The Why, When and How of Construction Permits
The City staff receives many of the same general questions about permits and the building codes. In order to assist our Lewiston residents, we have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions.
WHY DO I NEED A PERMIT?
Some may think that obtaining a permit means extra costs, time delays, and unwarranted regulations. However, a permit ensures that proper services are provided to safeguard life, health, property and public welfare. For most people, their home is their most important investment. If work is done improperly, such work can become unsafe for the homeowners and their families, as well as devalue their home. Realtors and lenders are aware that the law requires homeowners to have the proper permits when doing home construction. When it comes to selling a house, realtors and lenders often require that any construction work is done with permits to ensure that the house is safe for future occupants. If work was completed without a permit, this may mean that you find yourself scrambling to catch up with permits and inspections and additional repair work to meet code standards.
Through the permit process, our Building Inspector will review permitted construction work and installations to ensure that they are done safely and in accordance with current state codes and building regulations. Inspections not only reveal minor problems that could lead to costly repairs, but may also identify life-safety concerns.
WHEN DO I NEED A PERMIT?
Building Permits are required to construct, add onto, alter, remove, demolish or repair a structure. Permits are required for any alterations, additions or remodeling to your home. Permits are required for basement finishes, re-roofing, re-siding, swimming pools, garages, sheds, decks, gazebos, porches, etc. A building permit is required before you begin construction.
Mechanical Permits are required for the installation or replacement of mechanical systems in new and existing structures. This includes Air Conditioners, Air to Air Exchangers, Furnace and Garage Furnaces and Gas Fireplaces.
Plumbing Permits are required for fixtures in new construction or alterations in existing structures. Permits for plumbing include new construction installation, water heater replacement, lawn irrigation/sprinkler systems, wirsbo heating. When adding a new bathroom (when no rough in or original fixtures are installed) or if floor pipes are to be moved then a plumbing permit is required. If your bathroom already has the fixtures roughed in and you are just setting the fixtures, NO PLUMBING PERMIT is needed.
HOW DO I GET A PERMIT AND ARRANGE FOR INSPECTIONS?
A homeowner, when doing his/her own project, needs to obtain the necessary permits and call to arrange for the required inspections. If a contractor is hired, the contractor obtains the permit and works with the inspectors to make sure the work is completed according to code. Plans need to be submitted for any structural work that is being completed, for example a deck, porch, addition, garage, sheds (over 120 s.f.) etc. The permit process takes 3 to 5 days to review plans and complete the permit. Our staff will then contact them with cost of permit when it is completed. City staff also verifies that the contractor has a State License with the State of Minnesota Commerce Department.
HOW MUCH DO PERMITS COST?
Building permit fees vary according to the valuation of the construction project. There are flat fees for certain projects. Mechanical permit fees are based upon the type of installation. Plumbing permits are based upon the number and type of fixtures, etc. For more information on permits and inspections you may contact the Lewiston City Hall at 507-523-2257. Office hours are Monday – Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.