2020 Florida Statutes
Permits; applications; issuance; inspections.
Permits; applications; issuance; inspections.
553.79 Permits; applications; issuance; inspections.—
(1)(a) After the effective date of the Florida Building Code adopted as herein provided, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or governmental entity to construct, erect, alter, modify, repair, or demolish any building within this state without first obtaining a permit therefor from the appropriate enforcing agency or from such persons as may, by appropriate resolution or regulation of the authorized state or local enforcing agency, be delegated authority to issue such permits, upon the payment of such reasonable fees adopted by the enforcing agency. The enforcing agency is empowered to revoke any such permit upon a determination by the agency that the construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of the building for which the permit was issued is in violation of, or not in conformity with, the provisions of the Florida Building Code. Whenever a permit required under this section is denied or revoked because the plan, or the construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of a building, is found by the local enforcing agency to be not in compliance with the Florida Building Code, the local enforcing agency shall identify the specific plan or project features that do not comply with the applicable codes, identify the specific code chapters and sections upon which the finding is based, and provide this information to the permit applicant. A plans reviewer or building code administrator who is responsible for issuing a denial, revocation, or modification request but fails to provide to the permit applicant a reason for denying, revoking, or requesting a modification, based on compliance with the Florida Building Code or local ordinance, is subject to disciplinary action against his or her license pursuant to s. 468.621(1)(i). Installation, replacement, removal, or metering of any load management control device is exempt from and shall not be subject to the permit process and fees otherwise required by this section.
(b) A local enforcement agency shall post each type of building permit application on its website. Completed applications must be able to be submitted electronically to the appropriate building department. Accepted methods of electronic submission include, but are not limited to, e-mail submission of applications in Portable Document Format or submission of applications through an electronic fill-in form available on the building department’s website or through a third-party submission management software. Payments, attachments, or drawings required as part of the permit application may be submitted in person in a nonelectronic format, at the discretion of the building official.
(c) A local government that issues building permits may send a written notice of expiration, by e-mail or United States Postal Service, to the owner of the property and the contractor listed on the permit, no less than 30 days before a building permit is set to expire. The written notice must identify the permit that is set to expire and the date the permit will expire.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (6), an enforcing agency may not issue any permit for construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of any building or structure until the local building code administrator or inspector has reviewed the plans and specifications required by the Florida Building Code, or local amendment thereto, for such proposal and found the plans to be in compliance with the Florida Building Code. If the local building code administrator or inspector finds that the plans are not in compliance with the Florida Building Code, the local building code administrator or inspector shall identify the specific plan features that do not comply with the applicable codes, identify the specific code chapters and sections upon which the finding is based, and provide this information to the local enforcing agency. The local enforcing agency shall provide this information to the permit applicant. In addition, an enforcing agency may not issue any permit for construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of any building until the appropriate firesafety inspector certified pursuant to s. 633.216 has reviewed the plans and specifications required by the Florida Building Code, or local amendment thereto, for such proposal and found that the plans comply with the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code. Any building or structure which is not subject to a firesafety code shall not be required to have its plans reviewed by the firesafety inspector. Any building or structure that is exempt from the local building permit process may not be required to have its plans reviewed by the local building code administrator. Industrial construction on sites where design, construction, and firesafety are supervised by appropriate design and inspection professionals and which contain adequate in-house fire departments and rescue squads is exempt, subject to local government option, from review of plans and inspections, providing owners certify that applicable codes and standards have been met and supply appropriate approved drawings to local building and firesafety inspectors. The enforcing agency shall issue a permit to construct, erect, alter, modify, repair, or demolish any building or structure when the plans and specifications for such proposal comply with the Florida Building Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code as determined by the local authority in accordance with this chapter and chapter 633.
(3) Except as provided in this chapter, the Florida Building Code, after the effective date of adoption pursuant to the provisions of this part, shall supersede all other building construction codes or ordinances in the state, whether at the local or state level and whether adopted by administrative regulation or by legislative enactment. However, this subsection does not apply to the construction of manufactured homes as defined by federal law. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed as nullifying or divesting appropriate state or local agencies of authority to make inspections or to enforce the codes within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
(4) The Florida Building Code, after the effective date of adoption pursuant to the provisions of this part, may be modified by local governments to require more stringent standards than those specified in the Florida Building Code, provided the conditions of s. 553.73(4) are met.
