Construction Services & Inspections

New Home, Addition, or Interior Remodel

This page aims to provide information for planning your residential construction project, preparing applications, plans and forms for submittal and review, and understanding what to expect during the review and inspection process. We encourage you to browse our website, where you will find much, much more information about all things related to the residential permitting and inspection process. We are always available to answer questions in the office or by phone. The information here is available in a packet in PDF format here. 

Click here to find a flow chart with more detailed information about the process.

Plans are the drawings, notes, and other documents we need to check your plans for compliance with codes. In most cases, we will need plans submitted with your permit application. Drawings will show the construction work to be done and how the building or the site will change. Plans drawn carefully and to a scale (like 1/4 inch = 1 foot) are a tool to plan the layout and the details of construction and can help to avoid problems during construction. One- and two-family residential projects do not have to be designed or plans drawn by an architect. Owners and builders often prepare their own plans for submittal to Construction Services. Still, you may want to consider working with an architect to help design or a drafter to draw your project. Reference the Residential Sample Drawing Plans for help understanding what we need to review your project.

The Residential Plan Review Checklist is the list of documents, forms, and information required for the particular type of project you are planning. This is the tool we will use at the time you submit your application and plans to ensure that they are complete and that we have all of the information needed for plan review. On the back page, you will find more details about each item on the list.

Please complete the Building Permit Application with all requested information.

The method for determining the valuation for purposes of building permit applications is set out in the Minnesota Building Code and must include costs for all parts of the construction project and also the value of labor to do the work. Even when a homeowner is doing their own project, their work has value. For new residential buildings and additions, valuations are calculated by a standardized cost per square foot of area for each type of space, as found on the Residential Valuation Schedule Form. The building permit fee, state surcharge and plan review fee are determined according to the Building Permit Fee Schedule using the calculated valuation. We can calculate this or you may also use the Permit Fee Calculator.

If you are building a new home or adding one or more dwelling units to an existing home, WLSSD assesses a Capacity Availability Fee of $940 per unit. The CAF is collected by the city of Duluth with other permit and plan review fees. Click here  for a more detailed explanation.

The Erosion Control Application and Plan is required for all new dwellings and any project with a land disturbance of 3,000 square feet or greater, and when land disturbance is located in a designated shoreland. The purpose of the permit is to ensure that approved erosion control methods are used to keep disturbed soil and other material out of the storm sewer system, streams, and the lake. Please complete the application and follow instructions carefully.

The Residential Mechanical Information form must be submitted with the HVAC permit application for a new residence. It tells us that ventilation, make-up, and combustion air meet mechanical and energy code standards. The completed form must also be posted at the jobsite at the time of rough-in mechanical inspection.

Site plans showing locations for new principal buildings and accessory buildings, including detached garages, must be based on a survey drawing showing the monumentation placed by a surveyor marking the boundaries of the lot on the ground. Surveyed monumentation must be located in the field in order to be useful for layout of structures and in order for inspectors to verify that buildings are located in accordance with approved plans. The complete survey policy is included in this packet with additional details.

All new structures and additions and some other projects require a site plan drawing. The intake checklist indicates which types of projects need a site plan. Review the Residential Site and Survey Packet to help as you prepare your own. Be sure to plan for and show how stormwater drainage flows on your property before and after construction.

Use this summary to plan your project and prepare your drawings. It discusses many code requirements for the most common residential construction projects. Incorporating the Residential Code Requirements into your plans will speed up the plan review process and can eliminate problems during construction and inspection. The entirety of the Minnesota State Building Code is available on the MN Construction Codes and Licensing Division website (search in your browser for MN CCLD building codes).

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors save lives and are required by the building code. This handout explains the requirements and shows where these devices must be located.

To allow escape and rescue in case of a fire in your home, Minnesota’s building code requires egress and rescue windows. Click here for the details about what is required in your home.

We want your project to go smoothly from beginning to end. Click here for information about inspections and a description of inspections most commonly needed for new construction, additions, and remodeling of residential dwellings.

If your new home, addition, or remodel includes a deck, the Deck Application Packet may be submitted along with your building permit application, or you may provide all the required information on your plan set.

The Life Safety Office issues rental licenses. If your project is a rental property, we will route your plans for additional review by the Life Safety Office.

Look for more information for specific construction situations in the Document Library.

Sample Drawings

Samples of several types of drawings are provided as examples for submittal. Your drawings will be different. These sample drawings do not show all of the code information you may need to provide.

Residential Roofed or Multi-story Structures on Posts over 120 SF

Additions and multi-level decks which are over 120 square feet in area must be designed by an engineer.

Residential Design Guidelines for Additions on Posts 120 SF or less

Tables provide minimum sizes for footings, beams and joists.

Helical Pile Specification and Installer Designation Form

For helical piles on all decks and additions under 120 square feet. Decks and additions over 120 square feet requires engineered design.

Residential Header & Girder span Requirements

Use this chart to find code compliant headers, and list them on the plans next to door and window openings.

Residential Detached Garage Information & Application Packet

Residential Fireplace Info Sheet

Residential Solar PV Installations Checklist & Instructions

Fence Zoning Permits Info Sheet

Manufactured (HUD) Home Installation Permit & Plan Review Application

Floodplain Permitting Requirements

Other Contacts for Your Residential Project

Planning & Zoning 

  • Contact Planning and Zoning to discuss variances, street and alley vacations, and some other zoning and land use topics.

City Engineering

  • Contact Engineering for questions about building addresses, water and sewer utilities, stormwater and erosion control, and gas service.

HRA Rehab Resources

  • The Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority offers a variety of loan products for both landlords and homeowners to maintain and improve their property. Loans have favorable terms and may involve no interest and/or deferred payments for qualified applicants.

St. Louis County


St. Louis County regulates private on-site septic systems.

Minnesota Health Department


The state of Minnesota regulates private wells.