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Florida Building Permit Guide

Britain Jacobson

Britain Jacobson

Last updated:

Jun 14, 2024

Published:

June 14, 2024

Reading time:

5

minutes

In recent years, few markets have seen as much new development as Florida. According to Jobalia Development Group, the rate of new construction authorizations in Florida was almost twice the national rate at the start of 2024. 

If you’re joining the wave of new construction permitting throughout the state, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with Florida building permit guidelines. Although counties and cities in Florida generally implement their own building permit processes, it can help to understand the rules and regulations set forth in the Florida Building Code. 

Read on to learn more about which projects require a building permit and how you can obtain one in Florida.

Who issues building permits in Florida?

The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation oversees the Florida Building Commission and the Florida Building Code, which governs the construction, enlargement, repair, alteration, or demolition of any building or structure in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Building Code, anyone intending to perform such work needs to first apply for and obtain the appropriate permit from a local building official.

That said, Florida building permit requirements ultimately depend on the location of the project. The building department of the city where the property is located will review your application and issue a building permit. 

What requires a building permit in Florida?

Generally speaking, you’ll need a Florida building permit if you plan to construct, enlarge, repair, alter, or demolish any building or structure, or to install, alter, repair, remove, or replace electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing systems in the state of Florida.

Some examples of projects that require a building permit in Florida:

  • Building a new residential or commercial property
  • Constructing an addition for an existing house
  • Major alterations or renovations to existing structures
  • Building large sheds, garages, or ADUs
  • Replacing entire HVAC or plumbing systems 
  • Constructing swimming pools
  • Installing electrical systems

What doesn’t require a building permit in Florida?

Many projects don’t require a permit—but any work must still be completed according to the Florida Building Code. 

Examples of projects that don’t require a Florida building permit include:

  • Portable heating, ventilation, and cooling appliances
  • Replacement of minor parts in gas, mechanical, and plumbing equipment that doesn’t make it unsafe
  • Self-contained refrigeration systems
  • Plumbing repairs that don’t involve replacing or rearranging valves, pipes, or fixtures 
  • Emergency repairs

What happens if you don't get a building permit in Florida?

If you start work on a project without receiving the appropriate building permit in Florida, you’ll be charged a fine. The fine amount is set forth by the governing agency in the city or county where the project is located.

According to the Florida Building Code, “any person who commences any work on a building, structure, electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system before obtaining the building official’s approval or the necessary permits shall be subject to a fee established by the building official that shall be addition to the required permit fees.”

How much is a building permit in Florida?

Broadly speaking, you can expect to pay a couple hundred or as much as several thousands of dollars for a building permit in Florida. The cost of your permit depends on the location where you’re building or renovating.

Some cities and counties charge permit fees as a percentage of the construction value. For example, Palm Beach County charges a base permit fee plus an additional percentage of the construction’s value.

Others price permits based on the square footage of the proposed structure. In Collier County, for example, new construction review fees are $0.055 per square foot, with a minimum of $100.

Pro tip: If you’re seeking a ballpark permit cost, many cities and counties have fee estimator tools available online.

How long does it take to get a building permit in Florida?

Receiving a building permit could take as little as a few days or as much as a year or more depending on the location and the scope of the project. In large cities like Miami or Orlando, the process could take longer than in small cities or less populous counties.

How to get a Florida building permit

Here’s a high-level overview of the Florida building permit application process: 

1. Pinpoint the type of permit you need

First things first: Determine which permit you actually need for your unique project. Most jurisdictions offer dozens of permit types, categorized by the scope of the work and the type of construction.

If you’re not sure which type of permit you need, check the website of the local city or county’s building department. 

2. Prepare and submit your application

Permit application requirements vary significantly by jurisdiction. In most regions, you can apply for a Florida building permit online. And in some cases, if you need a permit for a very simple project, you may be able to apply for a permit in-person and receive it the same day. 

Regardless of the exact process, you’ll need to provide some basic information about the project and the work to be completed. 