(5)(a) During new construction or during repair or restoration projects in which the structural system or structural loading of a building is being modified, the enforcing agency shall require a special inspector to perform structural inspections on a threshold building pursuant to a structural inspection plan prepared by the engineer or architect of record. The structural inspection plan must be submitted to and approved by the enforcing agency before the issuance of a building permit for the construction of a threshold building. The purpose of the structural inspection plan is to provide specific inspection procedures and schedules so that the building can be adequately inspected for compliance with the permitted documents. The special inspector may not serve as a surrogate in carrying out the responsibilities of the building official, the architect, or the engineer of record. The contractor’s contractual or statutory obligations are not relieved by any action of the special inspector. The special inspector shall determine that a professional engineer who specializes in shoring design has inspected the shoring and reshoring for conformance with the shoring and reshoring plans submitted to the enforcing agency. A fee simple title owner of a building, which does not meet the minimum size, height, occupancy, occupancy classification, or number-of-stories criteria which would result in classification as a threshold building under s. 553.71(12), may designate such building as a threshold building, subject to more than the minimum number of inspections required by the Florida Building Code.
(b) The fee owner of a threshold building shall select and pay all costs of employing a special inspector, but the special inspector shall be responsible to the enforcement agency. The inspector shall be a person certified, licensed, or registered under chapter 471 as an engineer or under chapter 481 as an architect.
(c) The architect or engineer of record may act as the special inspector provided she or he is on the Board of Professional Engineers’ or the Board of Architecture and Interior Design’s list of persons qualified to be special inspectors. School boards may utilize employees as special inspectors provided such employees are on one of the professional licensing board’s list of persons qualified to be special inspectors.
(d) The licensed architect or registered engineer serving as the special inspector shall be permitted to send her or his duly authorized representative to the job site to perform the necessary inspections provided all required written reports are prepared by and bear the seal of the special inspector and are submitted to the enforcement agency.
(6) A permit may not be issued for any building construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or addition unless the applicant for such permit complies with the requirements for plan review established by the Florida Building Commission within the Florida Building Code. However, the code shall set standards and criteria to authorize preliminary construction before completion of all building plans review, including, but not limited to, special permits for the foundation only, and such standards shall take effect concurrent with the first effective date of the Florida Building Code. After submittal of the appropriate construction documents, the building official may issue a permit for the construction of foundations or any other part of a building or structure before the construction documents for the entire building or structure have been submitted. The holder of such permit for the foundation or other parts of a building or structure shall proceed at the holder’s own risk and without assurance that a permit for the entire structure will be granted. Corrections may be required to meet the requirements of the technical codes.
(7) Each enforcement agency shall require that, on every threshold building:
(a) The special inspector, upon completion of the building and prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, file a signed and sealed statement with the enforcement agency in substantially the following form: To the best of my knowledge and belief, the construction of all structural load-bearing components described in the threshold inspection plan complies with the permitted documents, and the specialty shoring design professional engineer has ascertained that the shoring and reshoring conforms with the shoring and reshoring plans submitted to the enforcement agency.
(b) Any proposal to install an alternate structural product or system to which building codes apply be submitted to the enforcement agency for review for compliance with the codes and made part of the enforcement agency’s recorded set of permit documents.
(c) All shoring and reshoring procedures, plans, and details be submitted to the enforcement agency for recordkeeping. Each shoring and reshoring installation shall be supervised, inspected, and certified to be in compliance with the shoring documents by the contractor.
(d) All plans for the building which are required to be signed and sealed by the architect or engineer of record contain a statement that, to the best of the architect’s or engineer’s knowledge, the plans and specifications comply with the applicable minimum building codes and the applicable firesafety standards as determined by the local authority in accordance with this chapter and chapter 633.
(8) No enforcing agency may issue a building permit for construction of any threshold building except to a licensed general contractor, as defined in s. 489.105(3)(a), or to a licensed building contractor, as defined in s. 489.105(3)(b), within the scope of her or his license. The named contractor to whom the building permit is issued shall have the responsibility for supervision, direction, management, and control of the construction activities on the project for which the building permit was issued.
(9) Any state agency whose enabling legislation authorizes it to enforce provisions of the Florida Building Code may enter into an agreement with any other unit of government to delegate its responsibility to enforce those provisions and may expend public funds for permit and inspection fees, which fees may be no greater than the fees charged others. Inspection services that are not required to be performed by a state agency under a federal delegation of responsibility or by a state agency under the Florida Building Code must be performed under the alternative plans review and inspection process created in s. 553.791 or by a local governmental entity having authority to enforce the Florida Building Code.
(10) An enforcing authority may not issue a building permit for any building construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or addition unless the permit either includes on its face or there is attached to the permit the following statement: “NOTICE: In addition to the requirements of this permit, there may be additional restrictions applicable to this property that may be found in the public records of this county, and there may be additional permits required from other governmental entities such as water management districts, state agencies, or federal agencies.”
