A Permit Expediter’s Guide to Florida Permits

A question we receive from clients frequently is, “how do I navigate Florida permits?” The permitting process in Florida is famously difficult. Long wait times, lack of communication from government officials, and a confusing over-all process results in many people frustrated with their experience. On average, it takes months for a permit to be approved, sometimes even years. At Permit Advisors, we understand that this is annoying to people who have never applied for a permit before. That is why we have started a series offering insider tips for different jurisdictions. Our last post was centered around Austin, Texas, but since Florida is such a complicated state, we want to offer tricks for both the entire state and one specific jurisdiction that is notoriously irritating.

All permitting processes are different. The path it takes to getting a Garage Sale Permit will be different than getting a temporary event permit, but for this article, we are going to focus on receiving a Building Permit.

First, let’s delve into Florida’s Statewide Typical Requirements. Words that are bolded are information that is important to remember. 

Florida Statewide Typical Requirements
  1. (2+) Complete Sets of Plans (AMEPS). Always make sure they are wet signed and sealed unless specified to submit online.
  2. (2+) Sets of supporting documents (structural calculations, energy calculations, spec/cut sheets, etc.). These should also be wet signed/sealed as applicable.
  3. Asbestos Survey
  4. Building Permit Application
  5. NOAS or Product Approvals
    1. Florida Product Approvals are set by the State for all construction trades. They are products that the State approves for use in all areas of Florida, including the Hurricane Zone. 
    2. A Notice of Acceptance (NOA) is specific to certain counties/cities, has Florida Product Approval, by the installation methods are a little stricter (typically)
    3. NOAS and Product Approvals are required for any project proposing to add/install new Doors or Windows (including automatic bi-parting doors and rollup doors)
  6. LOAs (Landlord Letter of Authorizations)
  7. General Contractor (and Sub-Contractor) information is due upfront
  8. Fees typically due upfront and typically based on square footage or valuation

Permit Advisors has worked closely with jurisdictions throughout Florida and has a strong knowledge of the entire state’s inner working. A city that has consistently produced challenges for our team is Broward County. Luckily for our clients, since we have a long history of successful projects in this county, we know what to avoid and what to prepare for.

Broward County Specific Requirements

Broward County Florida Permits

  1. (2+) complete sets of plans (AMEPS), make sure they are always wet signed/sealed unless you are instructed to submit online.
  2. (2+) sets of supporting documents (such as structural calculations, energy calculations, spec/cut sheets, etc.). These also must be wet signed/sealed as applicable.
  3. Asbestos Survey
  4. (1) Building Permit Application Cover Sheet
  5. (1-5) County Uniform Building Permit Application (for each Trade Involved; Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical, Fire, and Architectural)
  6. General Contractor (and Sub-Contractor) information due upfront
    1. Copies of Landlord/Tenant signed contracts are requested upon permit issuance
  7. Fees are typically due upfront and based on square footage or valuation
Other Things to Watch Out For (Broward County)

Remember to have copies of all required county and state agency approvals requested upon Permit Issuance

    1. BCEPGMD Environmental Review Approval Certificate (ER Review)
    2. BCEPGMD Transportation Concurrency Satisfaction Certificate (DR Review)
    3. Asbestos SRRA Certificate
    4. BCEPGMD Surface Water License Approval
    5. Broward County Health Department Approval
Useful Tips & Information (Statewide)
  1. Make sure to always have a General Contractor, and any possible Sub-Contractors, before submitting for review. Keep their information ready and validate that they are properly licensed.
  2. Always do the research yourself! Due to the high volume of projects entering Florida, the staff is very busy. This means that they are less likely to be able to have the time to help you with smaller, but crucial questions. Outside Agency approvals are especially confusing and they sometimes do not have the answers regarding the subject. It is best to do your own due diligence yourself and double-check the information you are given.
  3. Learn about early start options. Most cities and counties will allow or offer a separate permit to perform early start work such as any work involved and leading up to the first inspection, demo, rough plumbing work, etc.
    1. Section 105.12 of the Broward County Administrative Provisions to the Florida Building Code 5th Edition (2014) allows limited work to start before a building permit is issued. Code section allows certain work to commence up to the point an inspection would be required.
  4. Racking/Fixtures and Fire Sprinkler/Fire Alarm plans are typically deferred
  5. Contact the “Right Person”. Certain parts of Florida offer “hidden “opportunities to engage with the people who can help a project be best facilitated.
    1. For Example, Platinum Permitting Concierges (Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance) offers a list of staff contacts that any given person can reach out to that are the designated “concierge” or Project Facilitators. The cities offering such “expediting services” include: Coconut Creek, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Cooper City, Lauderhill, Sunrise, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Margate, Tamarac, Miramar, Davie, West Park, Deerfield Beach, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, Parkland, Broward County, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, Hillsboro Beach, and Plantation.

We hope that this information can readily prepare you for the complicated terrains of the Florida permitting process. Remember to have patience, do your research diligently, and expect the long wait times. With these tips in mind, you should be able to successfully obtain a permit for your project.

If you have any questions or would like to hire a professional to navigate Florida for you, Permit Advisors is always available at (310) 275-7774.

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  • permit expediters guide
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Jan 20, 2020 By Bridget Foley