For example, you may be asked to provide the:

  • Property address and other details, like the size of the land or structure
  • Name and contact info of the building owner 
  • Contractor’s name and license number
  • Bonding company’s name and address
  • Architect’s name and contact information
  • Size of the property
  • Type of work to be done and the estimated cost 

Threshold inspections

In Florida, certain buildings called threshold buildings are subject to specific inspection requirements.

A threshold building is defined as one of the following:

  • Any building more than three stories or 50 feet in height
  • A building with an assembled occupancy of more than 5,000 sq. ft./500 people

For threshold building projects, you must submit a structural inspection plan. The local enforcing agency must review and approve that plan before issuing your permit. You’ll also be required to hire a “special inspector” who will inspect the building according to the approved plan. 

3. Pay fees

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a free permit. After submitting your permit application, you’ll likely have to pay certain fees before the city will review your plans. Often you’ll have to pay certain fees after your application is approved, too.

4. Receive and post your permit

Congratulations, you’ve received your Florida building permit! You’re ready to start work on the project if you’ve paid all relevant fees and received your official permit. Just be sure to post the permit at the worksite before getting started.

Working with a Florida permit expediter

No matter where in Florida your project is located, the permitting process is undoubtedly time-consuming and often frustrating. One way to mitigate some of the work associated with pulling a construction permit is to hire a Florida permit expediter.

A permit expediter is someone who does the bulk of the heavy lifting during the permit application process. They can prepare and submit the application on your behalf. However, permit expediters can be costly and may not have the local expertise required to seamlessly obtain the correct permit.

Simplify the permitting process with PermitFlow

Instead of hiring a permit expediter, partner with PermitFlow. PermitFlow is a permit software provider that automates the permit preparation and submission process to get a permit in your hands as fast as possible.

Benefits of PermitFlow include:

  • Local expertise: PermitFlow helps you understand the nuances across municipalities to ensure compliance throughout your application process.
  • An easy-to-use platform: PermitFlow’s intuitive digital platform makes it easy to submit, track, and pull permits from one place — no need to waste time trying to find the right information and paperwork from a city or county’s outdated website. 
  • Fast results: Navigating the permit process alone is no fun, and hiring a permit expediter doesn’t always yield the best results. You can count on the PermitFlow team to handle all the work for you and get your permit application approved as quickly as possible.

In recent years, few markets have seen as much new development as Florida. According to Jobalia Development Group, the rate of new construction authorizations in Florida was almost twice the national rate at the start of 2024. 

If you’re joining the wave of new construction permitting throughout the state, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with Florida building permit guidelines. Although counties and cities in Florida generally implement their own building permit processes, it can help to understand the rules and regulations set forth in the Florida Building Code. 

Read on to learn more about which projects require a building permit and how you can obtain one in Florida.

Who issues building permits in Florida?

The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation oversees the Florida Building Commission and the Florida Building Code, which governs the construction, enlargement, repair, alteration, or demolition of any building or structure in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Building Code, anyone intending to perform such work needs to first apply for and obtain the appropriate permit from a local building official.

That said, Florida building permit requirements ultimately depend on the location of the project. The building department of the city where the property is located will review your application and issue a building permit. 

What requires a building permit in Florida?

Generally speaking, you’ll need a Florida building permit if you plan to construct, enlarge, repair, alter, or demolish any building or structure, or to install, alter, repair, remove, or replace electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing systems in the state of Florida.

Some examples of projects that require a building permit in Florida:

  • Building a new residential or commercial property
  • Constructing an addition for an existing house
  • Major alterations or renovations to existing structures
  • Building large sheds, garages, or ADUs
  • Replacing entire HVAC or plumbing systems 
  • Constructing swimming pools
  • Installing electrical systems

What doesn’t require a building permit in Florida?

Many projects don’t require a permit—but any work must still be completed according to the Florida Building Code. 

Examples of projects that don’t require a Florida building permit include:

  • Portable heating, ventilation, and cooling appliances
  • Replacement of minor parts in gas, mechanical, and plumbing equipment that doesn’t make it unsafe
  • Self-contained refrigeration systems
  • Plumbing repairs that don’t involve replacing or rearranging valves, pipes, or fixtures 
  • Emergency repairs

What happens if you don't get a building permit in Florida?

