Building Department FAQ's

 

 Can I purchase the permit and have the building official come and approve the Final Inspection?

I am trying to purchase a home and the mortgage company is saying that their home inspector or appraiser made a notation in their report that the home previously had the garage enclosed (to make more living area in the home).  There is no record of a permit ever being purchased. Now the mortgage company does not want to finance the home for me unless the proper permits are obtained and inspections completed and approved.

This is also a question we hear frequently. To begin to answer the question a few things should be established first:

  • The State of Florida allows a property owner to pull permits for work being done by the owner on property on which that individual lives. If you are not the legal property owner or lease holder then you are not allowed under Florida Law to obtain permits for that property. This obviously means that if someone is in the process of buying a home and runs into this situation, they are not yet the owner and therefore are not allowed to obtain permits for that property.
  • The only other person who may obtain a permit for property that is not owned or legally leased by them is a contractor who is licensed to perform the work needed.
  • To fix this situation and move forward a contractor must be hired to come out to the home and ensure that code compliance is met. This may involve having drawings made or opening up walls and performing work inside them so that they may be inspected for compliance and then closed back up by the contractor.
  • The contractor should contact the building official to see what exactly will be needed as each job will need different things.
  • Issuing the proper permits after the work is completed or after extended periods of time have passed is not a normal procedure, and is not something that the building official must do by law.  This process is used on a case-by-case basis and is by no means a fix-all for every situation. Please contact the building official if you run into a similar problem and need assistance.

 

 What does the Building Official need to inspect?

  • The building official will need to inspect all aspects of the work before it is covered or concealed from view. These inspections are done to ensure that the work is being completed in compliance with the Florida Building Code and the approved plans for the project. If the work is concealed before it can be inspected the building official may require that the work be uncovered at the expense of the contractor or owner.

 How can I contact the Building Official?

  • The Building Official's mobile number is available by contacting our office during business hours. If you have a question for the building official you may email it to building@bradfordcountyfl.gov (Attn: Rod).

 How do I register a complaint about what appears to be a hazardous building code violation on an ongoing permitted jobsite?

  • You may contact the Building Department at (904) 966-6223. Please have the permit number or 911 site address when calling.

 Open or expired permit search

If you are needing an open or expired permit search you will need to send your request on letter head along with a $25 check made out to Bradford Bld Dept. 

You can FedEx, UPS or USPS your request. After we receive the request there is a 2 business days max turn around. We will email you the results and receipt. 

 

Please send requests to:

Bradford Bld Dept. 

945 N Temple Ave 

Starke Fl. 32091

 Where do I get a pond permit?

  • The Building Department does not issue pond permits.
    • Contact the Zoning Department first to make sure the pond you wish to dig will be allowed in your Zoning District and to make sure your pond will fit on your lot in accordance with the Bradford County Land Development Regulations. You may also ask the Zoning Department which water management district you are in.
  • Bradford County has Two water management districts, each covers a different area of Bradford County they are:

 Do I need insurance for anyone helping me with the construction?

  • According to Fl. St. it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure everyone who is on their property performing work is properly insured. This may mean asking your contractor for a copy of their insurance policy and the policies of their subcontractors.
  • If you are supervising the work yourself under an owner/builder permit this may mean obtaining workers compensation, general liability policies on the individuals you hire. Don’t forget that if you hire them directly that makes you the employer. You must comply with laws requiring the withholding of federal income tax and social security contributions under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), and must provide workers’ compensation for the employee. Failure to follow these laws may subject you to serious financial risk.
  • Except as otherwise provided in Chapter 440, Florida Statutes, Workers’ Compensation, every employer shall, as a condition to receiving a building permit, show proof that it has secured compensation for its employees as provided in Sections 440.10 and 440.38, Florida Statutes.

 How and when are inspections performed?

  • Inspections are generally performed from 8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. In certain circumstances the Building Official can perform inspections after 5 pm (if for instance he must enter someone's home to perform an inspection and no one will be home until after 5 pm, he will work with you to setup a time to do the inspection after hours). You can contact our office to speak with the Building Official or to get his mobile contact information.  
  • One SITE COPY set of your drawings and your Permit must be posted on the construction site. By Law the 911 site address must be properly posted before the First Inspection or the inspection will be cancelled.

 May I do my own work and permitting?

