Printable Handout for Basements

Permit and Fees

A building permit is required to finish all single family basements. The basement finish permit issued by the City will also cover plumbing and heating system modifications to existing or roughed-in systems if the homeowner(s) does the work themselves. If subcontractors are hired to do specific work such as heating, plumbing or electrical work, they are required to obtain separate permits for the work they do and they will be responsible for code compliance

In all cases a separate electrical permit will be required.

Basement finishing permit fees are $176.00 (includes state surcharge), does not including the electrical permit.

Plan Submittal

You must submit some kind of sketch showing all intended work to be done, type of materials used, dimensions and sizes along with your application for permit. Two (2) copies of the plans are required. You may draw the plans yourself - provide as much construction detail as you can.

Specific Requirements

  • A hardwired smoke detector with battery backup must be installed in all newly constructed areas of the basement. These detectors must be placed in each sleeping room and in the hallway serving the sleeping room(s). Smoke detectors must be installed in the remaining portions of the house in each sleeping room, hallways serving sleeping rooms and on each floor level (these may be battery operated). These must be installed and be operational for final inspection. A carbon monoxide detector must also be installed within 10 feet of each bedroom.
  • An egress window with a clear opening of 5.7 square feet and within 44” of the floor must be provided in the basement and in each bedroom. See the inspector for more details. 
  • All rigid foam insulation must be covered with ½” gypsum board or an approved finish material. 
  • Habitable space shall not have a ceiling height of less than 7’0”. Habitable rooms shall have a floor area of not less than 70 Square feet and not be less than 7 feet in any horizontal direction.
  • All wood in direct contact with concrete or masonry is to be pressure treated or wood of natural resistance to decay. Fasteners for treated wood shall be of hot-dipped zinc-coated galvanized steel, stainless steel, silicon bronze or copper. 
  • If using a paneling material less than ¼” thick it must be applied over gypsum. 
  • If finishing space under stairs for use as storage or a closet the entire space must be sheet rocked with ½” gypsum board.
  • Bathrooms that do not have a window that can be opened must have mechanical ventilation vented to the outside. 
  • Cement, fiber-cement and glass mat gypsum shall be used as backers for wall tile in tub and shower areas and wall panels in shower areas. 
  • Fireplace requirements - printable handout.
  • All new concealed gas piping must be air tested at 25# for 12 hours. No mechanical gas pipe joint may be concealed.
  • All electrical, plumbing and heating work must be installed in accordance with appropriate State Codes.
  • A 4 mil poly moisture barrier must be placed against all concrete or block exterior foundation walls prior to applying furring strips, when installing fiberglass insulation. Another 4 mil poly vapor barrier must be placed over the warm side of the insulation prior to covering with finish materials. State Energy Code Requirement.
  • Every room should have a warm air supply and return air register, except closets, bathrooms, and utility rooms are prohibited from having return air openings. MN Mechanical Code section 918.

Finishing Basement Inspections Required By Law

  1. Plumbing rough-In inspection before concealing – if applicable.
  2. Heating rough-in inspection before concealing – if applicable.
  3. Electrical wiring rough-in inspection before framing inspection and before concealing (call Mr. Patrick McMullen at (612) 866-1979 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, for electrical inspections).
  4. Framing inspection.
  5. Insulation and vapor barrier inspection.
  6. Final plumbing, heating, electrical inspections – if applicable.
  7. Final occupancy inspection.
A violation of the Code is a misdemeanor pursuant to Minnesota Statute 16B.69 and Minnesota Rules, Chapter 1300.

The person doing the work authorized by a permit should notify the building department that the work is ready for inspection pursuant to MN 1300.0210 Subp. 4.

Work should not be covered or concealed before the inspection is made and the work approved pursuant to MN1300.0210 Subp. 5.