COVID-19 InformationInformation and Updates for Community Members

Contact Information

4001 West River Parkway NW, Suite 100
Rochester, MN 55901 
Phone: 507-328-2600
Fax: 507-328-2601

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

Department Contacts


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Electrical, Fireplace, Gas Piping, HVAC, Hydronic, and Plumbing


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

Basic Processes

Trade contractors who are properly licensed per City of Rochester Ordinances may apply for permits with the Building Safety office. Once notified that the permit is issued, the work as described may begin, and inspections may be called in or scheduled on line when ready. Once all required inspections are Finaled, the permit is given a Closed status. Trade permits may be researched via Citizen Access.
 Permit forms  Fees  Inspections  Ordinances 


 HVAC   Plumbing 
 Permit Application Forms
Electrical Permits and Inspections for Homeowners
Gas Piping


 Licensing Requirements

City of Rochester Code of Ordinances Chapter 4-2 Electrical Code requires licensed electricians must provide proof of state license and bonding and/or insurance to obtain permits.
Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for more information:
Electrical general inquiries and Code information.
Licensing applications, renewal forms and related documents.
ContractorLicense Lookup--to research current permit holders.

 Electrical Permits

 Electrical Permit Application Form 
 Electrical Permits and Inspections for Homeowners  
 Overhead/Underground Service 


 Licensing Requirements

HVAC contractors are required to be licensed by the City of Rochester Code of Ordinances per Chapter 4-3 Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Code and Chapter 4-4 Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Board of Review.

Licenses need to be approved by the City Council. Therefore, applications must be submitted with all necessary additional information by 10 a.m. on the Wednesday prior to the Council meeting.  If you have questions or need additional information regarding your application, please contact theCity Clerk's Office507-328-2900.

Download the appropriate license application:
            HVAC Contractor's license 
            HVAC Master Installer's license
Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for more information:
HVAC  general inquiries and Code information.
Licensing applications,renewalforms and related documents.
ContractorLicense Lookup--to research current permit holders.

HVAC Permits

Fireplace Permit Application Form
Gas Piping Permit Application Form

 Minnesota Energy Resources Changes the Install of Gas Metering Equipment

On March 2014, the City of Rochester received a letter from the Minnesota Energy Resources company informing us of a change regarding the install of gas metering equipment for new residential and small commercial customers.

Effective immediately, Minnesota Energy will no longer provide installation inspections, testing, and/or authorization of the temporary use of gas for buildings under construction.  This prompted a change in the manner which the Building Safety Department authorizes the temporary use of fuel gas. A letter or email was sent to inform contractors of this change and the proper procedures to follow moving forward in March of 2013.    

HVAC Permit Application Form

2015 Mechanical & Energy Code-Ventilation, Makeup, and Combustion Air Calculations Form

2015 Mechanical & Energy Code-Ventilation, Makeup, and Combustion Air Calculations Instructions and Example 

Bonding Requirements for CSST

The manufacturers of CSST (Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing) have added an additional bonding requirement as part of their installation that need to be followed when using their products. For a copy of the alert, click this link "Bonding Requirements for CSST". (Updated 4/2009)

Hydronic Permit Application Form 


 Licensing Requirements
City of Rochester Code of Ordinances Chapter 4-5 Plumbing Code requires licensed plumbers to provide proof of state license and bonding and/or insurance to obtain permits. No person shall engage in the business of installing plumbing or install plumbing in connection with the dealing in and selling of plumbing material and supplies, unless at all times a master plumber, duly licensed by the State of Minnesota, is responsible for proper installation of such plumbing and in charge of the plumbing work. No person shall engage in or work at the business of a master plumber unless licensed to do so by the State of Minnesota.  
Contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industryfor more information:
Plumbing general inquiries and Code information.
Licensing applications,renewalforms and related documents.
ContractorLicense Lookup--to research current permit holders.
Plumbing Permits
Plumbing Permit Application Form 
Backflow (New & Annual) Test Forms Annual Test Form Backflow Preventors (from Rochester Public Utilities) 


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

RochesterCode of Ordinances Chapter 4-1 Sec. 4-1-4 Permit Feesstates 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


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 at507-328-2600from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM daily by Building Safety staff orby 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 forResidential Building and Trade Projects:
The inspection process starts with the West inspections in the morning and workstoward the East side of town as the day progresses. The intent is to have amorning/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 intendedbreakdown is as such:

Address Quadrant

Inspection Timing

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

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