Why do I need a Building Permit?
  • Not only is it the law, but building permits can also protect you. With a building permit you get the advice from reviewers and inspectors who will approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the Florida Building Code, Zoning laws and the approved plans. 
  • A building permit is required to show compliance with sanitary, safety and welfare concerns including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures.
  • Working without a permit, when one is required, can result in fines and can cause problems when you sell your home. And, more importantly, you lose the assurance that the work you're paying for is built to code, a minimum standard for safety.
  • Section 101.4.2 of the Florida Building Code states: 
It shall be unlawful to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, remove or demolish any building structure, or any part thereof; or any equipment, device or facility therein or thereon; or to change the Occupancy of a building from one use Group to another requiring greater strength, means of egress, fire and sanitary provisions; or to change to an unauthorized or prohibited use; or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by this code; without first having filed application and obtained a permit thereof, from the Building Official, validated by payment thereof.

EXCEPTION: No permit shall be required, in this or any of the following sections, for general maintenance or repairs which to not change the occupancy, and the value of which does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) in labor and material as determined by the Building Official. HOWEVER: No repairs may be made without prior approval of the Building Official


What types of work require a Building Permit?
  • The most common types of projects that require permits are listed below:
    • Single Family Residence And Duplex
    • One and two-story additions
    • Minor repairs, remodeling and alterations
    • Accessory structures such as sheds, gazebos, chickees
    • Carports
    • Pools and spas
    • Fences and walls
    • Decks (wood or concrete)
    • Screened porch, patios, enclosures
    • Awnings and canopies
How do I get a building permit?
  • Building permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work.
  • Only licensed contractors or an owner-builder may obtain a permit. 
What are the requirements for contractors?
  • Copy of State Certification with an occupational license for place of business or Copy of Certificate of Competency with a Municipal Contractors Occupational License; and Certificate of Insurance made out to: Town of Surfside Building Department.
  • Liability insurance is required with no less than $300,000 per accident or occurrence for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident for property damage. Worker's Compensation is required. Must show name of insurer, type of policy issued, policy number, date of inception and expiration, type of insurance, and that no material change or cancellation of the insurance shall be effective without 30 days written notice by registered or certified mail. 
  • All permits will be issued to contractors with an affidavit of authorization from the owner on all buildings. 
What are the requirements for owner-builders?
  • Owner-builder applicants making application for a building permit should be advised of the following provisions and requirements that apply to owner-builders:
    • Proof of Ownership Prior to a building permit being issued to you, your must submit proof of ownership of the land concerned in the application in a form of a recorded deed, showing you own the property, or a copy of mortgage or warranty deed of the land, showing you are obligated to purchase the property, or a Dade County tax receipt, statement to contain legal description of property and indicate property is in your name.
    • Legal description and name on document of proof must correspond to the name and legal description on the application or as defined in the Florida Building Code.
    • Disclosure Statement State law requires construction to be done by a licensed contractor.
    • You have applied for a permit under and exemption to that law. The exemption allows you, as the owner of your property, to act as your own contractor even though you do not have a license. You must supervise the construction yourself.
    • You may build or improve a one-family or two-family residence or a farm outbuilding. You may also build or improve a commercial building at cost of $5,000.00 or less.
    • The building must be done for your own use or occupancy.
    • It may not be built for sale or lease.
    • If you sell or lease more than one building you have built yourself within one (1) year after the construction is complete, the law will presume that you built it for sale or lease, which is a violation of this exemption.
    • You may not hire an unlicensed person as your contractor.
    • Your construction must be done according to building codes and zoning regulations.
    • It is your responsibility to make sure that people employed by you have licenses required by state law and by county or municipal licensing ordinances.
    • Insurance:
      • You should be advised that your day labor employees cause any damage to persons or property, or if any of your day labor employees are injured on the job, you are liable.
      • Your regular home insurance policy ordinarily does not cover this type of liability. Withholding Taxes, Etc.:
    • You should be advised to investigate your responsibility for withholding Social Security, Federal and State Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Federal Income Taxes from the wages of employees working for you on the proposed construction, and for making returns thereof to the proper agencies.
    • Restrictions for Owner-Builders:
      • An owner-builderis limited to constructing one single family or duplex residence each year.
      • Or erecting a one story building of not more than 500 square feet for commercial or industrial use, or adding a first floor addition of not more than 500 square feet to a commercial or industrial building;
      • Or maintenance or repairs and non-structural alterations, not to exceed $5,000.00 on any building which him /her owners or leases.
      • Notice: Separate permits required for Electrical, Plumbing, Roofing, and Mechanical work.
      • Applicants may pick up the plans and pay fee balance the following day.
      • The requirements for each permit application are different depending on whether the property is zoned commercial or residential.
      • Residential projects may be undertaken by either the owner or a contractor whereas commercial project must be undertaken by contractors
What is a walk-through process?
  • The "walk-through" process has been designed to make the application for building permits easier for applicants and more efficient for the city. 
  • The system employs a plan processing clerk who serves as controller and coordinator of the process. The plans processing clerk guides the applicant through the review process in order to get most plans approved within ninety minutes.
  • The process begins with the receipt of approval from all necessary outside agencies, i.e. Fire Department, Department of Environmental Resource Management, Dade County Health Department. 
  • Once these approvals have been obtained, the applicant may complete a building permit application. 
What is an over-the-counter permit?
  • Over the counter permits includ the following: interior painting and painting a roof only.
Building work permit application: Qualifier of contracting company must sign and have notarized this document.
Owner's affidavit: Owner must sign and have this document notarized.
If the property shows in Dade County Tax Assessors Office under a Corporation name, back up documents are required to support the signer on the affidavit (e.g. Annual Report filed with the State of Florida, Corporate Documents or a letter from your lawyer.)
If a new structure or building is other than a single family hom,e a Site Plan Review is required.
If plans are for a restaurant, whether the restaurant is part of a multi-family hotel use, plans shall bear the seal of approval of the Dade County Health Department, as well as the Florida Restaurant and Hotel Commission.

If plans are for a hospital, doctor's office or any other type of activity where x-ray equipment or any other radioactive equipment is used, said plans shall bear the seal of approval of the Dade County Health Department.