Most people are aware that building permits are required for new commercial buildings, tenant build-outs, construction trailers, temporary power poles, new homes, mobile homes, room additions, and in-ground swimming pools.
Unfortunately, some realize only after work is underway or finished that permits are needed for other projects, such as carports; garages; fences; sheds; re-roofing; window replacement; door replacement; garage-door replacement; above-ground swimming pools; A/C change-outs; electrical work; plumbing work; gas piping and connections; generators; fire-protection systems (alarms, sprinklers, stand-pipes); walk-in coolers; and low-voltage wiring.
Projects started without a building permit can result in greatly increased costs, delays, and even removal of structures. The structures may be placed in the wrong location or they may not comply with building codes.
The Florida Building Code, 5th Edition (2014), requires that a building permit be obtained prior to construction, alterations, repairs, and relocations. A property owner or contractor who starts work without first obtaining a permit could be subject to a penalty of 100% of the usual permit fee. Section 109 of the Florida Building Code sets fees, which are authorized by Florida State Statute 553.80.
The permitting process allows a determination that improvements such as pools, screen rooms, sheds, garages, and carports comply with setbacks that specify where structures can be placed on a lot.
A variance is required for any encroachment on the required setbacks. A variance can be requested through the Community Development Department.
Improvement plans must also avoid placing a structure in an easement, which is an area that has been legally reserved for a public use. However, a property owner can ask the City Council to approve abandonment of an easement.
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