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New ADA Pool Lift Regulations

ADA_Approved_Pool_Chair_LiftAs of March 15th, new ADA. (Americans with Dissabilities Act) regulations went into effect. The new regulations require all public pools and spas, or if a fee is charged to access the pool or spa, an ADA compliant swimming pool lift or sloped entry must be installed. The penalty for not being compliant is $50,000. The DOJ (Department of Justice) granted a sixty day extension to allow additional time for public access pool and spa owner to become compliant. The DOJ did not extend the deadline on other new ADA requirements, including those involving the space required around fitness equipment at gyms and counter heights in restrooms. To review the new regulations visit the ADA website.

The cost of pool lifts are anywhere from $5000 – $8000. With fines of $50,000 and ADA advocacy groups running around the country with their attorney’s filing lawsuits against businesses, that are not ADA compliant, it would behoove all business owner’s to perform an ADA compliance survey for their entire property. Not just the pool or spa areas.

One of our Clients, JR Young Builders, specializes in offering services to individuals, organizations and companies that assist persons with disabilities and is versed in the new ADA regulations.  JR Young Builders has offices in Michigan and South Florida.

New 2010 Florida Building Code

2010_Florida_Buiilding _Code_Wind_Bebri_RegionsThe new 2010 Florida Building Code will be implemented on March 15, 2010, and it includes significant changes to areas of South Florida. Specifically, the High Velocity Hurricane Zone Areas have been increased to include a much larger land mass and now covers areas that were not in the 2007 Florida Building Code. How will these changes affect contractors, manufacturers and permitting in South Florida? Until the changes are fully implemented nobody really knows for sure.

Tom Johnston, president of the International Hurricane Protection Association has the opinion that, “this adoption of ASCE 7-10 places an unnecessary burden on manufactures to update their product approvals to reflect a new code version when very little material differences have occurred. In addition, a net result of slightly less stringent design pressures is not a step in the right direction. All of this occurring during these difficult economic times makes this code modification even more of an ill conceived decision.”

According to the Home Builders Assocition, for central and south Florida the WBDR is increased and now will include all of the following; Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Indian River, Brevard, Volusia, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Polk, Charlotte, Lee, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Okeechobee, and Highlands. The result of these changes will mean there will be new areas with requirements for opening protection in accordance with Chapter 16 of the code.

There are also changes to the Energy Code which will affect Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, but it seems, that the largest impact of the new Code from a cost and procedural stand point, will affect Central Florida more so than South Florida. By no means does that diminish the increased costs for building permitting. Procedural changes that building departments will institute will require contractors to produce additional paperwork and forms, and then there is  the increased costs incurred by manufactures that will be pasted on to consumers. Let’s not forget the additional costs that the local architects and engineers will need to pass on the their Clients.

To summarize, it is a good thing that the HVHZ areas have been increased. Yes! The Wind Born Debri Regions in the 2007 and earlier Codes never made any sense, but have the other changes made buildings any safer? Or, have the changes just added more costs to the consumer, created more bureaucratic procedures and paperwork, and made the process of designing, building and permitting a construction project more of a nightmare that it already is, in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties? Only time will tell!

Occupational License / Business Tax Receipt

Business_Tax_ReceiptAlmost every City and County in the State of Florida requires that businesses have a Business Tax Receipt, once known as the Occupational License. Basically it is just another revenue generator for the municipalities. Most municipalities require one or more inspections once the Business Tax Receipt application has been submitted, to verify that the business will be operating safely.

Permit Source offers businesses the service of acquiring the Business Tax Receipt. We can email you the forms, if it requires signatures. Assist with filling-out the application. Submit the application package. Track and manage the review process and deliver the issued Business Tax Receipt to your place of business.

Hurricane Protection Permitting

Hurricane_Wind_Load_ChartThe hurricane seasons over the past couple of years have been pretty quite here in South Florida and another season is slowly approaching. Will this be the year that we get hit? Nobody knows but it is best to be prepared. If your home doesn’t have any form of hurricane protection, you might want to consider making the investment. Now is a good time. Prices are low and it is a very competitive market. Please visit our Helpful Links page for a list of contractors.

If you are a “do it yourself” type of person, you may need a little help with the permitting, and Permit Source, Inc. offers home owner’s assistant in preparing your permit package to submit to the building department. We make sure that you have all the proper Product Approvals/Notice of Acceptances, and that the forms, tables and charts are completed properly. If your building department requires elevations and detailed floor plans we can perform a site survey and prepare the required drawings. No mater what you are planning to do; hurricane panels, hurricane shutters or impact windows, when can assist you.

Pompano Beach Building Permit Plan Review

Pompano_BeachIn the current times of a very difficult economy, and businesses struggling to survive, you would think that local governments would want to help businesses grow and survive by being business friendly. You would also think that local governments would want to streamline  their process, and regulations, to maximize their revenues and minimize their costs. That does not seem to be the case in Pompano Beach.

Many municipalities are instituting new procedures and process to minimize review time and reduce costs. Not in Pompano Beach! If you click on the picture to the left you will open a link to a pdf file of what Pompano Beach posts on their website as their review schedule. Remember, that as you read the flow chart, days mean business days. Zoning is the first stop and you can see they have 15 days, or three weeks, to review your application. It has been our experience that Zoning takes the full three weeks. Hopefully your application doesn’t have to go to Forestry and Fire. That is another 10 and 5 days respectively. After 6 weeks, if you have no comments from any of the above, you finally get to Building. Then! They have another 30 days. Do the math! That is three months just for the first review.

If you are planning on opening a business in Pompano Beach, beware. If you are a property owner maybe this will help you understand why it is taking your contractor so long to get the permit to do the improvements you hired them to do. Your government’s bureaucracy!