Tents and Canopies

The following is basic information on the most common requirements for temporary events, special structures, membrane structures, stages and platforms, and tents.

There are other requirements that may be enforced depending on the type of activity being conducted; therefore, it is essential that the University of Minnesota Building Code Department (BCD) be contacted prior to the placement of the structure.

The applicant must submit for approval a detailed drawing noting the type of structure to be erected and a site plan illustrating its layout, location, and separations from other structures.

Note: The permit for the use of tents or temporary membrane structures on a single premise shall not exceed a period of 180 days within a twelve-month period. They shall be removed prior to the expiration date documented on the permit.


A final inspection is required upon the installation of a temporary structure(s) to verify it is safe and accessible to the public.

Schedule the final inspection at least 24 hours in advance for the metro area, and 48 hours in advance for greater Minnesota. The installer/contractor and owner representative shall be on site at time of the final inspection.  A copy of approved permit document(s) and permit shall be available on site for the inspector.


Membrane Structure

An air-inflated, air-supported, cable, or frame covered structure, which is erected for not otherwise defined as a tent.

Stage & Platform

Temporary ground supported structures more than 30 inches above grade, greater than 400 square feet and/or supports people or equipment in the production of an outdoor entertainment event.

Temporary Special Event Structure

Any temporary ground-supported structure, platform, stage, stage scaffolding or rigging, canopy, tower supporting audio or visual effects equipment or similar structures.


A structure, enclosure, umbrella structure or shelter, with or without sidewalls or drops, constructed of fabric or pliable material supported in any manner except by air or the contents it protects.