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TIPS for Homeowners

	Homeowners planning to remodel your home or add other enhancements, often have a number of question and doubts about the construction permits.
	This information is designed to give to home owners the basic knowledge required for the permitting of your construction and other approvals required by the city.  It also answers most frequently ask questions and provides you with many advice for your convenience
Which are the permits and why do I need them? Construction permits are obtained in order for the city to supervise the construction to make sure that all constructions are property built and secure.  The safety of the building occupants is the primary reason for having construction codes. There are also federal, state and local laws governing the construction, such as those related to energy conservation.
When do I need a construction permit? There are several different permits, depending on the type of construction: Structural, plumbing, mechanical, electrical and the combination of all under a master building permit (used for construction of houses and other small projects).  The majority of homeowners’ projects require a combination permit.  Besides a complete demolition and relocation of buildings also requires permits. A construction permit is also required for any new construction.  In many cases a permit is required for the repairs or the replacement of existing fixtures, for example the changing of the existing windows, the plumbing, the electricity, air conditioning and the roof. To determine if your project requires a permit please call a representative from Properties Solution Services at (305 228-8900).
Where can I obtain a permit? Each city has brochures that will guide you thru this process, if you have the time and the required licenses for the plans and the construction permits.
How much time in order to obtain a permit? The plans are submitted to the city to obtain a process number.  The plans are then review by all required departments.  In most cases re-submittal of corrections are required until the full approval of the plans. Once the plans are fully approved, a permit is obtained and the construction must begin.  If you desire to change anything in the construction, the plans must be revised and submitted to the department for approval.
What about other approvals or permits? Other government agencies can review your plans for approval: for example, if your property is on septic tank, the plans will be submitted thru HRS (The department of Health) for review and approval.
What happens with the zoning? Zoning is regulated based on the maps approved by the city zoning But these areas are subject to changes by applying for a Public Hearing for residential and or commercial areas. If you want to exceed the square feet of construction permitted by zoning and if you desire to build within the required setbacks, you can apply for a Public Hearing to change the resolution on the land.   Once the Public Hearing is approve, the approval documents have to be submitted thru zoning under your plans process.
What happen if I don’t obtain a permit? If you don’t obtain a permit before starting a construction, you have violated the construction codes.  You will be subject to fines, liens.  You should obtain permits for any improvement in the property otherwise you will need to place structure to its original state but even to demolish; you will need to obtain permits for the structure, electrical etc.  But do not despair, first analyze if it is worth demolishing and getting rid of a structure that can be utilize in the future. Remember construction codes were established for security purposes.  Any construction built without a permit can be dangerous, no matter how well it looks
Who will need to obtain a permit? Any contractor certifies by the State of Florida or your agent can obtain the permit.  The owner of the property can also obtain the permit.
Can I do the work myself or I need to hire a contractor? Yes you can do the actual construction but there are regulations to comply with as follow: Workmen Compensation: If you hired someone or a friend who do not have the license required to built, you will need to purchase a workmen compensation insurance.  This insurance is available in a variety of agencies.  But only you will be totally responsible for the construction. Fortunately the community has raised awareness that brings responsibility of doing construction work without the required license or without a permit.  No matter how well the construction looks if not done by a certify professional under the Florida Building Code, your property and your family can be in danger in the future especially here in Florida where we are exposed to hurricanes.  Other issues to keep in mind are that the home owners’ insurance policy will not cover structures built without a permit. Construction as to the approved plans: Make sure the construction follows the approved plans and that they are drawn by an architect or engineer who is aware of the requirements of the construction standard.  If you desire to make any changes on the construction make sure to confirm with the engineer or architect on record to do the necessary changes on the plans and submit to the city for approval since this will affect the inspections pending. 
Who prepares the plans? Plans should be prepared by a license architect or engineer, sign and seal to be submitted to the correspondent building department for approval.
What happens with the inspections? The contractor on record or Professional Engineer can request the inspections; but keep in mind that you are responsible as the home owner to be well informed of each and every approved and required inspection.  Properties Solution Services is a company that will keep you well informed of each and every inspection for your peace of mind.
What happens if I have a permit which was never final? En general, a construction permit is valid for six (6 months) and will expired if never had an approved inspection.  For a project to be completed in full, it must pass all the required inspections until a final approval.  If a permit is expired without obtaining the final inspection the project is in non compliance with the building code.  If this is your case, call (305 228-8900).  We will assist you in renewing the permit.  Our interest is in seeing the project completed with a final inspection approval. Please fill out an online form or call us at 305 228-8900. How to recognize a reliable contractor and what is recommended to do? One of the easiest ways to find a qualify Engineer or Contractor is to: By recommendations from a family or friend, if anyone you know had a construction recently asks them how did the project go and if they are completely satisfy with the Professional contracted  But if you do not know anyone or have no recommendations, please feel free to contact our office to become our family member with your construction. Recommendations: Ask the professional for construction industry you need to give you a written explaining the entire scope of work involved and the total price for the work.  Required Licenses: Every professional for the construction industry your hire for working on your property should have a license to perform construction under the State of Florida also if general contractor he should show you the insurance documents that are required. Agreement and Contract: for general contractor your hire No matter how many good things you have heard from the contractor you have chosen, always make sure to have a contract signed by both parties before commencing the construction.  The contract should define: The scope of work: Exactly what the contractor is expected to provide and conduct must be explained in detail; also a good idea to include a clause that any increase in the budget will require your approval first before proceeding.
Contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and material suppliers can file what is called a "mechanics lien" on a homeowner's property if they don't get paid. Property owners need to be aware of the process so they can avoid financial and legal pitfalls. This section describes mechanics liens and steps that can be taken to avoid them.
What is a mechanics lien? This section describes mechanics liens and the problems they can cause for property owners.
How to prevent a mechanics lien This section describes a number of steps that can be taken to prevent mechanics liens.
What to do if a mechanics lien has been recorded on your property This section has information on what to do if a mechanics lien is recorded against your property.
Lien Release Forms This section lists the different types of lien release forms and provides direction.  

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