Building Inspections FAQs
- What is a building permit?
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 Lakeville.
The purpose of the permit is to ensure that the building project meets minimum safety, zoning and aesthetic requirements enforced by the City of Lakeville and required by the State Building Code.
The fees charged for building permits are used to defray the cost of code enforcement and are typically less than 3 percent of the overall building project cost.
- When do I need a permit?
Learn more about requirements for permits on our Building Inspections page.
- When is a permit not required?
Permits are not required for the following projects:
- Replace cabinets in your kitchen or elsewhere
- Install carpet or other floor coverings
- Install wallpaper or paneling on finished surfaces
- Redecorate without structural change
- Build a doghouse
- What good does a permit do?
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.
- Whose responsibility is it to see that the building code is followed?
The contractor you hire to complete your project is responsible for compliance with the state building code. 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.
- What if I want to do the building project myself?
If you're planning a do-it-yourself home improvement project, contact the Building Inspections Department at 952-985-4440 for information about specific zoning and building code requirements. Staff can provide informational handouts that explain how to design, construct and obtain a permit for most home improvement projects.
- What if I want to hire a 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 phone book is a good source as well as references from neighbors and/or friends.
- Find out how long the contractor has been in business in the area.
- Check references; make sure they are valid by contacting those for whom the contractor has performed construction work.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau at 651-699-1111 to see if complaints have been registered against the contractor.
- Check to be sure that the contractor has insurance coverage and is bonded. State law requires contractors to be licensed by the state. This licensing law benefits both consumers and contractors. To verify licensing, please call the Department of Commerce Licensing Division at 651-296-6319.
- Who must be licensed?
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.
- Should I take the permit out for the contractor?
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.
- What if I'm planning to dig?
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