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Navigating the Florida building permit process can be complex, especially if your project requires multiple permits. Obtaining a building permit involves several steps, which vary depending on location and the local building department’s requirements. This step-by-step guide provides an overview to help you avoid potential setbacks and keep your project moving forward.

1. Determine if a Permit is Required

Research is necessary for planning a project, especially regarding construction. Different projects, such as new construction, renovations, additions, or changes in land use, may require different building permits in Florida. Even then, permits will vary across the state, as each county and city has its own regulations and building codes. In addition to doing research online, contact the local building department to determine any permit requirements for your project.

2. Identify Zoning Regulations

When researching, check the local zoning regulations for building permits in that part of Florida. Zoning laws divide land into designated zones for specific uses. Based on the municipality your job site is in, certain areas are zoned for particular building types, such as residential, commercial, and industrial. 

These zoning laws are necessary for balancing the community’s needs while managing sustainable growth. The local building department will only accept your permit if your proposed project complies with the land use requirements and other regulations.

3. Hiring Licensed Professionals 

One of the most crucial decisions during the Florida building permit process, or any construction project, is choosing the professionals who will work with you. When researching and selecting licensed professionals, ensure they have current and compliant licenses.

Hiring a licensed professional is essential for several reasons:

  • They adhere to all relevant regulations and building codes 
  • Protection from potential legal repercussions 
  • Safety for everyone working on your project
  • Quality assurance
  • Must follow ethical standards and regulations set by licensing boards. 
  • Liability insurance coverage to cover accidents or property damage during construction 

Working with unlicensed contractors poses significant risks, such as subpar building quality, financial liabilities, and legal complications. 

4. Create Detailed Plans

After conducting your project research, it’s time to start planning. Prepare detailed plans and drawings of your project, including architectural, structural, electrical, and plumbing drawings. The plans you draw will depend on the nature of your project and what the municipalities need from you to issue a permit. 

While drawing up your plans, check that they meet the building code requirements and any specific guidelines your local building department provides. If you need help determining whether your plans meet the building code requirements in Florida, you can use building permit software to check your code. Your drawn plans can be pre-reviewed by the software for code compliance to avoid rejections and permit delays.

5. Complete Permit Application

Once you have the final plans, it’s time to complete the permit application. You can obtain a permit application form online from the local building department. When completing the application, ensure everything is filled out, and all information provided is accurate, along with any necessary details about your construction project.

Most applications also require additional documents, including site plans, floor plans, elevations, and other documents specified by the building department. Other information you may need to include are energy efficiency calculations or environmental impact assessments. 

Working with a permit expediting service can ease this part of the process. The service can review the building permit checklist for Florida to determine what documents you must submit. They can also help you estimate the costs of your building permit application based on your project scope and the location of the job site.

6. Submit the Application

After completing the application, submit it and all supporting documents to the local building department. You should also be prepared to pay an application and other project fees.

7. Plan Review

The local building department will go over your application to make sure it complies with local building codes and zoning regulations. Depending on the complexity of your project, this process may take several weeks, so keep this in mind when creating your project timelines. 

The lengthy process is also why permit expediters such as Suncoast Permits can help you get the building permits for your project. With our industry connections and knowledge, we thoroughly understand the Florida building permit process and can reduce delays.  

8. Receive and Address Comments

Sometimes, during the plan review, the building department will find information in your application that needs to be corrected, or they may need more documents from you. If they have any comments or requests for changes to your plans, address them promptly and resubmit the revised plans.

9. Approval and Permit Issuance

Your permit application will be approved after reviewing the plans and addressing all comments. After the plan approval, you will receive your building permits for that specific municipality in Florida.

When you receive your building permits in Florida, keep a copy of them on-site and accessible to inspectors.

10. Commence Construction

Following the permit approval, it’s time to begin construction according to the approved plans and conditions outlined in the permit.

11. Inspections

Remember to schedule all required inspections throughout the different phases of your construction project. Inspectors will check that all work is done according to your permit’s approved plans and building codes. If everything is going according to plan, you’ll pass the inspections.

12. Final Inspection and Certificate of Occupancy

When you finish your construction project, it’s time to schedule your final inspection. If you pass the final inspection, you may get your Certificate of Occupancy so that you can use and occupy the building.

Additional Note About the Permitting Process

Although this guide provides a general overview of the Florida building permit process, some municipalities may require additional steps to approve a permit. Since specific requirements and steps vary by location, consult your local building department for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Working with a Permit Expediting Service

The Florida building permit process takes time and energy to navigate, in addition to the other tasks necessary to complete a construction project. One way to make permitting easier is to work with a permit expediting service like Suncoast Permits.

Our permit expediting services provide quality system permit tracking, thorough follow-up, and exceptional service. We expedite the Florida building permit process and eliminate costly permit review delays with world-class service and revolutionary automated technology. 

Contact us today to start expediting your permits.