Owning real estate on Sanibel Island is a dream come true for most Islanders. Are you ready to update your home or condo? How to get a building permit is one of those things you’ll need to learn when you renovate your home. Even though you own your house, you still need to get permits for structural changes, to ensure that your changes will be “up to code,” as they say.
Before you start grumbling about all this paperwork, keep in mind that the permitting process is put in place by the government to keep you and your family safe. Building permits ensure that your home meets important requirements that minimize fire hazards, structural failure, electrical shock, and other potential health and safety risks.
All forms and detailed information on Sanibel’s Building Department can be found here.
Sanibel Island’s Building Department Mission: To build a safe, sustainable and resilient community, consistent with the Sanibel Plan, through the enforcement of all Building Codes.
Do you need a building permit?
You probably do, unless you’re only doing cosmetic interior upgrades, like painting or updating your kitchen faucet. Any time you are adding square footage, making structural modifications, or significantly altering other building components, you’ll need to obtain a permit.
Doing the work without a permit is just a bad idea, for a number of reasons:
- It might be hard to sell the house if you can’t show a permit for your work.
- A lender can refuse to grant you a mortgage if you have unpermitted work.
- Your municipality could apply fines or penalties.
- You might have to do the work again to bring it up to code.
- A home appraiser might not include the unpermitted work in a future appraisal, lowering your home’s value.
In other words, renovating without a permit is just not worth the risk. Ready to get your renovation rolling? Here’s everything you need to know about how to get a building permit.
In the Building Department, there are three major functions: pre-construction, construction, and licensing.
- Pre-construction – Prior to the start of construction, the Building Department confirms that all city requirements have been met and reviews plans to ensure they comply with important State and Federal Standards.
- Construction – During active construction, the Building Department receives requests for inspections and distributes them to the appropriate City Departments. The inspectors then complete inspections, notifying the permit holder of any inadequacies found on the job site. At the close of the project, the Building Department checks that all other City Department requirements have been satisfied and issues a Certificate of Occupancy or Completion.
- Licensing – The Contractor Review Board issues licenses, reviews cases and hears complaints. The Board makes recommendations to the Department of Business and Professional Regulations for penalties on State-Certified Contractors. The Board also imposes fines/penalties or suspends permitting privileges for locally licensed individuals.
Permit Application Review Times
Permit Applications are usually reviewed within three to five days, however, they have up to 30 days for review it depends on workload.
Information and Material Permit Requirements
Single Family Residential/Residential Additions or Remodeling
Information requirements for Single Family Residence:
Building Permit Application (completely filled out).
Two sets of construction documents.
Construction documents required to be sealed by a Florida professional with name, address, phone and signature of Certifier or Designer and address or location indicated on plans and for 170 MPH exposure C or D with all structural details shown on plans.
Receipt from Island Water Association.
Sewer Availability Agreement.
Energy Calculation Forms.
Manual J & S and National Fenestration Council Report for all openings with glazing
A passed Silt Fence Inspection.
Habitable Area Square Feet, Non-habitable Area Square Feet.
Recorded Notice of Commencement (submittal required prior to first inspection to office).
V zone breakaway wall detailing.
V and A zone specifications for hydrostatic relief openings for enclosed areas below base flood elevation.
Minimum bearing capacity of pilings.
Tie beam schedule.
Shear wall design loads, details, and location on floor plan.
Anchoring of headers to accommodate for calculated uplift.
Wind pressure requirements for all doors, windows, and skylights.
Continuous load path for uplift from foundation to roof.
Indicate all lumber species, grades and sizes.
Roof framing plans with indicated uplifts and specific anchors.
Truss Manufacturers layout with signed acknowledgement of review from professional of record.
Smoke detectors inside and outside each sleeping area and have battery back-ups.
Each exterior door and stair has a light fixture.
Electrical outlets and switches per National Electric Code.
Lower level garage separation to habitable areas.
Lower level for passive storage, garage or lower level entry only/no closets, fans, telephones, finish lighting fixtures.
ALL materials below base flood elevation must be resistant to flood water damage.
Florida Product Approval number for all openings & installation details.
Residential Additions or Remodeling:
Building Permit Application completely filled out.
Two sets of plans.
Energy Calculations Form.
Does existing structure conform to flood regulations? If it does not, provide detailed cost estimate sheet.
The drawings shall clearly indicate the scope of work and do they agree with the cost estimate sheet.
Place a note on plans to indicate a Certificate of Completion will not be issued until the remodeling is 100 percent complete.
Plans shall have a note on drawings indicating that work beyond the approved scope of work shall result in a STOP WORK ORDER being issued to the site and possibly demolishing of the entire structure due to a substantial improvement status.
Refer to information requirements for a single family residence for specific construction details.
3 sets of complete construction drawings containing pertinent required information for the previous list signed & sealed by Florida Registered engineer.
Note: These information and material requirements apply in all circumstances, including post disaster.
Please contact Sanibel’s building department for verification and up to date building rules and regulations (239) 472-4555 or go to mysanibel.com
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