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Minnesota permit requirements for radon mitigation systems

If you want to have a radon mitigation system installed in your home, you might need a permit. As I've shown in past blog posts about hot roofs and Diamond Piers, requirements and interpretations of the building code can vary from city to city. While attending a recent meeting of the Minnesota Association of Radon Professionals, I was surprised to hear one of the board members say that about half of the cities in Minnesota already require permits for radon mitigation systems.

Side note: I've always called them radon mitigation systems. Some call them Radon Reduction Systems, others call them Radon Control Systems. We're all talking about the same thing.

Radon mitigation monitorThe current rules

When Minnesota adopted a new building code in 2015, the requirements for radon systems changed a bit. I blogged about those changes here: http://structuretech1.com/new-radon-rules-for-mn/. Section 1303.2400 says that sections 1303.2400 to 1303.2402 address passive mitigation systems in new construction. My interpretation is that those sections do not apply to existing homes. The only portion that might apply to existing homes is section 1303.2403, Requirements for Active Radon Control Systems. That code section doesn't say whether it applies to existing homes or not.

To help address this, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has published a fact sheet titled "Radon Control Systems". At the top of page 2, you can find the following Q&A:

Are permits and inspections required for the installation of radon control systems?

Yes. Building permits and inspections are required for passive and active control systems.

Do the requirements for radon control systems apply to radon remediation work in existing homes?

No. Passive radon control systems are only required in new residential structures (section 1303.2400 subp. 1). Requirements for active radon control systems would only apply when adding a fan to an existing home that already has a (code compliant) passive radon control system in place (section 1303.2403).

So what does all that mean? I don't know. My interpretation is that the building code only addresses radon in new construction or additions, not existing construction. To see how different cities throughout Minnesota are addressing this, I contacted the building inspections departments for most of the largest cities here in Minnesota. I asked them if a permit is required to install a radon mitigation system in an existing home.

As you can see from my results below, there is a lot of disagreement about this topic. Some cities require a permit, some don't. One large city actually had two different people get back to me, one saying permits are required and the other saying they're not. No joke. I omitted that city from my list.

Apple Valley No
Blaine Yes
Bloomington No
Brooklyn Park Yes
Burnsville No
Coon Rapids Yes
Eagan Yes
Eden Prairie Yes
Edina No
Lakeville No
Mankato Yes
Maple Grove No
Minneapolis Yes
Minnetonka No
Moorhead No
Plymouth No
Richfield No
Rochester No
Saint Paul Yes
Shakopee Yes
St. Cloud No
St. Louis Park No
Woodbury No

For the cities that require a permit, expect the total cost of a mitigation system to be about $200 - $300 more than cities without permit requirements. This is because radon mitigation contractors are passing along the permit fee to the client, as well as an upcharge for their added time to obtain the permit.

Author: Reuben SaltzmanStructure Tech Home Inspections

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Minnesota home inspector training advice: join the ASHI Heartland chapter (it rocks)

If you're a Minnesota home inspector or aspire to become one, you should join the Heartland Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). In fact, if you're a home inspector anywhere close to Minnesota, you ought to join our chapter, which was rebooted back in 2014 after being defunct for a couple of years. We've grown steadily ever since, and we currently have over 80 members.

What's an ASHI chapter?

From the ASHI website, "Chapters are the heart of ASHI, delivering all the benefits of membership in an inspector-friendly, nurturing environment. Here you will find technical education, marketing and business-building tips, networking opportunities, report writing suggestions, camaraderie and swapping of "war stories."

In my own words, we're a group of home inspectors who meet together every month to learn from trade professionals and each other, in order to be better home inspectors. We ask each other questions and have regular discussions in an effort to deliver better service to our clients. To join a chapter, one must also be a member of ASHI at the national level, but our chapter still welcomes visitors to our monthly meetings whether they're members of ASHI or not. Annual chapter dues are $100.

It's all about education

The top reason to join the ASHI Heartland Chapter is education. For starters, we have monthly meetings ten months out of the year. The monthly meetings typically take place at Frankie's Pizza in New Hope. Chapter members pay $15 to attend these meetings, which includes dinner. For chapter members who can't attend the meetings in person, we offer live streaming of the chapter meetings through Zoom. We also offer recordings of the past meetings to current chapter members.

With the chapter meetings alone, that's 20 FREE hours of CE each year. We also offer two all-day seminars each year for only $25 each to chapter members, which is a steal. The photo below was taken from our most recent all-day seminar, which was a joint effort with the Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors.

Pat Huelman

Other chapter benefits

Besides all of the continuing education, chapters are a great way to meet other home inspectors. It's about building relationships. I've hired home inspectors that I've met through this chapter, and I've referred hundreds of home inspections to other home inspectors in my chapter. I've also done numerous ride-along inspections with home inspectors who are technically my competition. I don't claim to have any inspection secrets; if I teach my competition, they'll do a better job, and so will I.

We don't officially have a mentorship program in our chapter for new home inspectors, but that's something I'm hoping for us to implement in the next year.

Past speakers:

Who teaches at our monthly meetings and all-day seminars? Here's a partial list of some recent past presenters:

  • Me
  • Barry Eliason, Structure Tech
  • Andy Schreder, MN State Building Official
  • Patrick Huelman, U of M Associate Extension Professor
  • Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It Inc.
  • Scott Dorn, BOGO Pest Control
  • Joe Konopacki, Insight Property Services
  • Curt Johnson, Simpson Strong-Tie
  • Derek Burchill, Electric City
  • Greg Achmann, Fireside Hearth and Home
  • Corey Campbell, Legend Technical Services
  • Ed Cottingham, Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust

For a full list of past and future speakers for our chapter, check out our chapter calendar here: http://ashiheartland.org/calendar/. Also, check out the upcoming events page on our website.

All are welcome

As I've said before, anyone is welcome to attend our chapter meetings. If there's an upcoming meeting that sounds interesting, come check it out. If you'd like to subscribe to our chapter's newsletter, please sign up below:




Author: Reuben SaltzmanASHI Heartland Chapter President

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