Construction Guide - Permits & Procedures

Homeowners Guide for Construction Permits and Procedures

Call Before You Dig
(1-800) 252-1166

This information is for all persons wanting to build a new building, construct an addition, or alter an existing building in the City of Thief River Falls. This is information you need to comply with the Minnesota Building Code, the City of Thief River Falls Municipal Code and all other appropriate governing agencies.

These guidelines do not imply that the enclosed information is the complete specific code requirements for the type of construction that is planned. Please contact your local inspector for specific questions.

Notification List

Building Official

City of Thief River Falls

(218) 681-2500

Permit Fee Schedule

Gopher State One Call

(Locate all underground utilities)

Call three working days before you dig

(1-800) 252-1166


Telephone Service

Qwest - Construction/Maintenance

Lessard-Nyren Utilities

Hugo, Minnesota
(651) 426-2268

Cable TV

Sjoberg’s Cable TV

(218) 681-3044

Minnesota State Electrical Inspector

Scott Stenvik – Thief River Falls

(218) 689-5406 


Electric Service

Thief River Falls Municipal Utilities

(218) 681-5816 or (218) 681-5566

Natural Gas

Minnesota Energy Resources

(1-800) 889-9508

Zoning - 681-2500

Building Official - 681-2500

Public Works - 681-8506

Water - 681-3809

Wastewater - 681-3809

Electrical - 681-5816

Utility Billing Office - 681-4145


Building Permit

A Building Permit is required for most projects. Apply for the permit at the City of Thief River Falls Building Official’s office or APPLY FOR A PERMIT ONLINE.  Call 681-2500 for additional information prior to the start-up of construction.

Examples of work requiring a permit include, but are not limited to:

  • Building a house
  • Finishing a basement
  • Adding a room
  • Building a garage or deck
  • Replacing windows or siding
  • Remodeling
  • Demolishing a building
  • Moving a building
  • Moving a manufactured home
  • Installing a sign
  • Shingling

You do not need a permit for painting, wall papering, kitchen cabinet or vanity replacement, installation of carpeting, vinyl or wood floors, fences less than 7 feet high, lawn sheds 200 sq. ft.or less, decks less than 30 inches high that are not attached to the house, sidewalks and driveways.  

Due to setbacks, it is very important to check with the city’s building official prior to construction of non-permit decks, fences and lawn sheds.

Information required to apply for a new construction building permit:

Site Plan

  • Show all property lines and dimensions.
  • Utilities locations.
  • Elevations of Sanitary Sewer & Water Services.
  • Foundation elevations.
  • Location of project with accurate dimensions from property line to overhang.
  • Legal description.

Construction Drawings

Two complete sets of plans. Show in detail the type of construction and material to be used. These plans shall include at least but are not limited to the following: 

  • Site Plans.
  • Floor Plan (each level).
  • Detailed Wall Sections (walls, stairs, decks, egress windows, grade etc.)
  • Elevation Views (each side) & elevation of deck if applicable.
  • Energy Code (MNCheck acceptable)

Note: We recommend that your Minnesota Licensed Contractor signs the Building Permit.


Constructing a new structure or expanding an existing structure will also require authorization by the Zoning Administrator. Call for information on: 

  • Allowable Use
  • Variance Required
  • Shoreland Regulations
  • Flood Plane Regulations
  • Setback Requirements

Electrical Requirements 

  • Contact Electric Department at 681-5816 or 681-5566.
  • Complete Service Agreement Form.
  • Contact Billing Office at 681-4145 to set up account for municipal utilities.
  • When meters are to be detached from wall, Electric Utility personnel must do the work.
  • Have electrical contractor contact electric utility to coordinate all electrical service work.
  • Location of Service Panel in building is required for meter location.
  • All Electric Service changes require a State of Minnesota Request for Electrical Inspection (blue copy) submitted to Electric Department.
  • State Electrical Inspector (218) 689-3763. 

Connection Permit

A Connection Permit is required to connect to City water and sewer by a licensed plumber, including repair of existing service lines. Permits are applied for at the City of Thief River Falls Building Department located at City Hall or by calling  681-8506. Things to know or do prior to starting: 

  • Sizes and types of water and sanitary sewer
  • Possible outstanding connection fees or assessments.
  • Required costs for digging in the street, for pavement replacement, curb & gutter replacement, and sidewalk restoration.
  • Notification of Building Department at 681-8506  -  48 hours prior to excavation to schedule required inspections.
  • Owner is responsible for water service line from curb stop to house meter.
  • Owner is responsible for sanitary sewer from sewer main to house.
  • Plumber is responsible for paying fees separate from Building Permit fees.
  • Plumber is required to provide to the City of Thief River Falls Engineering Services Department, a dimensional drawing of location of underground water and sewer lines related to the house with physical ties.

Contact the Water Systems Department to determine the size and cost of water meter. For more information call 681-3809.

Plumbing Permit

A plumbing permit is required for inside plumbing by a licensed plumber.

Permits are applied for at the City of Thief River Falls Building Department. For further information please call 681-2500.

Things to know or do prior to starting: 

  • Number and types of plumbing fixtures (sinks, toilets, etc.)
  • Plumber signs permits prior to starting work.
  • Plumber is responsible for fees.
  • Plumber is responsible to notify Building Department 48 hours in advance to schedule required inspections.