  • Yes you may! Here is the Florida Statute governing Owner Building.
    • 489.103(7)(a) When building or improving farm outbuildings or one-family or two-family residences on such property for the occupancy or use of such owners and not offered for sale or lease, or building or improving commercial buildings, at a cost not to exceed $75,000, on such property for the occupancy or use of such owners and not offered for sale or lease. In an action brought under this part, proof of the sale or lease, or offering for sale or lease, of any such structure by the owner-builder within 1 year after completion of same creates a presumption that the construction was undertaken for purposes of sale or lease.
  • You may build your own home.
  • You can also build or remodel your own commercial structure as long as the total construction value is $75,000 or less.

 When is a permit required to be obtained? What work requires a permit?

  • I guess the best way to explain when a permit is required is to first show what work is covered by the FBC, and then explain work that is exempted from the FBC. If the work involved in your project is covered in the FBC then a permit will most likely be required.
  • The provisions of the Florida Building Code shall apply to the construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of every public and private building, structure or facility or floating residential structure, or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings, structures or facilities. Additions, alterations, repairs and changes of use or occupancy group in all buildings and structures shall comply with the provisions provided in Chapter 34 of this code.
    • Here are a few examples of  items that are required to be permitted:
        • New Structures: Whether residential or commercial.
        • Additions: Room additions, patio covers, swimming pools, etc.
        • Alterations: Re-roof, garage conversions, new windows and doors, etc.
        • Repairs: replacement of water heaters or other plumbing fixtures, a/c units, new electrical service, rewiring, etc.
        • Moving or demolishing a building.
        • Moving a Used Mobile Home.
        • The Change of Occupant (tenant) or Occupancy (use)of any commercial or industrial  structure.
        • Installation of heating equipment, such as a central HVAC unit, wall heaters, and wood burning stoves or gas/wood burning fireplaces.
  • The following buildings, structures, and facilities are exempt from the Florida Building Code as provided by law, and any further exemptions shall be as determined by the Legislature and provided by law: 
  • Buildings and structures specifically regulated and preempted by the federal government.
  • Railroads and ancillary facilities associated with the railroad.
    (c) Nonresidential farm buildings on farms. (Must have an Agricultural Exemption from the Property Appraiser on the parcel you want to build the farm building on)
    (d) Temporary buildings or sheds used exclusively for construction purposes. (Permits for the principle construction must first be obtained)
    (e) Mobile or modular structures used as temporary offices, except that the provisions of Part II (Sections 553.501–553.513, Florida Statutes) relating to accessibility by persons with disabilities shall apply to such mobile or modular structures. (The Site set-up and tie-down  of these structures must still be permitted, it is the structure itself that is exempt from the FBC)
    (f) Those structures or facilities of electric utilities, as defined in Section 366.02, Florida Statutes, which are directly involved in the generation, transmission, or distribution of electricity.
    (g) Temporary sets, assemblies, or structures used in commercial motion picture or television production, or any sound-recording equipment used in such production, on or off the premises.
    (h) Chickees constructed by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida or the Seminole Tribe of Florida. As used in this paragraph, the term “chickee” means an open-sided wooden hut that has a thatched roof of palm or palmetto or other traditional materials, and that does not incorporate any electrical, plumbing, or other nonwood features.
    (i) Family mausoleums not exceeding 250 square feet (23 m2) in area which are prefabricated and assembled on site or preassembled and delivered on site and have walls, roofs, and a floor constructed of granite, marble, or reinforced concrete.
    (j) Temporary housing provided by the Department of Corrections to any prisoner in the state correctional system.
    (k) A building or structure having less than 1,000 square feet (93 m2) which is constructed and owned by a natural person for hunting and which is repaired or reconstructed to the same dimension and condition as existed on January 1, 2011, if the building or structure:
    • Is not rented or leased or used as a principal residence;
    • Is not located within the 100-year floodplain according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s current Flood Insurance Rate Map; and
    • Is not connected to an off-site electric power or water supply.
  • (If a structure is not connected to a water supply it cannot be used as a temporary or permanent residence.

 Where can I get a County Occupational License?

  • Bradford County no longer issues Occupational Licenses, the Ordinance Repealing the issuance of Occupational Licenses is Ordinance Number 95-04.
  • If you are doing work within the city limits of Starke then you will need to contact their office for their Occupational License Requirements (904-964-5027).

 Where does Florida Law specify that I must obtain a permit for construction?

 Who is responsible for the work if I obtain an owner/builder permit and hire an unlicensed individual to do the work?

