When it comes to building codes, most people have an opinion, are they there to keep us safe, or are they a nuisance? Without a doubt, building codes are a good thing. Their purpose is to ensure proper workmanship and to provide for your safety. Although a home inspection is not a "code check", it is important that a home inspector keep up on the latest code changes so that any health and safety issues can be communicated.
People can be confused when it comes to required building permits and applying codes to work being done on a home. There are national code organizations that set national building codes. The best way to make sure you are in compliance is to contact your local officials. In Rochester, and other cities in the southeastern MN area, you can contact the city to talk to the appropriate building inspector. In the outlying areas, contact the county to learn about specific requirements for your project. These folks can probably do a pretty good job in showing you why and how a perceived nuisance is really a good thing.