Do I Need a Permit?

Q: What work does and does not require a permit?

A: Section 105.1 of the Florida Building Code states that a permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy or occupant content of a building or structure 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.

Work that requires an inspection to verify compliance with the applicable technical code requires a construction permit.

Separate electrical, mechanical or plumbing permits may be required even if a building permit is not required. Following are examples of work that does and does not require a permit. These examples are not all inclusive and there will be situations that are not addressed here. If you have a question as to permit requirements, call our Bartow office at 863-534-6080 and ask to speak with a plans examiner.

Work Requiring a Construction Permit

  • Construction or demolition of any building or structure regardless of size.
  • All new construction, including additions and any alterations, renovations or remodels involving structural elements or involving any electrical, plumbing, fuel gas, fire systems, pollutant storage tanks, on-site underground utilities, signs or mechanical systems.
  • Alterations, renovations, remodels or modifications to any commercial structure affecting occupancy classification, means of egress, fire resistance ratings or handicap accessibility.
  • The installation, alteration, replacement, extension or repair of any irrigation, electrical, plumbing, mechanical work, fuel gas, fire systems, solar systems or any associated electrical work (low voltage). Including the change out of A/C equipment, electrical service changes or the addition of electrical outlets or circuits.
  • Conversion of any non-habitable space to habitable space including the enclosure of garages, carports, porches or similar structures and the replacement of screening or vinyl windows with glass or solid walls.
  • Screening of any space, which requires structural or infill framing to be added.
  • All foundation remediation work to assure that an engineer is overseeing the work.
  • Any change in occupancy as defined by the building code.
  • Commercial and residential docks, piers, sea walls, boathouses, bulkheads and boat ramps.
  • All masonry walls and fences with masonry pilasters. All solid fences over eight feet high.
  • Retaining walls required for structural support, protection or erosion.
  • Decorative retaining walls. Call 863-534-6080 and ask for a plans examiner for information.
  • Concrete slabs adjacent to a principal or accessory structure, intended for support of a structure, elevated slabs, sidewalks and portions of driveways in the right of way or within the minimum setbacks. Note: All slabs shall meet minimum setbacks from property lines and easements, except sidewalk and driveways. Building Code and Land Development Code drainage requirements shall be met.
  • Pavers installed within the required setbacks or adjacent to structures. Note: Shall meet Building Code and LDC Requirements.
  • Tents over 900 square feet or larger for public assembly or use or having electrical lighting.
  • Pre-manufactured storage buildings, residential buildings and commercial buildings.
  • Additions, repairs, alterations or accessory structures to mobile homes or park trailers. Owners of a mobile home or park trailer situated on a rented lot will not be able to permit additions as owner builders without notarized landowner consent.
  • Mobile home and park trailer set-ups. Owners of a mobile home or park trailer situated on a rented lot will not be able to permit additions as owner builders without notarized landowner consent.
  • In ground swimming pools and spas. Above ground swimming pools and spas more than 24" deep.
  • Pool/spa repairs, renovations, demolitions and remodels involving structural elements, electrical, gas, solar, geothermal work or additional equipment.
  • All re-roofing including mobile homes and park trailers and including installation of insulated roof coverings.
  • Decks, walkways, platforms, stairs and landings. All shall meet setbacks and shall not encroach in easements.
  • All carports or similar structures with rigid roofs.
  • All flagpole foundations and poles greater than 50 feet high.
  • Replacement of skylights, windows and doors including garage doors.
  • Installation or replacement of vinyl or acrylic windows.
  • Plumbing re-pipes and water heater change outs.
  • Installation or replacement of security bars or permanently installed window and door shutters.
  • Siding and soffit replacement or installation.
  • Handicap ramps require a permit and must meet setbacks.
  • Tree houses require a permit with sealed engineered plans. Exception: residential tree houses that meet the following criteria:
  • 1) Tree houses with maximum floor area of 32 square feet.
    2) May have up to a 30 inch knee wall.
    3) Shall meet minimum LDC Accessory Structure setback requirements.
    4) Shall be totally supported by tree.
    5) Shall have no electrical or plumbing.
    6) Shall have no roof.
    7) Maximum of one tree house per residential lot.

Work Not Requiring A Construction Permit

  • Minor roof repairs - less than 25 square feet.
  • Replacement of screening with like material in an existing structure.
  • Interior remodels, interior renovations or interior repairs on ANSI units or RVs.
  • Minor electrical, plumbing, mechanical repairs only, no extensions or modifications.
  • Chain link fences of any height and stockade fences up to eight feet high. Check Polk County Land Development Code for prohibited materials for fencing.
  • Structures intended for storage use only (prefabricated and of a "Closet" use). You may reach in only, not walk-in. These exempt structures are limited to a maximum 5 ft. height (mean height), 50 sq. ft. maximum area and a maximum 250 cubic ft. with no electrical or plumbing.

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