Building Permit Application Process

When is a building permit required?

Most projects require a building permit. State law requires that permits be issued before work begins.

Homeowners are typically allowed to perform work on the building they occupy after the building permit is issued. 

By state law, commercial projects are required to have a design professional prepare the project documents.

Projects requiring permits

  • Additions
  • Alterations
  • Decks
  • Demolition work
  • Finishing basements
  • Mechanical work
  • New construction
  • Plumbing
  • Pools
  • Roofing
  • Siding
  • Solar - learn if your project qualifies for expedited permitting or if it is a full review application. 
  • Window replacements

Permits for window replacements, roofing, and siding work are typically issued same day.

Projects not requiring permits

  • Painting
  • Replacing flooring
  • Replacing cabinets

Please contact us if you’re unsure whether your project requires a permit or not.

Plan reviews

Once you have submitted your permit application, it will undergo plan review. Most projects require a plan review, which involves staff examining the project plans to verify that the plans comply with specific code requirements. 

The City of Northfield has adopted the 2018 International Code Council codes with 2020 Minnesota Amendments. This review minimizes misunderstandings and construction delays for the projects.

View building codes

Timeline for reviews

For residential projects allow at least five business days for the plan review process. For commercial projects allow at least 10 business days for the plan review process. These time frames are based on the assumption that the application was complete, and was submitted with no major code violations. For very large commercial projects the plan review process may take longer.


Minnesota State Law requires that residential contractors be licensed by the State of Minnesota. 

Register with the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry


Most permits will require a fee to be paid. Payment is accepted by cash or check only.

The amount of the fee varies depending on the scope of work planned. Permit fees are paid after the plan review and when the permit is issued.

View list of fees


Depending on the project, there may be required inspections at various points both during and after construction is completed. 

Scheduling Inspections

To schedule a inspection, please contact the Building Inspection Department at 507-645-3004.

Inspection requests are accepted Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by phone. Requests for inspections must be made at least 24 hours in advance.

Electrical Inspections are scheduled directly through the State Electrical Inspector, Randy Edel. He can be reached Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at 507-334-3748.