Frequently Asked Questions


 Is a building permit required?

Yes. Before any work is started you must acquire a building permit.

Property Owners: Please be cautious of fraudulent contractors. If you hire a contractor, please check if they have a current North Dakota Contractor's license. To verify if they have a current ND license, please check the North Dakota Secretary of State's contractor inquiry website.

 When do I need a permit?

Permits are required for any:

  • commercial remodel
  • any structural alteration (residential or commercial)
  • residential construction exceeding $2,000
  • window replacements where the size of the windows are altered from existing size.
  • any structure exceeding 120 sq. ft. in size
  • retaining walls that exceed 4 ft. in height and affecting the structural stability of a structure
  • furnace changeouts 
  • water heater changeouts
  • water and sewer hookups
  • fireplace installs


 When do I not need a permit?

We do not require permits for work such as:

  • fences not exceeding 8.5 ft. in height
  • retaining walls that would not disturb a structure
  • sidewalks & driveways on private property not over 30 inches above grade. Sidewalks on the boulevard do require a permit. (Please contact the  Engineering Department for more info or click here for more information.)
  • painting
  • papering
  • tiling
  • carpeting
  • countertops
  • mill work (any similar projects that are aesthetic in nature)
  • landscaping - review on commercial projects are subject to forestry requirements.
  • swimming pools
  • window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not require additional support
  • decks not exceeding 120 sq ft  in area; that are no more than 7 inches above grade at any point; are not attached to a dwelling; and do not serve the exit door required by section R311.3.3
If you are not sure if you need a permit, please call 701.667.3230.

 Why should I get a permit?

  • To ensure the work is constructed properly to safeguard your property.
  • To protect yourself from the claims of future/past home owners.
  • To establish a history of construction or remodeling on your property.

History of construction is important when it comes time to sell, refinance or insure your home.

 How long does it take to get a permit?

Generally less than one hour, depending on the information provided and the complexity of the project. For new homes and garages, please allow for a bit more time.

Commercial Projects may need to be approved by the Mandan Architectural Review Commission (MARC) in order to proceed. An application will need to be filled out and returned to the Building Inspection office in order to start the approval process. MARC typically meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m. Applications must be submitted by Noon the Wednesday prior to the scheduled meeting at which consideration is desired. Please allow sufficient time for the approval process before starting your construction project.

 I need to submit my project to MARC, what do I need?

Applications must be submitted to the Building Inspections Department no later than 12 p.m. (noon) the Wednesday prior to the scheduled meeting at which consideration is desired. MARC typically meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. 

Digital submittals will be accepted. If paper copies are submitted, copies should be no larger than 11 x 17 and need to have complete sets, drawn to scale. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Please call the Building Inspections Department with questions at 701.667.3230.

 I have a permit, but are inspections required?

Yes. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for inspections.

This would include water/sewer, building foundation/wall, framing, plumbing, fuel/gas, attic insulation, decks, and a final inspection.

Inspections are part of the permit process. It is used to check the work being done to determine if it is compatible with the accepted standard of construction.

There is no additional charge for inspections.

 I need an inspection, when should I call to schedule it?

Call as soon as the work is being finished up. Our Department will get an inspection scheduled within the first available time slot, however a different time can be requested, if needed. Minimum wait times are 30 minutes before we can get out to the work site to inspect. *Subject to longer wait times if there are a higher volume of inspections that day.

Please ask the permit technician when the first available time will be.

 How do I find my zoning information?

Please contact the Planning Department with zoning questions at 701.667.3225.

The Public Zoning Map is available here.

 I want to build a shed. What are the City's requirements?

If your shed will be larger than 120 sq ft (10'x12'), you will need a permit.

Anything over the 120 sq ft will need to be at least three (3) feet from the side and rear property lines and six (6) feet away from the house.

It cannot be placed in the front line of your home.