Q: When is a building permit required?
A: This is a difficult question to answer because there are certain statutory requirements that must be met using the Florida Building Code. In most cases, Building Permits are required for most projects including, but not limited to, new structures, additions, and replacement components such as windows, doors and mechanical, electrical or plumbing equipment. Building permits would not be required for items that are being repaired such as a broken fence rail, light fixture, ceiling fan or for painting your residence or for the replacement or addition of any type of flooring. It is important to remember that you may make necessary emergency repairs to your residence or business in the event of damage, such as a tree limb falling through your roof, as long as you obtain a building permit as soon as practical after the
event. If in doubt, please call!!! (386) 668-2040 ext 320.
Q: I occupy the house I own and would like to do a major remodel project. Can I obtain the permit as an owner builder?
A: Yes, but you will be required to sign an affidavit indicating that you occupy the house and that you will not offer the property for sale or lease for at least twelve (12) months.
Q: I own a rental property and would like to do a major remodel project. Can I obtain the permit as an owner builder?
A: No. A licensed contractor would be required to pull the permit and do the work.
Q: What is the difference if I obtain a permit myself or have a contractor obtain a permit for work on my house?
A: A very simplified answer is “liability.” Should you decide to apply for a building permit and complete the work yourself, you will be responsible to ensure that all work meets the minimum standards of the Florida Building Code. If you decide to hire a licensed contractor to conduct the work, he or she would be required to meet the minimum standards of the Florida Building Code (FBC). In addition, most contractors provide some type of warranty on the work conducted and you would have recourse with the Construction Industry licensing Board (CILB) or the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) should the contractor fail to complete the work, or it does not meet the standards of the FBC.
Q: What do I do with the permit and associated documents after I pick them up at the Building Department? A: Post them on the job site where they are clearly visible and accessible for the building inspector to use during the inspection process. We suggest that you place the documents in a clear plastic (freezer) zip lock bag if they are to be posted outside!
Q: If I fail an inspection, what do I do? A: If an inspection fails for work, it will be necessary to pay the applicable re-inspection fee before the next inspection will be scheduled.
Q: Do I need a permit to do minor roof repair? A: Minor repairs, such as replacing a few shingles or repairing small sections of fascia, do not require a permit. In the event that you experience an emergency, such as a fallen tree limb damaging your roof, please make the necessary emergency repairs and apply for a building permit the following business day.
Q: Do I need a permit to replace my driveway slab? A: Yes. You also will need to provide a current property survey showing the location of the existing/proposed driveway. The driveway will be required to have either a 6” x 6” welded wire or fiber mesh in the cement, a thickened edge at the street of at least 6” and the soil treated for termites where the slab comes within two (2) feet of the foundation of a structure.
Q: Do I need a permit to pour a patio slab? A: Yes. You also will need to provide a current property survey showing the location of the proposed patio slab with dimensions and property setbacks. The slab will be required to have either a 6” x 6” welded wire or fiber mesh in the cement and the soil treated for termites where the slab comes within two (2) feet of the foundation of a structure.
Q: Who do I need to contact if I have a complaint about my contractor? A: The Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Go to www.myflorida.com and click on File a Complaint.
Q: How long is my permit good for? A: The permit will expire after six (6) months if no inspections pass.
Q: Do I need a permit to replace my old water heater? A: Yes. A permit is required to ensure that the equipment and installation procedures are in compliance with the Florida Building Code and any other applicable City requirements.
Q: Do I need a drip pan under my water heater? A: The requirement for a drip pan will depend on where in the house the water heater is located. If it is inside the living space of the house or in a non-living space, such as the garage, but at the same floor level as the living space, a drip pan is required. If the water heater is in a non- living space, such as the garage, and the floor it is resting on is below the finished floor of the living space, a drip pan is recommended but not required.
Q: Do I need to provide any protection for a water heater in the garage? A: Water heaters installed in the garage are subject to vehicle damage and protection devices must be utilized, if required by manufacture specifications.
Q: Does the water heater require an expansion tank? A: An expansion tank is required on the supply line coming into the tank to reduce the tank stress which will shorten the tank’s useful life. An alternative to the expansion tank is an approved pressure relief valve assembly. These devices are required on closed systems, which is public water. Expansion tanks or expansion valves are not required on wells.
