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Many home improvements and repairs are done by homeowners and even some contractors without the benefit of legally required building permits and the mandatory inspections that go with them. But many fears about the Building Permit Process in Pinellas are groundless Plus, the potential for problems is significant if you fail to apply for the proper permits and have them approved.

What a Building Permit Is

A building permit is an approval by a local governmental agency that certifies that work was performed to a certain standard. Because it is styled as a permit (that is, a permission), it needs to be obtained before the work begins. After the work has been completed satisfactorily, the permit is closed out and approved.

Building permits are valid for a set amount of time. Once a building permit has been granted, you do not have an unlimited amount of time to start and complete the work. Usually, you need to start within six months or a year. Projects usually need to be completed within a year or 18 months.

You Can Talk to the Building Permit Processing Office in Pinellas.

It’s usually possible to call your local building inspections and permit office for advice about permitting, and often you can do so anonymously.

While permit offices increasingly want citizens to seek help online, there are simply too many variables and gray areas that can’t be cleared up with online guidance and this is why you should consult permit processing companies.

The Building Permit Process in Hillsborough exists to ensure that home improvements, commercial construction, residential and commercial remodeling are done safely and pose no risk to residents. Inspectors who are in the office and available should be available to answer questions. If there is no inspector currently available, one will call you back.

Cost of Building Permit Processing in Pinellas Can be Prohibitive

Often, there is no set fee for a building permit. Permit costs can vary according to the estimated cost and complexity of the project.

Building a fence may require a $55 permit, for example, while building a large new house might require a $2,000 building permit.

Nationally, the average building permit cost was roughly $1,330 in 2020, with a typical range of about $400 to about $2,200.1

But these average costs include pricy permits for the new construction of the entire building, and there are many projects for which building permits cost $100 or less. It is pretty common for permit costs to be based on a percentage of the anticipated cost of the project. If you are working with a contractor, the costs of the permit is usually included in the bid you’ve received.

At Suncoast Permits, our goal is to tailor your building permit into a budget that best suits your pocket and is best for your ongoing project. Contact us today if you are in Pinellas and want to get more info on what permit process works best with your project/construction during your building permit process.

You can be Issued Owner/Builder Permits

Local inspection offices routinely issue permits to homeowners to do all kinds of work themselves—up to and including serving as a GC (general contractor) when building an entire house. For this kind of project, your community may issue a special owner/builder permit that allows you to act as a GC during the project for a specified period (usually around one year) while subcontracting out the individual tasks for the job.

As an owner/builder, you act as your own general contractor instead of hiring one. This does allow you to save on that painful 15- to the 25-percent fee charged by GCs.

But you also carry the burden of potential liabilities, many of which can be serious. Hiring a licensed, insured, bonded contractor better insulates you from these liabilities.

It’s critical to know that owner-builder permits do not allow you to work on a building that you do not own.

Some jurisdictions require that you have lived in the house for a certain number of years to get a permit. If you are flipping a house for profit, work must be done by a licensed contractor.

Ignoring the Permit Process Is Serious

It can be very tempting to ignore the building permit process in Pinellas and to hide the work you are doing, especially if it is inside the home where you can work without anyone seeing it. And while you might get by with this, it is equally likely that such short-cuts will cost you plenty in the end.

If it comes to light that you have done work without a required permit, you could be forced to apply for a permit after the fact, at a greatly increased cost. And you might even have to tear out walls or ceilings in order for the work to be inspected. If you made any mistakes, you’ll be forced to demolish the entire job and start over.

Your homeowner’s insurance coverage can also be affected. For example, should you have a flood or fire due to poor plumbing or electrical work, your insurance policy has a case for denying coverage if the work was done off-permit.

Many home inspection companies look into building permits issued. If it is obvious that work was performed and there is no record of a permit, it could put a snag into selling your home.