COVID-19 InformationInformation and Updates for Community Members

Contact Information

2122 Campus Dr SE Suite 300
Rochester, Mn 55904 (Map)

Phone: 507-328-2600
Fax: 507-328-2601

Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Department Contacts


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From the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry:

2020 Minnesota State Building Code adoption

On Tuesday March 31, 2020, six new Minnesota construction codes are scheduled to take effect. Although this adoption is occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry has been fully engaged in the process of developing changes to the new codes over the past two years and are anticipating their implementation.

Currently, many architects, engineers and other building designers either have or are in the process of preparing designs in accordance with the new codes. Industry has also been providing training about changes the past few months, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. The department’s spring training educational seminars will be provided in an online format in the coming weeks.

Anyone who is facing challenges related to the adoption of the new codes should contact the department and we will work to assist them.

Thank you to all construction stakeholders, Technical Advisory Group members and the Construction Codes Advisory Council who participated in this two-and-a-half-year collaborative process.

These new codes apply to permit applications made on or after March 31 with the exception of the Minnesota Mechanical Code that takes effect on April 6, 2020.

The Minnesota Fire Code also goes into effect March 31, 2020.

New codes effective March 31, 2020

The following codes have been approved for adoption:

2020 Minnesota Conservation Code for Existing Buildings

2020 Minnesota Residential Code

2020 Minnesota Building Code

2020 Minnesota Energy Code

Note: The 2015 Minnesota Residential Energy Code remains in effect.

2020 Minnesota Accessibility Code

2020 Minnesota Mechanical/Fuel Gas Code - Effective April 6, 2020

2020 Minnesota State Fire Code





This information sheet serves to update the status and changes to our processes resulting from the health emergency precautions related to the COVID19 pandemic. Our goal is to protect the health and safety of both our staff and our community partners during this time with minimal impact and disruption to services. Process changes currently enacted are listed below.

Current Operational Status:

City Leadership has closed all public service desk locations throughout the City of Rochester. City employees are still working, answering phone calls and emails, processing permits and making inspections. We are also applying social distancing when performing inspections and using special protocols where possible.

To be clear, the office is not closed, just closed to the public from direct in-person interactions.

  1. Face-to-face: There shall be no face-to-face meetings or direct in-person contact at City buildings. No exceptions to this will be allowed (excluding field work described below)


  2. Telephone: Telephone communications shall occur using the department phone number 507-328-2600 as normal or by calling directly to the person you need to reach


  3. Email: Email communication shall continue as normal working directly with staff or using the general department mailboxes:

    1. For general department items contact

    2. For rental housing items contact

Permit Request & Issuance:
  1. Electronic: Online access for many services is still available on the Citizen Access website at where the following can be done:

    1. Permits, building and trades, can be paid for by credit card when ready to issue

    2. Licensed professionals can submit applications for trade permits

    3. Inspections can be scheduled for building and trade permits

    4. Rental housing fees can be paid


  2. Via Email: Communication related to permit applications and plans can be handled via email with the staff appropriate to addressing your questions. During this time, anyone unable to submit permit applications can send them in by email to the appropriate email address as noted above. As permits are approved for issue and paid, by online payment, checks mailed in or dropped off, or using a Trust Account, staff will communicate once the permit package is ready for pickup at the department in the cordoned off section of the lobby as marked by signs.


  3. Drop Off: Permit applications, not submitted online or via email, may be left in the appropriately marked drop off box just inside the Building Safety entrance. Applications dropped off can be paid with a credit card online once they are ready to issue on the Citizen Access website, by dropping off or mailing in a check clearly marked with the permit details, or using an existing Trust Account.


  4. Pick Up: Approved permits may be picked up in the designated section of the Building Safety lobby. When a permit packet is ready to be picked up, you will be contacted by the department. Please confirm an estimated time and date the permit and approved drawings will be picked up so they can be ready to be pick up in the designated area of the lobby.

