Do You Take Care Of Permitting?

Building Permits are approval documents required by your local government that give you the right to build your project.

In today’s world, the permitting process for new construction or any other kind of home improvement project can be time-consuming and confusing especially if you have not dealt with it before. The main purpose of pulling a permit is to ensure that your project is safe and that everything is up to code upon completion. Depending on the type of project you are pursuing, and the location of your project, you will more than likely need to pull a permit(s). As a general contractor, we manage the entire permit process for our clients.

The permitting process is one of the many aspects of the home building or renovation process. It should not be an area that creates stress or worry. Finding a reputable contractor that has a relationship with the city and county’s permitting office, makes the process a lot smoother. Read on to learn about the various kinds of building permits and the process of acquiring the permit(s).

Do I Have to Pull a Permit?

The general rule is; if your project is strictly cosmetic, and the framework of a structure will NOT be added to, taken away, or exposed, you should not need a permit. Now this rule is a general guideline, and there may be exceptions, so it is important to do your homework.


What happens if I don’t pull a permit?

There are a few things that can potentially happen if you fail to pull a permit on a project that requires you to do so. The Jurisdiction has the right to fine you, typically the fine is double the cost of the necessary permit. In the City, if you build beyond required setbacks (distance from the road and neighboring properties) they have the power to tear down any work you have unrightfully performed. With that being said, it makes sense to work with the City or the County so you can be aware of all the required permits.  

How Long Does It Take to Pull a Permit?

In the city of Duluth, Minnesota the permit process can take anywhere from 1-6 weeks. In surrounding counties, the permit process has an average timetable of 1-2 weeks. Generally speaking, the county is quicker because there are fewer people, and it is much less restrictive in comparison to the city.

Duluth Lift Bridge

The city has stringent codes to help keep housing consistent. All setbacks from your property (front, side, rear) need to be within jurisdiction. This allows your neighborhood to remain the way it is, otherwise, people would be building right on top of each other which would make the housing situation in Duluth less appealing. The lots in a county tend to be much bigger and the setbacks are larger.

Types Of Permits in Duluth

There are several types of permits for specific projects. Again, the type of permit required depends on the jurisdiction you fall under. Some of the common permits in Duluth include House Permit, Addition Permit, Detached Building Permit, Interior Remodel Permit, Window Replacement Permit, Door Replacement Permit, Siding Permit, Fence Permit, etc.

You may be thinking that some of these permits seem unnecessary, but as I said earlier, any kind of work that affects the existing structure (windows, additions, remodels) you will need a permit. When you finish your project a city inspector will complete an inspection on the work you completed. For example, if you install a new door, they will run a test for proper U value (heat loss), and this will tell you if they were properly installed.Building_Permit_Book

The link below includes a list of all required permits in the city of Duluth, MN. This is a great resource to refer back to if you are unsure of what permit you need.


Another related area is hookups to municipal systems in the city, which include Water, Waste, Gas, and Power. Most general contractors specify that the homeowner pays any utility bills during a new home building process. This monthly bill is typically for power since the other utilities will not be used during construction. As a homeowner, you can expect this bill to be anywhere from $20 – $200. The power bill will depend on a couple of things, the size of your home and the time of year it is being built. If we are drywalling or painting during the winter months, we typically run electric heaters which contribute to a high power bill.

Are permits only for safety?

Of course, permits are for safety, but they serve another purpose, to hold contractors accountable for their work. In a way, they are made to safeguard the general public from contractors who complete a project wrongfully or improperly.


Why do we take care of permits?

The person that pulls the permit is responsible for the build. If a homeowner pulls a permit and misses something, the builder is not held responsible for what was missed. More than anything, it is customer service, we do all the research depending on what each plan entails and if anything goes wrong, we are the ones in charge to make things right. We have been in this industry for over 30 years, and during that time we have developed relationships with the local governments which in return has helped us in pulling permits.


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