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E Permitting & Electronic Plan Review

EPermit_Permit_SourceBuilding Departments, like all local Government agencies, are looking at way to keep costs down. With the internet and the digital era in full swing, some are instituting electronic permitting and electronic plan review as a cost saving, more efficient way to process building permits and construction documents. Miami-Dade County was one of the first to start electronic plan review, several years ago. Boca Raton followed shorty after. Just recently, Pompano Beach, Town of Davie, Village of Wellington and Broward County initiated electronic plan review. As time goes on, more municipal building departments will be taking advantage of this technology.

Policies and procedures on E-Permitting (Electronic Permitting) and electronic plan review differ from municipality to municipality. This creates a new learning curve as apart of the Building Permit process. In most cases it does not eliminate the need for you to actually make a trip to the Building Department. Applications still need to be hand delivered, or in the case of Miami-Dade, electronic documents have to be physically submitted on a disc. They all do still allow manual submissions of paper documents, but they charge to have them scanned into a pdf digital format.

With electronic plan review the review time is less, since the plan can be reviewed by different disciplines simultaneously. There is also the advantage of not having to print, drag around, and microfilm the hard copies for achieving. For large projects this is a huge cost savings for the City, architect, contractor and owner. Large contracting, architectural and engineering firms all ready have the hardware and software for processing digital construction documents.

Electronic plan review has few advantages for the small contractor. The guy who does driveways, fences, windows or anything involving minor renovations that require plans. He may not have the hardware, or software to scan documents into a pdf  file format. He will also need to have the ability to print the full sized plans from a digital file. In addition, he will need someone in his office to have the computer savvy to be able to learn and understand the electronic plan review software and the policies for each municipality on E-Permitting. Another issue that pops-up for the small jobs, is an architect or engineer that does not have the ability to electronically sign and seal construction documents, but that is a discussion for another day.

If you need help, or you want someone to manage your E-Permitting. Give us a call. Permit Source has the experience and knowledge. Big jobs or little jobs!

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.

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.

Class II Permits – City of Miami

Class_Permit_II

Do not let this happen to you!

The gentleman in the photo was attempting to apply for a Class II Permit in the City of Miami and did not follow the procedure. Like everything in government, the process is tedious, bureaucratic and often times absurd, but if you do not follow the exact procedure, every step of the way, you will be turned away.

Class II Basics

The City of Miami has designated areas of the City as “Special Districts”. Some of these districts overlap. You can go to their website and view the zoning map which indicates the special districts but it will probably give you a headache looking at it and trying to figure out if you need to apply for a Class II Permit. The reality is that if what you are doing is downtown, along the Biscayne Boulevard corridor, in the Grove, along Coral Way or Southwest 8th Street, it probably requires a Class II Permit. It would be worth your time to stop at their Zoning Department on the 4th floor of City Hall, and review the location and scope of your project with a Zoning representative.

You need to be aware that a Class II Permit is in addition to the Building Permit and the review process between the two are linked. I would suggest that you bring your Class II Application package with your Building Permit Application to begin the review process.

This is a link to to the City of Miami website and overview on Class II Permits. I am also including a link to their website page with the application form. The form explains the procedure and supporting documents that are required as a part of the submission package. These documents are in addition too the Building Permit documents. As always, if you need any assistance, or would like to have Permit Source handle the application process for you, feel free to contact us.

Once you actually get your application accepted you can track the progress by going the this page.

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.