations to be aware of when you start to build in the state. As with any state, different codes and building ordinances vary throughout the state. This makes it tough to get them all straight and make sure you’re meeting all of the requirements that you need for the project to be completed and approved.

    As a commercial builder in Minnesota, we know that there’s a lot that goes into these buildings. We seek to get it right for our customers every time and to always go above and beyond. But, there are some builder regulations that everyone should know about. As the owner of the building being built, some of these building codes may affect your designs or plans for the structure, so it’s important you understand them.

    Lot Approval

    There are builder regulations in Minnesota that you need to follow when building on a lot. One of the most important is getting your certificate of occupancy before starting construction, which means obtaining approval from the city planning commission and local government for any new buildings. Whether you’re building a commercial or residential building the city and potentially county will need to approve your plans before you go any further with the construction.

    This process can take a long time in some cities but in more rural places you can expect the process to move more quickly.

    commercial construction lot


    Zoning is just one builder regulation that you’ll need to follow once your lot has been approved. This means making sure the zoning of both the building and surrounding area abides by city ordinances. If it doesn’t, then there may be builder regulations involved in changing them with a variance. But, in some cases, you may need to get the zoning changed before beginning construction on a lot.

    In general, zoning for different structures within specific areas will already be established. But, if you’re building in a non-residential area and the zoning doesn’t allow for it or your proposed use is different than what’s currently allowed on that property, city officials or members of the planning committee may be involved to get things changed before construction begins. Zoning will often work hand in hand with lot approval.

    Ordinances and Covenants

    Once you’ve gotten your zoning and lot approval squared away, building code in Minnesota states that any ordinances or covenants for the property need to be checked. These are generally set up by homeowner’s associations or other groups of people who own lots in an area. In non-residential cases they would likely be established by a city council.

    For example, if there are builder regulations on height restrictions through a covenant with your HOA, then you’ll need to make sure that your building design complies with them. It’s a fairly simple process as long and most times it won’t cause you any setbacks because it’s rare that you’d want to build something that’s outside of the ordinance or covenant.

    Building Codes

    Another builder regulation that you’ll need to be aware of is building codes. These vary by city, county, and state depending on where your site is located. For example, in Minnesota, there are two different building code requirements — one for the Twin Cities metro area and another set for builder regulations throughout the rest of the state.

    The building codes and builder regulations in the Twin Cities metro are similar to those that you’ll find throughout most of Minnesota. However, they may be more strict or have additional requirements than the code for building elsewhere.

    All building codes will require inspections throughout the building process to ensure that regulations are being followed. During the inspections, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared and have everything needed so you can pass without having to fix anything for the inspector. Setbacks that come from not following the code perfectly can cause huge problems.

    Minnesota Building Code permits

    Permits and Plans

    One of the first steps to getting your structure up whether it’s a house, commercial building, or shed is the plans and permits. You’ll need to first, properly submit these plans, and then secondly, fix any changes that are found during their approval process. This means making sure the drawings, building codes, and regulations have all of the required information for a permit or plan submittal as well as having everything filled out in full. 

    You’ll want to make sure all of your documents are properly filled out so that when you submit your plans, they’re approved quickly and efficiently. To have plans properly reviewed by local building authorities who will approve or deny your permit request make sure all your information is accurate. If there are additional items needed on top of what’s required after the review has started you’ll need to submit everything as quickly as possible. The more prepared you are, the faster the process goes.

    In order to have your building meet all of the Minnesota building codes and regulations, you’ll want to partner with a local builder. At APX Construction Group, we focus on commercial construction and ensuring that we always meet our customer’s expectations and the Minnesota building code.

    Reach out to us today to learn more about our process or get started on your next building project.

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