Decorative bar
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Powered by Google

Frequently asked questions - Plumbing plan review


  1. What types of projects need to be reviewed by the DLI?
  2. Do I need to submit plans for just handicap restroom remodeling?
  3. What about projects are considered "minor remodel?" Do I need to submit plans?
  4. Why does DLI review plumbing plans for public and commercial buildings?
  5. Who is the "administrative authority?"
  6. Who can prepare and submit these documents?
  7. What is the approximate amount of time that should be allotted for the plan review process? Also -- plan review used to take one to two weeks - why does it sometimes take longer now?
  8. What can be done to speed up the plan review process?
  9. Are approved plans returned to the applicant?
  10. Should those approved plans be on site?
  11. Can work begin without approved plans?

1.) What types of projects need to be reviewed by DLI?

Minnesota Rules, part 1300.0215, subpart 6 states: "Prior to the installation by any person, corporation, or public agency, of a system of plumbing that serves the public or that serves any considerable number of persons, or any plumbing system that shall affect the public health in any manner, complete plans and specifications, together with any additional information that the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry may require, shall be submitted in duplicate and approved by the commissioner. The appraisal of the commissioner shall reflect the degree to which these plans and specifications affect the public health and conform to the provisions of the Minnesota Plumbing Code. No construction shall proceed except in accordance with approved plans. Any material alteration or extension of the existing system shall be subject to these same requirements. This rule shall not apply to cities of the first class, except those plumbing installations in hospitals or in buildings in these cities owned by the federal or the state government."

Except for cities with formal plan review agreements with DLI, 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 in units of five or more.

Approximately 35 cities have a formal agreement to perform plumbing plan reviews on all projects requiring plan review. Contact this office a local Plumbing Standards Representative for help with any questions or concerns. View a list of cities that have plan review agreements with DLI.

Go to top.

2.) Do I need to submit plans for just handicap restroom remodeling?

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

Go to top.

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

A "minor remodel" project is considered a plumbing project consisting of five or fewer fixtures and applies to standard installation 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 from the city or DLI to verify compliance with the Plumbing Code.

Five-fixture type "minor remodel" installation shall NOT apply to:

Any state licensed facilities (MDH licensed health care facilities and MN state correctional facilities as defined in MN Statutes, 326B.43, subd. 1), and any commercial kitchens, or licensed food/beverage preparation, service, or processing areas. Exception is if the scope of work is solely within the restroom with five or fewer fixtures.

A checklist has been established for use as guidance to determine if the proposed "minor remodel" project may or may not require plan review by DLI. The administrative authority retains 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.

For 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 non-licensed facility considered a "minor remodel" such as water closet/lavatory installation in existing facilities, check with the administrative authority regarding plan review. This is not binding in any municipalities. A municipality can still require plan review and submittal to DLI for any plumbing installation. Plumbing inspections must still be performed by the administrative authority.

For projects where DLI is 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 to DLI:

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

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

3.  Pay required inspection fee calculated from application; and

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

Upon confirmation from DLI receiving 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 notified and performed in accordance with Minnesota Rules, parts 1300.0215, subparts 1 and 2. View more information about inspections.

Be advised that incomplete submittal or inaccurate information will delay the request and/or the permitting application will be declined. In cases where the information provided on the permitting is not accurate or misleading, and does not reflect the scope of "minor remodel" installation, a letter will be issued requesting for an additional plan review fee and/or information.  

Go to top.

4.) Why does DLI review plumbing plans for public and commercial buildings?

The Minnesota Plumbing Code requires that plans for all plumbing projects that serve the public must be reviewed and approved by DLI. The purpose of plan review is to check whether proposed projects will comply with the Minnesota Plumbing Code. If they do not, corrections can be made to the plan rather than to an actual installed plumbing system, saving time and expense.

Go to top.

5.) 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 that is conducted by persons knowledgeable about plumbing installation requirements, and includes enforcement of all code provisions including materials, methods, inspection, and testing, then the administrative authority is the governing body of the adopting unit of government, its agents, and employees. The commissioner of DLI retains the ultimate authority to enforce Minnesota Statutes, sections 326B.41 to 326B.49, and provisions of the plumbing code that are necessary to ensure compliance. (From Minnesota Rule, part 4715.0100 "Definitions").

Go to top.

6.) Who can prepare and submit these documents?

According to the Board of Registration of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design, plans shall be submitted by a registered engineer. However, a master plumber may also submit plans for projects where they are performing the installation.

Go to top.

7.) What is the approximate amount of time that should be allotted for the plan review process? Also - plan review used to take one to two weeks - why does it sometimes take longer now?

The amount of time needed to review plans once they reach our office 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 DLI for information about plan review turnaround time at (651) 284-5063.

Go to top.

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

We encourage designers to submit complete, 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. Almost one-third of the plans submitted to DLI are incomplete or illegible. Up to one-quarter of staff time is spent requesting and reviewing corrections of incomplete plans.

Go to top.

9.) Are approved plans returned to the applicant?

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

Go to top.

10.) Should those approved plans be on site?

Yes, a copy of the plan that was submitted for review and approval should be on site to allow the installer to install according to the approved plan and to assist the inspector to verify installation according to the approved plan.

Go to top.

11.) Can work begin without approved plans?

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

On occasion, DLI has given 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, DLI has 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 on "minor remodel", see frequently asked question number 3.

Go to top.

DLI home page | Directions and maps | News and media | Website disclaimer