Building permits are required for:
Submit an application and two sets of your building plans (required for any finishing or change of use) to the City of Hopkins Inspections Department. Building permits for basements will typically be processed within 5-7 business days of receiving a complete set of plans.
When your permit is issued, you will receive an orange inspection record card that will tell you which inspections to call for and the number to call. Requests for inspections should be made at least 24 hours in advance. Read more about inspections.
The State of Minnesota has updated the building code effective January 24, 2015. We are in the process of reviewing our website to make sure everything is up to code, but you should always review the State of MN Building Code before beginning any project.
An egress window is required in every bedroom and in unfinished basements when habitable space is first added or habitable space is expanded. If an egress window is installed in a basement bedroom, an additional egress window is not required in the balance of the basement unless there are additional bedrooms.
Non-bearing wood framed walls may be 2x4 studs at 16 or 24 inches on center. Walls must have a bottom plate and at least a single top plate. Plates in contact with concrete floors must be treated wood, redwood, or cedar. For stud size and spacing for bearing walls, contact the Inspections Department. Wood used for framing soffits may be 2x2 material.
Headers in non-bearing walls may consist of a 2x4 laid flat for openings up to 8 feet wide. No cripples or blocking is required above the header provided the distance from the header to the floor joist above is not more than 24 inches. For headers in bearing walls, contact the Inspections Department.
Do not remove any existing partitions unless you have determined that they are not load bearing partitions. If any portion of a load bearing partition is removed, a header or beam must be installed to transfer the load to a footing.
Treated wood furring strips not less than 1x2 inches may be attached directly to the interior of exterior masonry or concrete walls below grade or untreated strips may be used if an approved vapor retarder is installed between the wall and the furring strips.
Wood veneer paneling must be placed on wood framing spaced not more than 16 inches on center. Wood veneer paneling less than ¼ inch nominal thickness must have not less than a 3/8 inch gypsum board backer.
Fireblocking is required in a number of locations to impede the spread of smoke, hot gases, and flames through the framework in the event of a fire.
Draftstopping is required whenever dropped ceilings or open web joists are used and a concealed space is created that exceeds 1000 square feet in area.
There are essentially two ways that exterior basement foundation walls can be insulated: with the use of foam plastics and various types of furring strips or with a conventional wood stud partition and fiberglass batts. Whenever foam plastics are used, they must be covered with a layer of ½ -inch gypsum board unless the foam plastic is approved for use without the covering.
Foundations should be insulated to an R-10. A vapor retarder is required on both the warm side of the insulation and against the foundation wall. Rim joist areas must also be insulated to R-10. To avoid problems with condensation and mold in the rim joist area, it is recommended that you use one of the foil faced foam insulations and seal the foam into place between the joists. If the ceiling will not be finished and the foam in the joist space will be left exposed, it must be covered with ½ -inch gypsum board unless the foam plastic is approved for use without the covering.
For additional information, download Basement Insulation from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Smoke alarms are required in every bedroom and on each floor of the dwelling, including the basement. Alarms must be installed in accordance with the manufacturers' written instructions.
CO detectors must be located within 10 feet of all bedroom doors. The rules for hardwired or battery operated CO detectors are the same as for smoke detectors.
An often-overlooked problem with basement finishing is the confinement of fuel burning appliances and the resultant poor performance due to a lack of sufficient oxygen. If you are enclosing the space housing your furnace and/or water heater, you may need to provide additional combustion air by installing an exterior combustion air duct or providing openings in the enclosing walls or doors. If you have any questions regarding the issue of combustion air, please contact the Inspections Department.
See Gypsum Wallboard.
All electrical work is subject to permits and inspections. The State Board of Electricity administers the Electrical Code. The local contact is Doug Torvund, 612-866-5895.
Plumbing permits are required if you install new plumbing fixtures or alter the existing plumbing system. If you have any questions regarding plumbing installations, please contact the Inspections Department. If necessary, a staff member will meet with you to discuss your plumbing project.
Mechanical permits are required for the installation or alteration of mechanical systems. Because basements tend to be cool when weather does not cause furnaces to run often, you may wish to consider the installation of electric baseboard heaters to supplement your existing heating system. They provide a safe means to raise the temperature in occupied rooms and are inexpensive to install and operate.
Prior to finishing any basement space, it is advisable to address any maintenance items prior to the start of work. This could include:
If you have considered installing drain tile and a sump pump, now would be the time to do that as well.