South Florida Permitting 101: 3 Reasons Why It’s Imperative to Hire an Experienced Local Team

“No one really checks permits,” your contractor says, waving away your concern. “It’s just a lot of paperwork and jumping through hoops. If anyone says anything, we can just get them later. No worries.”

Spoiler alert: There will be many worries – expensive, time-consuming worries, actually – if you don’t permit correctly in South Florida. If you ever hear anyone working on your home or business say these words, please run.

Unfortunately, this is a very real scenario we see all the time at Seacoast Construction. If you need more reasons why you should always hire a local, experienced company like ours, here are a few:

  1. Permits are not optional.

If you’re in the process of building new construction, adding on to your property, or even a seemingly small project like replacing windows, there’s a portion of Florida Building Code (section 104.1.1) to which you should pay strict attention:

“Any owner, authorized agent, or contractor who desires to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy or occupant content of a building or structure, or any outside area being used as part of the building’s designated occupancy (single or mixed) or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert, or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the technical codes, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit for the work.”

Failure to get permits will result in citations.

  1. Citations are costly.

We’ve seen contractors start projects without waiting for permits, assuring the homeowners that this practice is commonplace in our industry. It is not. If construction is found not to be according to code, the project will need to be brought into compliance or construction must be removed. Both options affect the budget and original deadline of completion.

In South Florida, the permitting process is multi-layered and complicated, and a contractor who doesn’t have years of familiarity with it will do more harm than good.

  1. Never ignore the warning signs.

If someone other than your contractor obtains the building permit, consider it a red flag that they aren’t licensed in the State of Florida. Similarly, if they’re only available to work on weekends or evenings, they may be moonlighting and unlicensed.

And remember: Any request for large down payments before the work begins is not the standard operating procedure. At Seacoast Construction, we accept partial payments at various, agreed-upon points of progress.

Don’t get caught in an expensive home project that results in fines, extended construction times, and unsafe structures that can hurt your family. To file a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation about a licensed or unlicensed contractor, go to For a contractor you can trust every step of the way, visit us at Seacoast Construction.

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