  • The owner is solely responsible. It is up to the owner to ensure that the licensed contractor obtains his own permit. This permit makes the contractor legally responsible for their portion of the work. If you hire a contractor, it is your responsibility to ensure that the contractor is licensed and insured. Always ask to see the permit for your project before any work has begun. If the contractor is unlicensed and no permit is obtained, you (the owner) are legally responsible. If the contractor is licensed and no permit is obtained then the contractor is legally responsible. The State of Florida DBPR can assist you in a situation where a licensed contractor has not fulfilled their responsibilities under a CONTRACT, but if the contractor is unlicensed The State of Florida and the Court system will most likely not be able to assist you when the unlicensed person does not fulfill their obligation. The status of a contractor’s license can be verified with the Building Department at (904) 966-6223.

 How do I obtain a burn permit for yard debris?

  • You will need to contact the Department of Forestry at (386)496-2190

 How do I verify that my contractor is licensed to work in Bradford County and the state of Florida?

  • You may contact our office at (904)966-6223 during regular business hours or you may contact the state of Florida, DBPR anytime at the numbers listed below.
  • You may call The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (D.B.P.R.) their Customer Contact Center (CCC) can be reached at 850.487.1395. The CCC hours of operations are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Eastern Time. For a quicker response from a DBPR representative, the best times during the day to call are between the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Eastern Time or 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. You may also verify Contractor Licenses online at www.myfloridalicense.com.

 How much does a permit cost?

  • The cost is based on a variety of factors; depending on the type of work being done. The square footage of the work, the contract price of the work, or both are used in the calculation of permit fees. The minimum cost for any permit is $54.00 (the permit being $50 & a $4 state surcharge fee).

 My insurance company is going to cancel my policy if I do not get an inspection on a newly installed roof. They said it needed to be inspected by the county, so what should I do to have the building official come out and inspect it?

  • Too often we hear these words in the building department from distraught and aggravated home owners who have either completed work on their home themselves without a permit, or have hired a contractor to perform work on their home. In most cases the contractor was either unlicensed, or was licensed but did not purchase a permit. Now the insurance carrier is threatening to cancel the policy unless the homeowners provide the insurance company with the Final County Inspection Report.
  • If you hired a Licensed Contractor to permit and complete the work and a permit was not obtained, please ask to speak with the building official and he will help you resolve the issue.
  • If the work was completed by the homeowner or by persons under the homeowners direct supervision, then depending on the type of roof installed and amount of time since its installation there are several paths forward, some that are costly, you would need to speak with the building official as well to ascertain which option would be best for your situation.
  • In the State of Florida Most Insurance Companies require that a homeowner provide Proof that a permit was obtained and all required inspections were APPROVED on any and all Improvements they make on their property before they will insure that property or any part thereof, be it a New Roof, New windows & doors or a New Addition or Renovation.

 What are the Building & Zoning Department’s hours of operation?

  • Mon - Thurs 8am-4:30pm Closed 12pm- 12:30 for lunch. 
  • Friday 8am-1:30pm OPEN for lunch

 What do I need in order to register in Bradford County as a contractor to pull permits?

  • If you are a State Certified  Contractor  you will  need:
    • Copy of current State Contractors License
    • Valid Driver's License
    • Proof of Worker’s Compensation insurance or exemption
    • Proof of General Liability Insurance made out to Bradford County.
    • **FOR MOBILE HOME INSTALLERS ONLY** There is a 1 time $50.00 fee for registering with Bradford County.
  • If you are a State Registered Contractor you will need:
    • A letter of Reciprocity from the County where your test was taken.
    • Valid Driver's License
    • Proof you have taken both the Technical Exam and the Business and Law Exam, and you must have scored at least a 75% on each.
    • Copy of current State Registered Contractors License
    • Proof of Worker’s Compensation Insurance or exemption
    • Proof of General Liability Insurance made out to Bradford County.
    • There is a $90.00 fee to register with Bradford County then an annual fee of $40.00 to stay active with Bradford County.

 What is the average turn-around time for building plan review?

  • Depending on the type of review, usually 7-10 business days from the time you submit your COMPLETED application with ALL required documentation to our office. In Extreme circumstances this time may be longer. The building official is allowed 30 days by law to complete a plan review for a New Home & 10 days to report to an applicant any deficiencies in their plans or documentation.

 What is the number for the Bradford County Health Department?

  • The Bradford County Health Department is under Alachua County now. Their number is 352-334-7930. Email Anthony.Dennis@flhealth.gov  
  • You WILL have to get a septic # before you can drop off plans with us IF you are building a home or MH.

 What paperwork is required to have on the job site for the inspection?

  • Prior to any inspection being performed, the permit and the notice of commencement (if applicable) must be posted on the job site, along with a set of the reviewed SITE COPY building plans. Construction documents must be accessible on the job site and maintained in a weatherproof container. (For jobs with 2 inspections or less a Zip-Loc bag will be accepted as the weatherproof container for your documentation.)

