Permit Process and Review

A permit is required for most construction projects where something is being built, repaired, replaced or remodeled. 

Same Day Permits (Over-the-Counter)

Projects that require a building permit, but can be issued at the time of submittal include: fireplace, furnace-A/C, water heater/softener, re-roof, re-side, window/door replacement, HVAC (residential remodel) or plumbing (residential remodel). The City of Big Lake’s "Over-the-Counter" applications are available for download here. Applications submitted via email, mail or fax may be processed within 1-2 business days (subject to change without notice).

Permits that Require a Plan Review

Projects that require review include: basement finish, decks, additions/porches, alterations, remodels, sheds (over 200 square feet), new residential construction, and any commercial work.

Plans required for decks, basement finishes, additions/porches, alterations, remodels, and sheds can be hand-drawn and they do not need to be drawn to scale. Additional drawings may be required on a certificate of survey or aerial view. Call City Hall at 763-263-2107 to see if there is a survey on file to your property. 

Two (2) sets of plans are required for new residential construction and commercial work. Along with any additional paperwork required per project.

Plan review for residential projects may take up to 2 weeks to complete (subject to change without notice). If issues arise during the review process, they will either be identified on the plan(s) or the applicant will be contacted directly for a solution. If you are contacted regarding any issues, please respond at your earliest convenience to avoid further delay in the review process.

Once the approval process is complete, the applicant will be notified that the permit is ready for payment and pick up. Once the fee is paid, the permit will then be issued and work may proceed and inspections may be scheduled by contacting 763-251-2980.


Permits can be paid for by cash, check (payable to: City of Big Lake), or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover). Please do not email or fax credit card information.

No Permit Required

You do not need a permit for projects where only painting, wallpapering, cabinets, and/or carpeting are being done. 

If you are unsure whether a project requires a permit, contact the Building Technician at 763-251-2980 and explain what work will be done. They will then advise whether a permit is required.

Expired Permits

In accordance with Minnesota State Rules, permits expire within 180 days of issuance if no work is stated and no inspections have been called in by the permit holder and/or property owner. Permits may also expire if work has started, but work was suspended for more than 180 days and no inspections were called in by the permit holder and/or property owner.