(11) The local enforcing agency may not issue a building permit to construct, develop, or modify a public swimming pool without proof of application, whether complete or incomplete, for an operating permit pursuant to s. 514.031. A certificate of completion or occupancy may not be issued until such operating permit is issued. The local enforcing agency shall conduct its review of the building permit application upon filing and in accordance with this chapter. The local enforcing agency may confer with the Department of Health, if necessary, but may not delay the building permit application review while awaiting comment from the Department of Health.
(12) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter or supplement the provisions of part I of this chapter relating to manufactured buildings.
(13) One-family and two-family detached residential dwelling units are not subject to plan review by the local fire official as described in this section or inspection by the local fire official as described in s. 633.216, unless expressly made subject to the plan review or inspection by local ordinance.
(14) A building permit for a single-family residential dwelling must be issued within 30 working days of application therefor unless unusual circumstances require a longer time for processing the application or unless the permit application fails to satisfy the Florida Building Code or the enforcing agency’s laws or ordinances.
(15)(a) A property owner, regardless of whether the property owner is the one listed on the application for the building permit, may close a building permit by complying with the following requirements:
1. The property owner may retain the original contractor listed on the permit or hire a different contractor appropriately licensed in this state to perform the work necessary to satisfy the conditions of the permit and to obtain any necessary inspections in order to close the permit. If a contractor other than the original contractor listed on the permit is hired by the property owner to close the permit, such contractor is not liable for any defects in the work performed by the original contractor and is only liable for the work that he or she performs.
2. The property owner may assume the role of an owner-builder, in accordance with ss. 489.103(7) and 489.503(6).
3. For purposes of this section, the term “close” means that the requirements of the permit have been satisfied.
(b) If a building permit is expired and its requirements have been substantially completed, as determined by the local enforcement agency, the permit may be closed without having to obtain a new building permit, and the work required to close the permit may be done pursuant to the building code in effect at the time the local enforcement agency received the application for the permit, unless the contractor has sought and received approval from the local enforcement agency for an alternative material, design, or method of construction.
(c) A local enforcement agency may close a building permit 6 years after the issuance of the permit, even in the absence of a final inspection, if the local enforcement agency determines that no apparent safety hazards exist.
(16)(a) A local enforcement agency may not deny issuance of a building permit to; issue a notice of violation to; or fine, penalize, sanction, or assess fees against an arms-length purchaser of a property for value solely because a building permit applied for by a previous owner of the property was not closed. The local enforcement agency shall maintain all rights and remedies against the property owner and contractor listed on the permit.
(b) The local enforcement agency may not deny issuance of a building permit to a contractor solely because the contractor is listed on other building permits that were not closed.
(17) Certifications by contractors authorized under the provisions of s. 489.115(4)(b) shall be considered equivalent to sealed plans and specifications by a person licensed under chapter 471 or chapter 481 by local enforcement agencies for plans review for permitting purposes relating to compliance with the wind resistance provisions of the code or alternate methodologies approved by the commission for one and two family dwellings. Local enforcement agencies may rely upon such certification by contractors that the plans and specifications submitted conform to the requirements of the code for wind resistance. Upon good cause shown, local government code enforcement agencies may accept or reject plans sealed by persons licensed under chapter 471, chapter 481, or chapter 489. A truss-placement plan is not required to be signed and sealed by an engineer or architect unless prepared by an engineer or architect or specifically required by the Florida Building Code.
(18)(a) The Florida Building Commission shall establish, within the Florida Building Code adopted by rule, standards for permitting residential buildings or structures moved into or within a county or municipality when such structures do not or cannot comply with the code. However, such buildings or structures shall not be required to be brought into compliance with the building code in force at the time the building or structure is moved, provided:
1. The building or structure is structurally sound and in occupiable condition for its intended use;
2. The occupancy use classification for the building or structure is not changed as a result of the move;
3. The building is not substantially remodeled;
4. Current fire code requirements for ingress and egress are met;
5. Electrical, gas, and plumbing systems meet the codes in force at the time of construction and are operational and safe for reconnection; and
6. Foundation plans are sealed by a professional engineer or architect licensed to practice in this state, if required by the building code for all residential buildings or structures of the same occupancy class;
(b) The building official shall apply the same standard to a moved residential building or structure as that applied to the remodeling of any comparable residential building or structure to determine whether the moved structure is substantially remodeled. The cost of moving the building and the cost of the foundation on which the moved building or structure is placed shall not be included in the cost of remodeling for purposes of determining whether a moved building or structure has been substantially remodeled.
(19) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, state agencies responsible for the construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of public buildings, or the regulation of public and private buildings, structures, and facilities, shall be subject to enforcement of the Florida Building Code by local jurisdictions. This subsection applies in addition to the jurisdiction and authority of the Department of Financial Services to inspect state-owned buildings. This subsection does not apply to the jurisdiction and authority of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to inspect amusement rides or the Department of Financial Services to inspect state-owned buildings and boilers.
