Minnesota Building Codes

Overview of the Minnesota Building Codes

Minnesota energy codes

Minnesota’s building codes, derived from the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), are designed to enhance energy efficiency in buildings, while also prioritizing building safety as a key aspect of the Minnesota State Building Code. They set standards for insulation, HVAC systems, lighting, and more to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact, establishing construction standards for the construction industry and ensuring a level playing field for all buildings in the state. Complying with these codes not only saves money for building owners but also contributes to a greener, more sustainable Minnesota, promoting cost-effective ways to achieve these goals. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), Construction Codes & Licensing Division (CCLD), adopts the Minnesota Energy Code as part of the state building codes, emphasizing the comprehensive approach the state building code creates in setting standards for energy efficiency and building safety.

Current Commercial Code of Minnesota

The 2020 Minnesota Building Code is an adaptation of the International Building Code 2018 (IBC 2018) and includes several state-specific amendments. It covers a wide range of construction and building standards for both new constructions and existing buildings, focusing on areas such as fire safety, occupancy classification, building height and area limitations, egress, and structural design. It was made effective on March 31, 2020, and is enforceable by municipalities only if adopted by local ordinance, outlining comprehensive regulations to ensure the safety and integrity of buildings throughout Minnesota. Among these amendments is the Minnesota Plumbing Code, which is a crucial part of ensuring the design, construction, and maintenance of plumbing systems meet the highest standards. This code serves as the essential guideline for architects, engineers, and builders in the state, ensuring all constructions, including those governed by new building codes, meet the required safety and environmental standards.

Current Residential Code

The 2020 Minnesota Residential Code adopts and amends the International Residential Code 2018 (IRC 2018), focusing on the construction and maintenance of one- or two-family residential structures. This comprehensive code, effective from March 31, 2020, includes detailed chapters on administrative procedures, definitions, building planning, foundations, wall and roof construction, energy efficiency, mechanical, fuel gas, plumbing, and electrical systems. It is structured to ensure safety, sustainability, and regulatory compliance in residential construction throughout Minnesota, providing essential guidelines for architects, builders, and inspectors in the state. It establishes a minimum construction standard throughout Minnesota, ensuring that all residential buildings meet baseline safety and efficiency requirements under the 2020 Minnesota Residential Code.

Climate Zones: 6A, 7

Climate Zones: 6A, 7

Code Adoption and Change Process

Code Change Process

Minnesota’s building code change process is overseen by the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). The process involves the review and adoption of codes based on new editions of the international standards, with amendments specific to Minnesota. Public feedback and stakeholder involvement are integral to the process.

Regulatory: Authority for adopting the state energy codes has been given to the Department of Labor and Industry. The state’s Administrative Procedures Act provides for a minimum update process of 18 months. Its procedures require a formal public hearing only if requested by 25 or more individuals. The Building Codes and Standards Division delivers an executive summary of the proposed rule changes to the office of the Governor. After the Governor and State Reviser’s Office approve the rule changes, a Notice of Adoption is published in the state register.

Code Change Cycle

Minnesota typically updates its building codes every three years, aligning with the publication cycle of the international codes which serve as the basis for the state codes.

Next Code Update

The next scheduled update for the Minnesota building codes is due to incorporate changes from the latest editions of the international standards. These updates usually follow shortly after the new international codes are published and reviewed.


These points reflect the ongoing regulatory efforts to maintain current and effective building standards within the state.


Effective Dates of Minnesota Code Adoptions

June 2, 2015 The current commercial energy code, based on the 2012 IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, becomes effective. The code establishes minimum standards for the construction, reconstruction, alteration, and repair of non-residential buildings governing matters including design and construction standards regarding heat loss control, illumination, and climate control pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, sections 326B.101, 326B.106, and 326B.13.
February 14, 2015 The current residential energy code, based on the 2012 IECC with amendments, becomes effective.

The following are exemptions from the code:

  • Portions of the building that do not enclose conditioned space, including garages
  • Insulation R-values, air barrier, and vapor retarder requirements are not required for existing foundations, crawl space walls, and basements in existing dwellings or existing dwelling units whose alteration or repair require a permit if the original dwelling’s permit was issued before the effective date of this chapter
  • Additions to existing dwellings or dwelling units may be made without making the entire dwelling or dwelling unit comply, provided that the addition complies with all the requirements of this chapter
  • Alteration or repairs to existing dwellings or dwelling units may be made without making the entire dwelling or dwelling unit comply, provided the alteration complies with as many requirements of this chapter as feasible, as determined by the designated building official
  • Buildings that have been specifically designated as historically significant by the state or local governing body, or listed or determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places
  • If a building houses more than one occupancy, each portion of the building must conform to the requirements for the occupancy housed in that portion
  • This chapter does not cover buildings, structures, or portions of buildings or structures whose peak design energy rate usage is less than 3.4 Btu per hour per square foot or 1.0 Watt per square foot of floor area for all purposes
August 18, 2014 The adoption notice for the updated commercial energy code is posted in the Minnesota State Register. The notice for the updated residential energy code is posted as well.
April 7, 2014 The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) releases the first draft of the updated commercial and residential energy codes.
June 1, 2009 The 2007 Minnesota State Building Code becomes effective.
2008 After seven and a half years, the state adopts new residential and commercial energy codes based on the 2006 IRC and ASHRAE 90.1-2004, respectively.
2008 After seven and a half years, the state adopts new residential and commercial energy codes based on the 2006 IRC and ASHRAE 90.1-2004, respectively.
April 2008 The State of Minnesota works closely with the Center for Climate Strategies to create a Climate Mitigation Action Plan which includes improving the energy code and incentives for more efficient buildings.
July 20, 1999 A commercial energy code exceeding ASHRAE 90.1-1989 becomes effective.
1979 Individual counties outside of the seven-county Minneapolis/St. Paul area and incorporated cities with populations of less than 2,500 were given the option of enforcing a statewide building code. Many elected to have no enforcement within their area.


Donald Sivigny
Building Codes and Standards
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
Email: don.sivigny@state.mn.us

Isaac Elnecave
Senior Policy Manager
Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)
Email: ielnecave@mwalliance.org

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