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Posts tagged: Palm Beach

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.

REO Property Preservation

Maintenance_Dynamics

The second quarter of 2010 has seen a Fannie & Freddie Real Estate Owned inventory increase of 74% compared to the second quarter of 2009.  That is a year to year comparison.  In addition, RealtyTrac says there were 94,466 foreclosures in the first half of 2010 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, alone. This unprecedented number of foreclosures has created in increased demand for REO property preservation companies, permit processing services and foreclosed property maintenance services. Many of these property management and property preservation companies offer a limited selection of services.

Permit Source has joined forces with Maintenance Dynamics to offer a “One Stop Shop” for REO property maintenance and preservation services. We can offer you complete property maintenance services. We provide a comprehensive package consisting of  everything from simple trash-outs, lawn maintenance and re-keys all the way up to major renovations and new construction projects. The services we offer are for residential as will as commercial properties and we can supply everything from consulting services to full brick and mortar construction. In addition, there are numerous issues that can hold up the sale and occupancy by a new owner, such as open or expired permits, code enforcement liens, unsafe conditions like a faulty roof or exposed  plumbing and electrical wiring. We are here to help resolve these issues and more. We do everything from lawn care to unsafe structure resolution.

If you are a real estate broker, asset manager, or investor managing foreclosed properties in the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County areas we can offer you a “One Stop Shop” for property maintenance and property preservation services. Please feel free to visit our websites, or contact our offices, for more information on our property preservation and property maintenance services for foreclosed properties. Private home owners are welcome too!

Hurricane Season – High Velocity Hurricane Zones

Florida_Wind_Borne_Debris_RegionsWe are now well into the the 2010 hurricane season. Nothing major has occurred affecting  South Florida, but it only takes that one storm. After living through an evening in August of 1992 with Andrew pounding on the doors, and the boarded-up windows of the home I was staying in west Miami-Dade, I am fully aware of the destruction that one storm can do.  A long, and what seemed to be a never ending evening in darkness hearing what sounds like the thunder of a train going by for hours is something you never forget.

Back then, the South Florida Building Code was about as thick as a paperback romance novel. Hurricane Andrew put and end to that real fast! Now, almost twenty years later, the Florida Building Code fills a cabinet shelf with volumes and volumes of 3″ loose leaf binders. Like any government generated rules and regulations some is genuine and serves the purpose it was created for, but other portions are created with political motivations. That leads me to the following observations. As you can see by the map to the above left, the yellow areas are considered, high velocity hurricane zones. The yellow areas encompass all of Miami-Dade County and Broward County, and a portion of Palm Beach County. Within the yellow areas there are degrees of wind velocity. They range from 120 mph -150 mph, but what is 30 mph between friends. If you look closely, the highest wind velocities are at the tip of Florida, concentrated on the eastern coast.

I am not a scientist, an engineer or a meteorologist but I am a thinker. Hurricanes have hit Florida from the Gulf as will as the Atlantic. Wilma in  2005, which I had the pleasure of experiencing, hit Florida on the Gulf side and went northwest through Florida. They also just don’t hit the tip of Florida as the wind borne debris map seems to indicate. When you look at the below satellite photos of Andrew and Wilma, and then compare it the the high velocity hurricane zones you are probably scratching your head.

Hurricane Andrew Satellite Picture Timed

Hurricane Andrew Satellite Picture Timed

Hurricane Wilma 2005

Hurricane Wilma 2005

So! My point is, get prepared and be prepared no matter where you live in Florida. Hurricanes are not going to follow maps created by bureaucrats. Also! It’s a little late now, but in the future, if you are doing any construction, build it to withstand 150 mph winds. You can always build to exceed Code!

Work Without A Building Permit

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Everyone is always trying to save a buck, and many a home owner, as well as,  business owner looks at a small job and assumes a building permit isn’t nessecary. In Florida, and especially South Florida, you had better do your homework before you decide to do work without a building permit.

Section 105.1 of the Florida Building Code specifically states; Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any required impact-resistant coverings, electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.

Now you are saying to yourself that I am not doing any of that. It is just a minor repair. Section 105.2.2 of the Florida Building Code specifically states; Ordinary minor repairs may be made with the approval of the building official without a permit, provided the repairs do not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load-bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; additionally, ordinary minor repairs shall not include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring systems or mechanical equipment or other work affecting public health or general safety, and such repairs shall not violate any of the provisions of the technical codes.

