The following information is provided to help clarify the
permit and inspection process required for improvements made to your property
without the required permits.
In order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the
property owner, any future occupants or property owners, as well as the general
public, Florida Statutes and local ordinances require that permits be obtained
prior to erecting, altering, constructing or installing buildings, structures or
service systems. In addition, the law requires that the construction be
inspected at specified phases by qualified personnel to assure compliance with
the required Building and Zoning regulations.
If you are attempting to obtain a permit on an improvement, in
response to a notice of violation, the Building Division recognizes that you are
under a deadline to make corrections. The Building Division staff will try to
respond to your permit application in a timely fashion. However, please
recognize that it is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate permits,
required inspections and Certificates of Completion within the time allocated by
the Code Enforcement staff or Code Enforcement Board.
Code Enforcement staff is aware of the time required to obtain
a permit for a particular improvement. They will give you adequate time to
comply, but it is important that you begin to take immediate steps to correct
your violation(s). Often people under a code enforcement action wait too long to
take the appropriate action. Typical permitting turnaround times can only be
relied on for improvements that have not yet been constructed and which have
applications accompanied by complete, correct plans and permit documents.
If you encounter unforeseen difficulties, it is important that
you communicate this information to the Code Enforcement officer responsible for
Remember that your improvement is not typical and in all
likelihood you have not yet had the necessary plans prepared. Further,
structures built in violation without permits and inspections create the need
for additional documentation and review. By their very nature, they will take
longer to process for permit than other applications. In addition, permit fees
for violation are computed at four times that of standard permit fees.
It is very possible that the violation which exists on your
property was there when you purchased the property, was constructed by an
individual who mislead you, or was constructed by an individual who was unaware
of code requirements. The fact that you may not have created the violation
yourself does not relieve Code Enforcement staff from their responsibility to
seek compliance from you as the property owner. If you believe you have been
defrauded, Code Enforcement staff will be able to assist you in contacting our
Contractor's Certification staff for a possible action. When assessing permit
fees, consideration is given as to who actually created the violation.
Plans & Permits
At the time of permit submittal, you are required to submit
plans and other documentation to the Building Division. Checklists are available
at the permit counter to inform you or your representative of the minimum
documentation and plan requirements for submittal of typical new
At a minimum, you will have to submit these documents and
construction plans to obtain permits. The code makes it necessary for many
improvements to be designed by a professional architect or engineer, licensed in
the State of Florida. In addition, because your improvement was constructed or
installed without being inspected during construction, you have an added burden.
Any components of the work that are covered, enclosed or otherwise inaccessible,
that typically required inspection, will require the services of a design
professional. The design professional must certify those components for
compliance with all State and County codes as well as compliance with the
"As-Built" drawings prepared by the professional.
"As-Built" drawings must provide the typical details and
minimum information required by Palm Beach County. They also identify code
deficiencies on the plan and proposed corrections.
If the property is under violation by the Code Enforcement
Division, a copy of the notice of violation must accompany the application.
To abate your violation, it will be necessary for you to
schedule and pass the appropriate building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical
If any of the building's components are covered or otherwise
inaccessible to County inspectors, the architect or engineer will need to
conduct his own inspections, through whatever means he decides are necessary, in
order to certify all components and services to be in compliance with all County
codes. This certification may be required prior to issuance of the permit.
Building Division staff will make, at a minimum, the required
final inspections even with the appropriate certifications from the design
professional. Other inspections may be required depending on the specifics of
your case. Discuss this matter with the plans examiner or inspector. If the
County inspector finds any code violations, the inspection will fail until the
necessary corrections are made, or until the architect or engineer has otherwise
addressed the violation.
Although a homeowner can act as his or her own contractor, the
Building Division strongly recommends that you engage the services of a licensed
contractor to assist you in this process, and to make any necessary corrections.
Experience has shown that considerable time is saved using professionals. (This
is important, considering the fines which may be imposed.)
Since bringing the violation up to code can be costly, you may
wish to consider abating your violation through removal or demolition. The
Building Division can assist you before you make application or before you
consult a professional.