…a house is not a home until you love where you live…

Renovating in Miami-Dade?

What to Know Before You Start

All you really wanted was to bump out the kitchen a few hundred square feet, add a portico and pizza oven, and possibly a pool plus requisite pool house. (Or, at least, a tiny changing room.) Your general contractor assured you he knew what he was doing; in fact, yours was the third project this week of its kind.

“Just another day at the construction site,” he said with a smile. “A walk in the park.”

“You’ll handle permits, yes?” you asked in earnest.

“I’ll handle everything,” he replied in earnest.

And he would have handled everything, except for one tiny issue: While the contractor was well-versed in Florida’s statewide building codes and practices, Miami-Dade is a different beast. We’ve got stricter code regulations in addition to Florida’s requirements, and to make matters more complicated, our zoning codes vary by municipality. Add tree surveys and utility lines to the mix, and this walk-in-the-park project just took a left turn.

At Debowsky Design Group, Miami-Dade’s permits, zoning laws, and any unexpected redesign along the way are truly our happy place. We know this county (and its rules as well as those of each municipality within it) like the back of our hand, so we don’t get lost – even when left turns pop up.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before beginning any home renovation:

  • It all begins with a building permit. According to Section 104.1.1 of the Florida Building Code: “Any owner, authorized agent, or contractor who desires to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy or occupant content of a building or structure, or any outside area being used as part of the building’s designated occupancy (single or mixed) or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert, or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the technical codes, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit for the work.”

Permits are required for replacement of windows and sliding glass doors, as well as screen enclosures, storage sheds and carports of canvas or metal.

  • Only licensed contractors or owners/builders may obtain a permit.
  • To obtain a building permit, contractors and owners/builders must complete a permit application, submit drawings by a registered architect or engineer showing dimensions and drawn to scale, provide a legal description and survey of the property, as well as an owner/builder declaration. Additionally, certain types of projects also require energy calculations, a landscape plan, and structural calculations.

Perhaps you’re thinking “Well, this building permit business sounds complicated. Why do I even need one?” Not only is it the law in Miami-Dade, but building permits also protect you. A building permit ensures that the work on your home or building is being done in accordance with the Florida Building Code, zoning laws, and the approved plans. It also shows compliance with sanitary, safety, and welfare concerns, including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures.

Renovating or building without a permit will result in fines and issues if you ever decide to sell your home. If there’s no formal assurance that the structural work has been built to code, then the structure cannot be declared safe.

Building and renovating homes is a complicated business, but it’s one we know and love. Let us handle the paperwork so we can get to the important business at hand: that pizza oven!




Or contact us at the information provided below.

Debowsky Design Group
4384 SW 13th Street
Miami, Florida 33134

Phone: 305.495.2751
Email: stuart@debowsky.com

AA 260022858 | AR 94898