 When and where do I call to schedule an inspection?

  • You must contact our office at (904) 966-6223 Ex 1 to schedule an inspection. You may call at anytime even if the office is closed. But any inspection called in after 4:30pm will not go on the schedule for the following day, but will be scheduled 2 days out. When calling you will need to leave a message with your name, permit number, type of inspection and a phone number where you can reached. We're sorry but at this time it is not possible for us to schedule a specific time for the inspection to take place. If you would like to contact the building official the morning of your inspection (after 8:30am) he will be able to give you a window of time when he will arrive to complete your inspection. Otherwise, your inspection will take place as soon as possible on the scheduled day.
  • You will also need to call our office to cancel any inspection that was previously scheduled if the work is not ready for the building official to inspect it.

 When is a Notice of Commencement required?

  • A Notice of Commencement is required for any permitted work in excess of $2,500, unless the work is a direct contract to repair or replace an existing heating or air-conditioning system (in an amount less than $7,500).

 Where do I submit my building plans for review, and what is required?

  • You would submit for plan review at the building department. Two complete sets of documents are required along with the permit application.  For a list of documents that are enquired for submittal please see the cover sheet of the application that best fits your project, click here

 Why do I need a building permit? Why are they important?

  • A permit is required by Law for various reasons but the most important of which is to ensure the Health, Safety & Welfare of the citizens we serve.
    • Although spending hard earned dollars on a permit may seem like a waste of time and money to some, its purpose is to ensure that all work being performed on your property meets the minimum requirements of the applicable codes for that project. Also, that all work being performed at the grocery store, your child's school, the hair salon, and all other public and private places follow these same standards. This ensures that these locations are safe for their intended use and are accessible by all citizens of Bradford County. After all these are places that our friends and family make use of everyday.
  • There are also important administrative reasons permits are required. Once a permitted job is completed and a final Certificate of Completion or Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the Building Official, that information is passed on to the Bradford County Property Appraiser who:
    • Will assess the completed work for property tax purposes, as most improvements you make on your property will add taxable value.
    • This is very important when you think about it because when we purchase home owner’s insurance we do so to protect the investment we made when purchasing our home or performing renovations to our home. If the insurance company is not aware of the improvements they will most likely not pay for any losses claimed against them.
  • When you obtain a building permit you have the comfort of knowing that your project is being reviewed and inspected at every stage of the work by qualified personnel who have had a minimum of 10 years supervisory experience in the construction industry. Not to mention the many years of non-supervisory experience in many different aspects of the construction industry.
  • The building official and fire official both remain neutral parties between the contractor and owner. We are there only to insure that the work being performed is compliant with code and that it is of an acceptable minimum quality when compared with industry standards.
  • The quality of  work performed in the Building Department helps to set
    • Home Owners Insurance Rates in our jurisdiction. Most insurance companies use a National Risk Assessment organization that send representatives to each Building Department in Florida to complete a survey. This helps them ascertain how well each department enforces the Florida Building Code and The Florida Fire Prevention Code. Each jurisdiction is then graded accordingly. This grade is a factor in the assessment of risk that insurance carriers face.

 How long are permits valid for?

  • A permit issued by the building department shall be deemed to have been abandoned 180 days after the permit is purchased unless an approved inspection is obtained within the 180 days after purchase. After each approved inspection the permit is valid for 180 more days.. One or more extensions may be requested on your permit for not more than 90 days each. Extensions must be approved by the building official and they must be requested in writing and justifiable cause for the delay in construction must be demonstrated.

 I want to report unlicensed contracting but can I remain anonymous?

  • Yes. Section 455.225(1), Florida Statutes, states, "the department may investigate an anonymous complaint if the complaint is in writing and is legally sufficient, if the alleged violation of law or rules is substantial, and if the department has reason to believe, after preliminary inquiry, that the violations alleged in the complaint are true."
  • However, the department needs as much information as possible to successfully investigate an anonymous complaint. If not enough information is received, the case may be closed.
  • Callers to the Unlicensed Activity Hotline, (866) 532-1440, who provide a tip regarding potential unlicensed activity may remain anonymous.
  • CAUTION: Individuals who file a complaint using the email account ULA@myfloridalicense.com, are advised that all emails to state government are a public record will become a part of the department's investigative file.

 Do I need a permit to install a fence?

  • A fence that is 8 feet tall or more must be permitted and comply with the FBC 2017 Anything below 8 feet tall a building permit IS NOT required.  Although there may be zoning requirements, you can contact the zoning director at (904) 966-6213.