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What types of projects must be reviewed?

Before any person, corporation or  public agency installs a plumbing system that serves the public or a considerable number of people, they must complete plans and specifications and submit those plans to us for review and approval. See Minnesota Rules, part 1300.0215, subpart 6 .

Except for cities with formal plan review agreements with our agency, all plumbing installation must be submitted to the department for review. This includes all new, additions, extensions and alterations in public and commercial buildings, and residential buildings of five or more units.

Approximately 35 cities have a formal agreement to review plumbing plans for all projects. View a list of cities that have plan review agreements with us.

Do I need to submit plans for handicap restroom remodeling?

Except for state-licensed healthcare facilities, projects that simply involve restroom fixture replacement or moving fixtures to accommodate handicap installation requirements without substantially changing concealed piping would not require plan review. Plumbing inspections must still be performed. Please check with the administrative authority.

What about projects that are considered "minor remodel?" Do I need to submit plans?

A "minor remodel" project is a plumbing project consisting of five or fewer fixtures and applies to standard installation in non-licensed facilities where the work does not present any ambiguity of code compliance for a licensed plumbing contractor. An inspection must still be performed by a qualified inspector to verify the work complies  with the Plumbing Code.

Five-fixture type "minor remodel" installation does not apply to:

  • Health licensed facilities such as food/beverage facilities, including commercial restaurants, bars, coffee shops, bed and breakfast facilities, etc.

  • Agricultural licensed facilities such as food processing/preparation areas or facilities, including convenience stores, grocery stores, wineries, bottling facilities, butcher shops, etc.

  • MDH state licensed health care facilities, such as supervisor living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, etc.

  • State correctional facilities

See our checklist  to determine if your proposed "minor remodel" project  requires plan review. We retain the right to deny any request that is not considered standard installation not listed in the checklist or if any plumbing work is installed prior to permitting.

Check  with the administrative authority for plan review requirements on projects where the municipality is the administrative authority and the scope of the plumbing work is limited to standard plumbing installation consisting of five or fewer fixture-type in a non-licensed facility such as water closet/lavatory installation in existing facilities. A municipality can still require plan review and submission to DLI for any plumbing installation. Plumbing inspections must still be performed by the administrative authority.

For projects where we are the administrative authority and if the proposed plumbing work is determined to be considered a "minor remodel," the following must be completed and the requested information must be submitted:

  1. Contact the plumbing inspector in the project area for notification of possible "minor remodel" work.

  2. An inspection permit application from must be completed by the plumbing contractor.

  3. Pay required inspection fee calculated from application. Fees are calculated automatically if applying online; and

  4. Submit signed plumbing plans for the minor remodel for filing and inspection purposes. Plans can be submitted electronically. However, no plan review fee is required if plan review is exempted.

Upon confirmation that we received the required items, the plumbing contractor may proceed to install without plan review. All installations must meet the Minnesota Plumbing Code and required inspections must be performed (Minnesota Rules, parts 1300.0215, subparts 1 and 2). View more information about inspections.

Incomplete submissions or inaccurate information will delay the request or the permit application may declined. We will contact you if we need more information or clarification.

Why must plans be reviewed for public and commercial buildings?

The Minnesota Administrative Code requires that we review and approve all plans for plumbing projects that serve the public. Reviewing plans verifies that proposed projects will comply with the Minnesota Plumbing Code. If they do not, corrections can be made to the plan rather than to an installed plumbing system, saving time and expense.

Who is the "administrative authority?"

"Administrative authority" usually means the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry. However, when a governmental subdivision (e.g. a city) adopts and maintains a comprehensive plumbing enforcement program, then the administrative authority is the governing body of the adopting unit of government, its agents and employees. 

Who can prepare and submit these documents?

Plans can be submitted by a Minnesota-licensed professional engineer.  Also, a master plumber may submit plans for projects where they are  doing the installation.

How long does it take to review plans?

The amount of time needed to review plans may vary depending on the number of plans submitted for review. Typical turnaround time has been two weeks in winter and fewer than four weeks in summer. Contact us for information about plan review turnaround time at 651-284-5063.

What can be done to speed up the plan review process?

Submit your plans electronically through ePlans. Ensure your plans are complete and easy-to-read plans. A project described in an incomplete or illegible plan must be reviewed at least twice -- an initial review, and then additional review(s) of the materials the designer failed to provide with the original plans. Incomplete plans often require twice as much staff time to review and respond as complete plans. Incomplete or illegible plans increase workload and takes staff away from plan approvals, and results in delay of plan review and approval. 

Are approved plans returned to the applicant?

If the submitter requests, paper plans can be returned, otherwise they will be discarded.

Should those approved plans be on site?

Yes. A copy of the approved plan should be on site to allow proper installation and to assist during inspections.

Can work begin without approved plans?

No construction can proceed except in accordance with an approved set of construction plans and a code compliance review called Report on Plans.

On occasion, our agency gives verbal approval to a contractor to begin installation after the plan has been received, reviewed for compliance, and contact has been made with the local administrative authority to ensure that they are aware of and approve the contractor starting prior to receipt of the Report on Plans. When qualified, we have  authorized small "minor remodel" projects which are standard installation of five plumbing fixtures or less in unlicensed facility to proceed without plan review or the issuance of a Report on Plans. For more information about "minor remodel," see frequently asked question number three.

How do I submit plans electronically?

Visit the ePlans -- electronic plan review page for details.