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Friday, January 22, 2010

Permit Fees

Like the cost of everything else, permit fees have increased over the years at a steady pace with the inflation rate, but, during the last year, and in the worst recession in decades, the fees charged by municipalities, has in many cases, increased by 100 percent. With local Florida governments looking for additional revenue sources, one of the first places they targeted was permit fees.

It has been a struggle for the construction industry in South Florida in the past couple of years and the increased fees have made it even more difficult for contractors to stay in business. Permit Source Clients tell us that businesses, and property owners, make decisions to hold off doing work, or they try to do it without a permit, just because of the astronomical permit fees. A perfect example of over inflated permit fees, is the City of Weston. A recent job having a total construction cost of $925.00 was assessed a permit fee of $525.00.

To add to the problem, more and more municipalities are requiring all or part of the permit fees be paid up-front. They have increased re-inspection fees and added re-review fees. The first thing the permit clerks say when you walk in the door is "What is your check number?"

The rule of thumb to use, as a rough estimate of permit fees use to be 1.5 percent. That number has increased to 3-5 percent. Cities such as, Key Biscayne and Weston, which have always had extremely high permit fees can be as much as 10 percent. There are a few municipalities that have held their permit fees at pre-recession levels but they are few and far between. Contractors and property owners be warned!

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