Licensing, Plan Review & Remodeling
- Obtain appropriate Plan Review Application. Click on the tabs below to identify the license category and locate the plan review application.
- Contact Building and Safety Officials. Specific contact information for other agencies can be found in the FAQ on the bottom of this page.
- Complete Plan Review Application. Complete all questions and sections. Mark N/A for any questions or sections that don't apply.
- Submit Application and Plan Review Fee to CCHD. Applications must be submitted at least 30 days prior to construction and/or anticipated opening date.
- A Registered Sanitarian (RS) will review your application. The RS will contact you with comments and questions. They will let you know if there are issues that need to be resolved before they can approve the plan.
- The RS will send you a Plan Review Approval Letter once the review is complete and any deficiencies are addressed.
- Complete construction. Establishment must be constructed as specified in the approved plan. Any changes must be submitted in writing for approval.
- Schedule the Preopening Inspection. Make sure all equipment, plumbing, and ventilation is properly installed and operating before inspection.
- Building and Fire officials should inspect and approve the facility prior to the Preopening Inspection. They may be scheduled on the same day. The RS will sign off on the City of Great Falls SIC approval after the preopening inspection.
- Complete State License Application and pay Annual License Fee. Upon successful completion of the preopening inspection, the owner and RS will complete and sign the License Application. The license fee must be a check or money order made to DPHHS. The fee and signed application will be mailed to DPHHS for processing. Annual renewals will be billed and processed by DPHHS.
A Retail Food Establishments (RFE) prepare, serve, or vend food directly to the consumer. If you will be operating out of permanent building and will be preparing, serving, packaging, vending, or delivering food directly to the consumer, use the Retail Food Establishment_Plan Review Application. Some examples of RFE that would use this application are Restaurants, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores, Gas Stations, Catering Kitchens, Ghost Kitchens, Food Banks, and Soup Kitchens. Refer to the FAQ below for additional information and criteria for license exemption.
These food services are equipped to be self-contained with on-board equipment, storage, and clean up facilities. This state license allows them to travel anywhere in MT to operate if they can do so without a commissary. They must be able to take on potable water and dispose of wastewater in an approved manner. They are allowed to operate on a year round basis if feasible (freezing weather can affect plumbing).
City-County Health Department requires moving daily to service their mobile unit to ensure that enough water will be available for operating in a safe, sanitary manner. If not moved daily, the mobile units are considered permanent and the on-board wastewater holding tanks in permanent facilities are in violation of Cascade County wastewater regulations.
Obtaining a License
Temporary Food Service Establishments are retail food establishments that operate on a temporary basis and are associated with an event. They may operate up to 21 days with a fixed location at a single event (e.g., Montana State Fair), or they may operate up to 45 days with a fixed menu and layout at a recurring event (e.g., farmers' market). If you are preparing food for the general public at an event, you must obtain a Temporary Food Service Permit from CCHD - Environmental Health Division (EH). This permit is required whether you're selling, sampling, or providing food free of charge. To obtain a Temporary Food Service Permit, complete the application below and submit it, along with the application/permit fee, to CCHD -EH. Applications should be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to event. Applications submitted last minute (within 3 days of event) may be charged an additional fee for expedited service. Permits must be posted at event.
- When do I need a license?
Anytime food or beverage is served to the public (with or without a charge) a state food license, temporary food service permit, or cottage food registration must be obtained. The only exceptions to this rule are non-profits that serve less than 4 days per year, and people that serve items that are commercially prepackaged which do not require refrigeration like canned soda, bags of chips, wrapped candy, etcetera. If the items are open, or if they must be kept cold or hot for safety, a license must be obtained.
- What other agencies do I need to contact?
It depends on what you are doing, but for the most part it is always good to touch base with the following to ensure that you don’t have any surprises:
Within the city limits of Great Falls:
- City of Great Falls, Planning & Community Development Department (Zoning and Building, Plumbing, Mechanical Inspection & Permitting), 406-455-8430, Civic Center, 2 Park Drive South, Room 112, Great Falls, Montana 59403
- City of Great Falls, Fire Rescue (Safety Inspection Certificates), 406-727-8070, 105 9th St South, Great Falls, Montana 59403
County/Outside the city limits of Great Falls:
- Cascade County, Planning Department, (Zoning/Location Conformance Permits), 406-454-6905, 121 4th Street N, Suite 2H/I, Great Falls, MT 59401
- Montana Department of Labor & Industry, State Building Inspector (Cascade County), 406-439-2982
- Additional contact information for State Building, Electrical, Plumbing, and other inspectors can be found here: https://bsd.dli.mt.gov/building-codes-permits/inspection-contact-information
- Montana Department of Justice, State Fire Marshal (Area 2) 406-771-1510
- Where do I get a plan review application?
Many places! You can find any of our plan review applications on our website. You can call Environmental Health Division at 406-454-6950 to have one mailed to you. And of course, you can drop by the CCHD office at 115 4th St S, Great Falls to pick one up in person.