What Is A Building Permit?

Building permit
It is important to be informed and follow protocols with building permits.

A building permit is an official document issued by a local government agency that allows you to start construction on a new building or make major changes to an existing one. The permit process is designed to ensure that your project complies with all applicable building codes and zoning regulations. Although many homeowners may find the permitting process to be tedious and time-consuming, it is also intended to ensure that the work is completed correctly to code and therefore safe.

What does a building permit entail?

In most cases, you will need to obtain a building permit from the city or county in which your property is located. In particular, new construction and extensive renovation projects will likely require a building permit. The application process will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but you will typically need to provide the following information:

  • The type of project you are planning
  • The location of the project
  • The proposed dimensions of the building or structure
  • The materials you plan to use
  • The plans for the project

In the event that you are requesting a building permit for your primary residence, you will likely be allowed to pull an “owner-builder” permit yourself. Otherwise, you will be required to have a licensed contractor apply for the building permit.

The building permit process

Once have you have applied for and been granted a building permit, you can begin the work on your property. Depending on the project, there will likely be various mid-project inspections upon reaching various stages. These inspections are typically referred to as “rough inspections”. Assuming these various milestones pass their inspections, you will be left with a final inspection. Once this final inspection has been signed off, then you can have the permit closed. If you are building a new construction home, you will likely require a certificate of occupancy (or CO) prior to moving into the home.


When dealing with the permitting process, it is important that you start the process early to give yourself ample time. Since many building departments are overwhelmed with applications while also being short-staffed, the process of obtaining a permit may take much longer than you think. In addition, be sure to hire a local and reputable contractor to perform the work. It seems as though everyone has a horror story or two about contractors not fulfilling their duties in a timely manner or at all.

Lastly, it is critical that you ensure that your permits are closed once the work has been completed. Lingering open permits can remain for years without your knowledge until it is time to sell your property. The last thing you want to delay a successful sale of your property is an open permit that had been forgotten about.

Are you looking to buy or sell property in the South Florida area? We can help! Contact Natasha at Live South Florida Realty, Inc. today! Also, don’t forget to download the free Florida Home Search app for your smartphone or tablet!

By natasha moore

REALTOR® with Live South Florida Realty, Inc.