Inspections and other Guidance:

  1. Rental housing

    1. Inspections are cancelled until further notice with nothing being scheduled until after May 1st, which is subject to change as the situation progresses

  2. Occupied dwelling construction inspections (building & trades)

    1. Inspectors will not enter occupied dwellings and Building Safety does not consider the residents not being home at the time of inspection as unoccupied

    2. Inspectors will work with permit holders to conduct inspections (building and trades) of occupied dwellings by alternative means if possible

      1. This means conducting the inspection by recording a video, taking photos, or a video call (using Face Time for example)

      2. Please provide contact information when scheduling the inspection

    3. We will conduct emergency inspections such as electrical service or fuel gas

  3. Non-occupied dwellings and buildings

    1. New construction inspection will continue with no change at this time

    2. Commercial inspections will continue with no change other than any protocols to observe put in place by the customers

  4. Investigations and inspections of citizen concerns/service requests will continue

The City of Rochester Code of Ordinances Chapter 4 Building Code requires Residential Building permits for detached one-and two-family dwellings. This applies to brand-new home construction as well as remodels, additions, decks and basement finishes of all sizes.  The building permit application process begins with the submittal of an application and required documents to the Building Safety Department.  The process also includes review and approval of a Zoning Certificate by the Community Development Department.

In the City of Rochester, homeowners (owner/occupant of a single family home) are required to obtain permits for work they intend to do themselves. The individual who signs the permit is responsible for making sure the work is done in compliance with all regulatory standards. If you are planning a Do-It-Yourself project, below are several handouts with design guidelines and information regarding the steps you will take in obtaining a permit and finishing your project.  If you have additional questions, call the Rochester Building Safety Department.

The City of Rochester Code of Ordinances Chapter 4-1 requires Residential Building Contractors to be licensed with the State of Minnesota.*  Landlords may do carpentry work on their rental properties--however--professional contractors must be hired to do any trade work.

 Permits Handouts  Fees  Inspections Codes

How to Apply for a Residential Building Permit


1. Complete and submit a Residential Building Permit application to our office. This form works for all kinds of building projects.

Consult this handout for specific details and documentation required:

Building Permit Application Procedure Residential Construction

2. Meet with a Plans Examiner and receive an application number.

3. Once the permit is approved, you may begin the work covered by the permit.

4. Schedule required inspections either online at or call 507-328-2600.

5. Once approved, the permit is closed.

6. Permits may be researched via Citizen Access.


Gas Piping
HVAC (Mechanical)
Manufactured Home
Master Plan Review



Basement finish
Certificate of Occupancy and Final Inspection Checklist
Cold Weather Guidelines for Masonry and Concrete Construction
CSST (Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing) Bonding Requirements
Electrical For Homeowners
Energy Code Compliance Certificate for New Construction
Garage, detached
Lead Paint information from the EPA
Overhead/Underground Electrical Service
Plumbing for Homeowners
Solar System Requirements
Stair, Landing and Handrail Requirements
Temporary Use of Gas Requirements
2015 Mechanical & Energy Code -Ventilation, Makeup and Combustion Air Calculations Form
2015 Mechanical & Energy Code -Ventilation, Makeup and Combustion Air Calculations Instructions and Example
Water Heaters
Windows, Emergency Escape



Building, Residential  

Four (4) fees are collected for a residential building permit in Rochester.  The fees are: building permit, plan review, zoning, and Minnesota state surcharge.  Note:  A Water Reclamation Plant Investment Fee (PIF) may also be charged.  The new home permits will have a PIF fee of $3,300 in 2018.  On new home permits a $5.00 curb cut fee may also be charged.


Residential Building Fee Schedule

 Demolition  A demolition permit has building and zoning fees.  Note:  There may be a separate charge for a well/septic inspection.  Please call the Well and Septic Division of the Olmsted County Planning Department at (507) 328-7111 if you have questions. Demolition Fee Schedule



There are three (3) fees collected for a grading permit in Rochester.  The fees included are a grading permit, plan review, and zoning. Fees are based on total number of cubic yards of excavation or fill, whichever is greater.


Grading Fee Schedule




Three (3) fees are collected for a sign permit in Rochester.  The fees are sign permit, plan review and zoning.  All signs are classified by the Community Development Department as either a business or advertising sign.  The zoning fee due will be either a Business or Advertising sign zoning fee.