(20)(a) A local enforcing agency, and any local building code administrator, inspector, or other official or entity, may not require as a condition of issuance of a one- or two-family residential building permit the inspection of any portion of a building, structure, or real property that is not directly impacted by the construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of the building, structure, or real property for which the permit is sought.
(b) This subsection does not apply to a building permit sought for:
1. A substantial improvement as defined in s. 161.54 or as defined in the Florida Building Code.
2. A change of occupancy as defined in the Florida Building Code.
3. A conversion from residential to nonresidential or mixed use pursuant to s. 553.507(3) or as defined in the Florida Building Code.
4. A historic building as defined in the Florida Building Code.
(c) This subsection does not prohibit a local enforcing agency, or any local building code administrator, inspector, or other official or entity, from:
1. Citing any violation inadvertently observed in plain view during the ordinary course of an inspection conducted in accordance with the prohibition in paragraph (a).
2. Inspecting a physically nonadjacent portion of a building, structure, or real property that is directly impacted by the construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of the building, structure, or real property for which the permit is sought in accordance with the prohibition in paragraph (a).
3. Inspecting any portion of a building, structure, or real property for which the owner or other person having control of the building, structure, or real property has voluntarily consented to the inspection of that portion of the building, structure, or real property in accordance with the prohibition in paragraph (a).
(d) This subsection is repealed upon receipt by the Secretary of State of the written certification by the chair of the Florida Building Commission that the commission has adopted an amendment to the Florida Building Code which substantially incorporates this subsection, including the prohibition in paragraph (a), as part of the code and such amendment has taken effect.
(21) For the purpose of inspection and record retention, site plans or building permits may be maintained in the original form or in the form of an electronic copy at the worksite. These plans and permits must be open to inspection by the building official or a duly authorized representative, as required by the Florida Building Code.
(22)(a) A political subdivision of this state may not adopt or enforce any ordinance or impose any building permit or other development order requirement that:
1. Contains any building, construction, or aesthetic requirement or condition that conflicts with or impairs corporate trademarks, service marks, trade dress, logos, color patterns, design scheme insignia, image standards, or other features of corporate branding identity on real property or improvements thereon used in activities conducted under chapter 526 or in carrying out business activities defined as a franchise by Federal Trade Commission regulations in 16 C.F.R. ss. 436.1, et. seq.; or
2. Imposes any requirement on the design, construction, or location of signage advertising the retail price of gasoline in accordance with the requirements of ss. 526.111 and 526.121 which prevents the signage from being clearly visible and legible to drivers of approaching motor vehicles from a vantage point on any lane of traffic in either direction on a roadway abutting the gas station premises and meets height, width, and spacing standards for Series C, D, or E signs, as applicable, published in the latest edition of Standard Alphabets for Highway Signs published by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Public Roads, Office of Highway Safety.
(b) This subsection does not affect any requirement for design and construction in the Florida Building Code.
(c) All such ordinances and requirements are hereby preempted and superseded by general law. This subsection shall apply retroactively.
(d) This subsection does not apply to property located in a designated historic district.
History.—s. 10, ch. 74-167; s. 4, ch. 77-365; s. 10, ch. 83-160; s. 1, ch. 83-352; s. 2, ch. 84-24; s. 3, ch. 84-365; s. 2, ch. 85-97; s. 2, ch. 86-135; s. 2, ch. 87-287; s. 5, ch. 87-349; s. 2, ch. 88-142; s. 1, ch. 88-378; s. 1, ch. 91-7; s. 4, ch. 93-249; ss. 57, 260, ch. 94-119; s. 7, ch. 94-284; s. 461, ch. 94-356; s. 72, ch. 95-144; s. 2, ch. 95-379; s. 14, ch. 96-298; s. 73, ch. 96-388; s. 1175, ch. 97-103; ss. 48, 49, ch. 98-287; ss. 82, 83, 84, 135, ch. 2000-141; ss. 27, 34, 35, 37, ch. 2001-186; ss. 2, 3, 4, 6, ch. 2001-372; s. 666, ch. 2003-261; s. 10, ch. 2005-147; s. 36, ch. 2010-176; s. 1, ch. 2011-82; s. 73, ch. 2012-5; s. 15, ch. 2012-13; s. 150, ch. 2013-183; s. 16, ch. 2013-193; s. 126, ch. 2014-17; s. 22, ch. 2014-154; ss. 19, 39, ch. 2016-129; s. 36, ch. 2017-3; s. 3, ch. 2017-149; s. 5, ch. 2019-75; s. 11, ch. 2019-86; s. 131, ch. 2020-2.