Guess what! You had better call, or even better, visit your Building Department before you do any work. You can get misleading information over the phone. That section of the Florida Building Code says that you need to get approval to do work without a permit. In today’s big brother world of big intrusive government you need approval, which will permit you,…. to not get a permit,… and permit you to do the work without a Building Permit.  I am sure your head is about ready to explode at this point! Something as simple as painting  your house will probably require a permit, and more than likely, you will have to use a color that is approved by your local government.

If you do work without a building permit, it can cost you. Big time! Double fees at a minimum. Possible fines assessed on a daily basis until you are issued an approved permit. Last but not least, liens on your property. On top of all this you still may be required to remove the work you did because it does not meet the code, encroaches on  setbacks or easements, or just simply violates zoning restrictions.

Permit Source can help with Building Permit issues in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach County. Feel free to post your question or comment here.

Closed Fridays

Permit_Source_Building_Department

Moving to a four day work week seems to becoming a trend with the building departments. The latest to add to the list is Miramar. The following are the four day work week building departments:

  • Palm Beach County
  • Coconut Creek
  • Pembroke Pines
  • Margate
  • Wilton Manors
  • Lauderdale Lakes
  • Miramar

What makes matters even worse is when there is a holiday. Those weeks will only be a three day work week for the building departments. This trend seems to be occurring mostly in Broward County and Palm Beach County and I would expect it to continue. We are marking the Building Departments that are on a four day work week with a red asterisk on our Helpful Links page.

Contractors will need to plan accordingly. This means there will be one day less for inspections and one day less for getting permit applications in for review. Their days are longer too! That means that you may need to adjust your staffing hours.

Which Building Department?

As I say, on the main page of the Permit Source website, there are over 100 building departments in just the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. I can’t tell you the number of times that a contractor had spent time and money getting all the forms prepared and they were all the wrong forms. If you are a contractor, or even a home owner, you need to be sure which building department has jurisdiction for issuing the Building Permit you are applying for.

The County Property Appraiser’s Office issues a tax number to each property. That number contains pieces of information that indicates the exact location of the property. As usual, every County has a different format, and even names, for their tax numbers. In Miami-Dade and Broward Counties it is called the Folio number, in Palm Beach County is the Parcel Control Number, (PCN). In Lee County it is the STRAP number. There are typically a series of numbers, or possibly letters, in the tax number the indicates the municipality that has jurisdiction. In Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County the first two digits of the tax number indicate the jurisdiction. You can get a list of the municipality numbers by going to the PermitSource.com Helpful Links page, or click here for Palm Beach County and click here for Miami-Dade County. In Broward County they actually show the name of the municipality on the Property Appraiser’s website.

If you are in doubt, contact the Property Appraiser’s office or the Building Department.

Product Approval vs. Notice of Acceptance

Notice_of_Acceptance_NOA_Product_Approval-

Many contractors, as well as, homeowners, think that these two documents are interchangeable. They are not! Permit Source has had Clients, and the key word here is had, that looked at South Florida as a cash cow based on using the Product Approval document issued by the State of Florida. Basically, they did not do their homework.

The State issued Product Approval indicates that a product is approved for use as a construction material within the State of Florida. But! That approval does not mean that it can be used in a high velocity hurricane zone. There may be an exclusion in that approval that indicates that it is not approved for use in those areas. Those areas just happen to be Miami-Dade, Broward and parts of Palm Beach County.

The Miami-Dade issued Notice of Acceptance, or N.O.A., is specific to the high velocity hurricane zones. You can use and submit the State of Florida Product Approvals but you need to be extra careful that you make sure the product is approved for use in a high velocity hurricane zone. For anyone out side of those areas you can go to Florida Building Code On Line and download the State issued Product Approvals.

For anyone lucky enough to be in the high velocity hurricane zone you can go to Miami-Dade Product Control to download the N.O.A.’s you need. When I say lucky, I am not being facetious! These code requirements will prevent the catastrophic damage that was seen during hurricane Andrew and Katrina.

All these links, as well as, additional resources are available on the Permit Source website and you are free to comment and ask questions on our blog.