Sign Fee Schedule
Building Fees Calculator Enter the valuation amount in this spreadsheet to automatically calculate the fees. Use for all residential, manufactured home, sign, demolition, and commercial projects. Fees Calculator

Trade Permit Fee Schedule

There are three (3) fees collected for a trade permit in Rochester.  The fees are:  application, permit, and Minnesota state surcharge.  The permit valuation shall include total value of all construction work, including materials and labor, for which the permit is being issued.


Trade Permit Fee Schedule


Trade Fees Calculator Enter the valuation amount in this spreadsheet to automatically calculate the fees. Use for all electrical, fireplace, gas piping, HVAC, hydronic, and plumbing projects. Trade Fees Calculator
Refund of Fees

Rochester Code of Ordinances Chapter 4-1 Sec. 4-1-4 Permit Fees states the Building Official must authorize refunding of any fee that was erroneously paid or collected, or if none of the work authorized by the permit has been performed.  The Building Official may not authorize refunding of any permit fee except upon written application filed by the original permittee not later than 180 days after the date of permit issuance.  Plan review fees, IRC footing permit fees and application fees will not be refunded. 

Use the request form to cancel or void a permit, with or without a refund of fees. Please note that the $25.00 application fee is non-refundable.

Request for Refund of Permit Fees



 Minimum Building Valuation Guidelines

 Residential  Effective September 1, 2016



 Building Codes

 The City of Rochester adopted the 2015 MN Residential Code as of January 24, 2015. The Building Safety Department enforces this Code during its Plan Review and Inspection phases of permitted work.

 International Code Council (ICC) presents Building Codes 101

What are building codes? Why do we have them? Why can't we just build buildings however we want? These are some of the questions that this webinar set will help you to answer. The regulation of the way buildings are built in the United States is unique, compared to other industries and even other countries. It can be a mystery to those who have not yet actively participated in the process. The YouTube™ webinars below will try to provide the big picture, even for those who have no experience with building codes.

 Building Codes (Part I)
 Building Codes (Part II)  

Minnesota Building Codes

 Rochester Code of Ordinances

Chapter 4-1 Building Code

Chapter 4-2 Electrical Code

Chapter 4-3 HVAC Code

Chapter 4-4 HVAC Board of Review
Chapter 4-5 Plumbing Code
Chapter 4-6 Commercial/Industrial Building
 Chapter 4-7 Heritage Preservation

Current Codes

2015 MN Commercial Building Code  In Effect June 2, 2015
2015 MN Residential Building Code  In Effect January 24, 2015
2015 National Electrical Code  In Effect July 1, 2017
2015 MN Residential Energy Code  In Effect February 14, 2015
2015 MN Mechanical and Fuel Gas Code  In Effect January 24, 2015
2015 MN Plumbing Code  In Effect January 23, 2016


The City of Rochester Code of Ordinances Chapter 4-1 requires Residential Building Contractors to be licensed with the State of Minnesota.
Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for more information:         
Residential Contractor general inquiries and Code information.
Licensingapplications, renewal forms and related documents.
Contractor License Lookup--to research current permit holder.



 Required Inspections

The Inspection Division of the Rochester Building Safety Department administers the Minnesota State Building Code by performing the inspections required by the appropriate sections of Chapter 1300.
Required inspections are typically identified on the permit card, but additional or other inspections may be required to verify Code compliance. If you have questions about whether an inspection is required before proceeding, please call the Building Safety Department for clarification.
Inspection requests are accepted by phone at 507-328-2600 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM daily by Building Safety staff or by scheduling on line at: Requests must be at least made one day prior to the inspection. Please have your permit number available when calling and requesting inspections to expedite the process. 

Inspection Scheduling Policy for Residential Building and Trade Projects:

The inspection process starts with the West inspections in the morning and works toward the East side of town as the day progresses. The intent is to have a morning/afternoon breakdown between the sides of town, however it does not always work this way and the morning inspections do sometimes extend into the afternoon. The intended breakdown is as such:

 Address Quadrant

 Inspection Timing

NW and SW  AM (start in the morning)
 NE and SE  PM (generally afternoon)