Myth: The owner occupant doesnâ€™t need to pull permits â€“ permits are only for contractors.
Truth: If youâ€™re the owner occupant, you have the...ahem, Â privilegeÂ of pulling a permit without having to be a licensed contractor.Â Â It doesnâ€™t mean you can skip pulling a permit.
Myth: Kitchen remodels donâ€™t need permits because the code specifically says that cabinets, countertops, and floor coverings donâ€™t require permits.
Truth: While cabinets, countertops, and flooring donâ€™t require permits, just about any plumbing or electrical work does. Â Most kitchen remodels will include both.
Myth: Decks that are less than thirty inches high donâ€™t need a permit.
Truth: A permit is not required if the deck is less than thirty inches high, not attached to the house, AND itâ€™s not part of an accessible route. (MN RulesÂ 1300.0120, subp. 4, A (7))
Myth: Building permit fees are just another way for the government to get more taxes.
Truth: Building permit fees are supposed to cover the administrative costs involved with enforcement of the code â€“ these fees should not support other government functions.Â Â Iâ€™d like to say theyÂ donâ€™t,Â but I canâ€™t prove that.Â Â â€œFees established by the municipality must be by legal means and must be fair, reasonable, andÂ proportionate to the actual cost of the service for which the fee is imposed.â€ (MN RulesÂ 1300.0160, subp 2)
Myth: Building officials donâ€™t have any liability.
Truth: Theyâ€™re not liable as long as they are â€œacting for the jurisdiction in good faith and without malice in the discharge of the duties required by the code.â€Â Â (MN RulesÂ 1300.0110, subp. 9) Â This doesnâ€™t mean theyâ€™re untouchable.
Myth: Carbon monoxide alarms are required just like smoke detectors are.
Truth:Â Â The requirement for smoke detectors is a Minnesota Statute (299F.362), and is enforced by Minnesota StatuteÂ 326B.106Â (subp. 4 (b)).Â Â CO alarms are required by Minnesota Statute (299F.51), but there is no requirement for the building inspections department to enforce them.Â Â Nevertheless, Iâ€™ve heard that most do. Â One could certainly challenge a building official on this requirement, but why? Â They're life safety devices.
Myth: Double cylinder (aka â€“ double keyed) deadbolts are not allowed by code.
Truth: Theyâ€™re not allowed on new construction, but they can be used on existing buildings.Â Â That means you can legally install a double cylinder deadbolt lock on your home after you have your certificate of occupancy.Â Â â€œNo provision of the code or appendix chapter of the code may prohibit double cylinder dead bolt locks in existing single-family homes, townhouses, and first floor duplexes used exclusively as a residential dwelling.â€Â Â (MN StatuteÂ 326B.106Â (g)).Â Â Keyword â€“ existing.
Myth: That room in the basement with a low ceiling can be finished off and made in to a bedroom.
Truth: The Minnesota State Building Code defines that room as a crawl space.Â Â â€œCRAWL SPACE. Areas or rooms with less than 7 feet ceiling height measured to the finished floor or grade below.â€ (MN RulesÂ 1309.0202)
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