Prepare in advance and contact state, local, and federal agencies to ensure a smooth permitting process
If you’re trying to build in South Florida, getting the right permits can be a complex process. With multiple government agencies involved, and even special rules for being in a hurricane zone, it pays to do research ahead of time. While it might sound tempting to take a few shortcuts on the permitting process, just one or two missed permits could lead to fines, fees, and lawsuits – so when it comes to building permits, the best way to avoid trouble is to do your homework and follow the rules.
Determining potential permit requirements, fees, and building codes should be done before or during the design process, not after
While it doesn’t always happen, those wishing to build or renovate a structure should go through the process of exploring which permits may be required, and ensure that any building plans are up to local and state building codes before or during the design process.
For a client, this may involve significant discussions with an architectural design firm and the construction company prior to the completion of the building designs. If designs and plans aren’t up to code, or it’s impossible to obtain the required permits, clients may have to order a significant re-design, which could mean more time and money and even an entirely new estimate from the construction company (depending on the size and scope of the required changes).
If renovating or expanding an existing structure, it’s especially important to examine all past permits on file
In reality, whether you’re renovating or building a new structure, you should look at the history of the property, any permits that have been granted, and associated public information so that you are as knowledgeable as possible and can potentially prevent any major construction issues or code violations from occurring during the process.
This information includes zoning maps, past permits on file, parcel data, liens on the property, sewer and plumbing lines, past permit violations, and can be gathered both online and in-person from local and state agencies. Without gathering this information, serious mistakes could be made during a building’s construction – such as accidentally violating zoning regulations, being fined for a code violation from many years ago, or even mistakenly cutting into a sewer line.
Make sure to consult the Florida Building Codes (or have an expert do so)
You can easily find the Florida State Building Code online. And while it may be a good idea to review it yourself, it’s also important to consult with experts who understand the code well, and more importantly, understand how to actually interpret it when it comes to designing a building, applying for permits, and conducting a code-violation-free construction process.
Then, review county and city permit regulations to make sure you’re not missing anything
Unfortunately, state codes aren’t the only rules that construction companies and their clients need to follow when building or renovating a structure. There are often a variety of city and/or county codes and zoning regulations which must followed (and fees that must be paid) in order to ensure that a building is completely up to code. Like other regulations, most of these can be found online, but those wishing to build may need to go in-person to review plans with code officials to see which particular codes apply to the structure in question.
Always get permit approval before beginning construction
While it sounds obvious, many uninformed individuals and groups, especially those working with unlicensed or otherwise disreputable design or construction firms, fail to get full permit approval before breaking ground on a construction project. This is always a serious mistake and could lead to lawsuits, massive fees, and, in some situations, the forced demolition or condemnation of the building in question.
Failing to verify that your building plans are up to code and getting approval for your permits before the construction processes begins can have some seriously expensive consequences. So it’s always important to check state and local regulations before you make any big decision in your construction project.
To learn more about the construction permitting process, contact Telesco Construction. We are a design-build firm, meaning that all stages and personnel needed for your project reside under one roof. This streamlines the process, generates efficiencies that can reduce timelines, and guarantees all of the needed expertise to complete a project – including how to navigate South Florida’s permitting process.
Give us a call at 305.390.0250 or just fill out our online contact form today for a free consultation.