If you start work on a project without receiving the appropriate building permit in Florida, you’ll be charged a fine. The fine amount is set forth by the governing agency in the city or county where the project is located.

According to the Florida Building Code, “any person who commences any work on a building, structure, electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system before obtaining the building official’s approval or the necessary permits shall be subject to a fee established by the building official that shall be addition to the required permit fees.”

How much is a building permit in Florida?

Broadly speaking, you can expect to pay a couple hundred or as much as several thousands of dollars for a building permit in Florida. The cost of your permit depends on the location where you’re building or renovating.

Some cities and counties charge permit fees as a percentage of the construction value. For example, Palm Beach County charges a base permit fee plus an additional percentage of the construction’s value.

Others price permits based on the square footage of the proposed structure. In Collier County, for example, new construction review fees are $0.055 per square foot, with a minimum of $100.

Pro tip: If you’re seeking a ballpark permit cost, many cities and counties have fee estimator tools available online.

How long does it take to get a building permit in Florida?

Receiving a building permit could take as little as a few days or as much as a year or more depending on the location and the scope of the project. In large cities like Miami or Orlando, the process could take longer than in small cities or less populous counties.

How to get a Florida building permit

Here’s a high-level overview of the Florida building permit application process: 

1. Pinpoint the type of permit you need

First things first: Determine which permit you actually need for your unique project. Most jurisdictions offer dozens of permit types, categorized by the scope of the work and the type of construction.

If you’re not sure which type of permit you need, check the website of the local city or county’s building department. 

2. Prepare and submit your application

Permit application requirements vary significantly by jurisdiction. In most regions, you can apply for a Florida building permit online. And in some cases, if you need a permit for a very simple project, you may be able to apply for a permit in-person and receive it the same day. 

Regardless of the exact process, you’ll need to provide some basic information about the project and the work to be completed. 

For example, you may be asked to provide the:

  • Property address and other details, like the size of the land or structure
  • Name and contact info of the building owner 
  • Contractor’s name and license number
  • Bonding company’s name and address
  • Architect’s name and contact information
  • Size of the property
  • Type of work to be done and the estimated cost 

Threshold inspections

In Florida, certain buildings called threshold buildings are subject to specific inspection requirements.

A threshold building is defined as one of the following:

  • Any building more than three stories or 50 feet in height
  • A building with an assembled occupancy of more than 5,000 sq. ft./500 people

For threshold building projects, you must submit a structural inspection plan. The local enforcing agency must review and approve that plan before issuing your permit. You’ll also be required to hire a “special inspector” who will inspect the building according to the approved plan. 

3. Pay fees

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a free permit. After submitting your permit application, you’ll likely have to pay certain fees before the city will review your plans. Often you’ll have to pay certain fees after your application is approved, too.

4. Receive and post your permit

Congratulations, you’ve received your Florida building permit! You’re ready to start work on the project if you’ve paid all relevant fees and received your official permit. Just be sure to post the permit at the worksite before getting started.

Working with a Florida permit expediter

No matter where in Florida your project is located, the permitting process is undoubtedly time-consuming and often frustrating. One way to mitigate some of the work associated with pulling a construction permit is to hire a Florida permit expediter.

A permit expediter is someone who does the bulk of the heavy lifting during the permit application process. They can prepare and submit the application on your behalf. However, permit expediters can be costly and may not have the local expertise required to seamlessly obtain the correct permit.

Simplify the permitting process with PermitFlow

Instead of hiring a permit expediter, partner with PermitFlow. PermitFlow is a permit software provider that automates the permit preparation and submission process to get a permit in your hands as fast as possible.

Benefits of PermitFlow include:

  • Local expertise: PermitFlow helps you understand the nuances across municipalities to ensure compliance throughout your application process.
  • An easy-to-use platform: PermitFlow’s intuitive digital platform makes it easy to submit, track, and pull permits from one place — no need to waste time trying to find the right information and paperwork from a city or county’s outdated website. 
  • Fast results: Navigating the permit process alone is no fun, and hiring a permit expediter doesn’t always yield the best results. You can count on the PermitFlow team to handle all the work for you and get your permit application approved as quickly as possible.
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