DOORS & WINDOW
Q: Do I need a permit to replace a garage door, exterior door or windows? A: Yes. A permit is required to verify that the manufacturer’s installation procedures are followed and are in compliance with the Florida Building Code. Interior door replacement does not require a permit.
Q: What documentation does the Building Division need with my permit application for a door or window replacement? A: The manufacturer’s installation instructions and the Florida product approval for each item that will be installed.
Q: Why are the installation and design drawings required for door and window permit applications?
A: Not all doors or windows meet the wind rating requirements for this area. Providing the design drawings will allow the plan reviewer to verify that the door/window planned for installation will meet the minimum design requirements. The installation instructions allow the inspector to verify that the door/window was properly installed and will meet the wind rating specified by the manufacturer.
Q: I need to have my doors and windows inspected. Does the inspector need to gain access to the inside to conduct the inspection? A: Yes. The inspector will need to verify the hardware securing the door hinges and strike plates to the door framing. For most windows it is only possible to verify the fastener type and location by operating the window and viewing from the inside.
Q: Do I need a permit to install a fence? A: Yes. A permit is required to verify that the fence meets the zoning requirements, including height restrictions and any setback requirements.
Q: What documentation does the building department need with my permit application for a fence installation? A: A recent survey from a licensed surveyor that shows the property boundaries, property setbacks, easements, locations of structures, etc. The survey should be no more than five (5) years old and have the surveyors raised seal and signature. The location and height of the fence should be marked on the survey.
Q: Why do I need a survey to get a fence permit? A: The survey will provide exact property boundary locations to insure that the fence will be located on the correct property. It will also provide information regarding easements, rights-of-way, etc., that will ensure that no utility easements or rights of access are obstructed, which would result in the fence being removed at a future date.
Q: If a fence is mounted on posts which side of the fence will the posts be on? A: The posts are positioned on the side of the fence facing the property of address on the permit.
Q: I want to put a fence around my entire property. Are there any height restrictions? A: Yes. Fences behind the front plane of the house can be up to six (6) feet tall and those running in front of the plane of the house can be no more than four (4) feet tall. Corner lots may be further limited, as the side of the house facing the secondary street may require the fence to be no more than four (4) feet tall or have a greater setback from the property line. It is suggested that the details for the specific address be discussed with the City Building Department.
Q: I want to remodel the inside of my house. What work can be done without a permit? A: No permit is required to paint or apply other wall treatments to the interior of a house, change the flooring or to perform other cosmetic work. Work that involves specialty trades such as electricians, plumbers, or air conditioning contractors will usually require a permit. Also any work that involves structural changes such as removing or moving walls will require a permit. When in doubt, please contact the Building Division for clarification.
Q: Do I need a permit to install window blinds? A: No.
Q: Do I need a permit to add extra insulation to my attic? A: No, but you may wish to have a specialist do the work for you. Contact your electric provider to see if they offer any rebates for making your home energy efficient.
AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS
Q: I need to have my new Air Conditioning System inspected. Does the inspector need to gain access to the inside to conduct the inspection?
A: Yes. The inspector will need to verify some or all of the following:
- Circuit breakers in the panel are labeled and sized to match the air handler and air conditioner requirements.
- Verify that the air handler configuration and circuit breaker size are properly indicated on the unit.
- Verify the location and required clearances for an approved disconnecting device.
- Verify that the primary and secondary overflow drains are in place and operational.
- Equipment and ducting is properly installed secured and sealed.
- In addition the exterior unit mounting and drainage will be checked.
Q: What is required to secure the exterior air conditioning unit to its base? A: The unit must be secured to the mounting base with fasteners as described in the Florida Building Code. The number of fasteners will be dictated by the size of the unit. Most units are greater than 36 inches wide/long and typically require three (3) Tapcon (concrete screw) fasteners per side. Gun nails are not considered as acceptable alternative fasteners.
Q: How far from the foundation does the air conditioning condensate drain line have to be? A: The drain line must extend a minimum of 12” away from the foundation to prevent excess moisture from accumulating at the foundation.
Q: When it comes time to replace my condensing unit, are there any additional requirements? A: Possibly. If your current condensing unit does not have a disconnect or service receptacle you will be required to add this electrical equipment at the time your condensing unit is repIaced. You may also be required to move the location of the condensing unit to meet the working space requirements around this equipment.