Before your building contractor can start hammering, you need to obtain a building permit. This permit is required by law, and assures the property owner that the planned construction complies and conforms completely to the regulatory and safety requirements of the State of Florida. As construction progresses, building officials will make scheduled visits and inspections to oversee and ensure that the provisions of the construction code are being properly observed.
That’s a lot of responsibility, and as the homeowner naturally you want the entire permit process to be conducted as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Here’s some helpful info to explain what needs to happen, and how:
What You Need to Know in Acquiring a Building or Renovation Permit
- First, understand why it is necessary to get a permit. The state department handling building permits is mainly concerned with the safety of the homeowner, the building contractor and the general public. It is essential to consider act in accordance with their guidelines in order to prevent any accidents and/or injury on the building site.
- When is a building permit needed? You name it. The permit is needed when constructing, altering, repairing, or removing an entire structure or part of an existing structure. Your experienced building contractor will know exactly which of these categories your proposed project falls under.
- Who can obtain the permit? The homeowner or a building contractor can secure the necessary permit for the construction. If the homeowner is acting as their own building contractor, for example, then he or she is required to personally appear to provide all necessary documents and sign the permit application. If the homeowner has hired a building contractor, however, the usual procedure is that the contractor requests the permit on the client’s behalf. If the building contractor is asking the homeowner to secure the permit on their own, that can be a red flag that these contractors may not be licensed by the state. Only licensed contractors can secure building permits on behalf of a home or property owner.
- What happens when the permit gets issued? Once the permit is issued, the necessary requirements for inspection must be made prior to the commencement of the project. A building inspector will schedule a visit before, during and after the project is completed. Once the building or construction is finished and approved, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued.
- How long does it take before the permit gets released? A building permit can be released after 10 business days from initial submission of requirements. A permit application expires 180 days after the approval date.
- If the building permit is not secured, what will happen? Not only will fines be charged to the homeowner, but an advisory notice will be issued. If the homeowner or contractor secures a building permit after getting a warning, the fee doubles, since the license should have been secured prior to construction. If the notice is ignored by the homeowner, a Notice of Violation will be issued.
- What documents are required to obtain a building permit? Your experienced and licensed building contractor will provide the following documents necessary for your project’s permit application:
- Building elevations
- Electrical plan
- Foundation plan
- Grading and drainage plan
- Landscaping plan
- Mechanical plan
- Site plan
- Structural plan
Clearly, securing a building permit is not super simple and doesn’t happen overnight. Make your life easier. Let your licensed building contractor take the reins at city hall.
Greg Nelson is the owner of Nelson Construction & Renovations Inc. He is a Florida State Certified Building Contractor, creating artistry in all areas of design and construction projects. He is a musician, and artist. A husband and father, Greg appreciates all the wonderful elements of family life.
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