This information applies to zip code 33149.

When deciding the renovation of your house or office, you are thinking about the results you want, hiring a contractor or the materials required so your dreams and ideas can become a reality.

However, before that, there are some administrative steps to take and requirements to be met. You need to make sure that you are doing things right and in adherence to the building regulations of your city.

Therefore, if you want your renovation to turn out all right, it is essential for you to be prepared.

Here are four things you should know before embarking on any major home improvement project, they will help you avoid difficulties and/or legal troubles.

  1. A permit is required

You must not just start remodeling your home or office on your own without city involvement.

Before doing so, you must obtain a permit issued by the Key Biscayne Department of Building, Zoning and Planning.

“A permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, or change the occupancy of a building or structure.”

You also need it to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, convert, or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system.

The installation of those systems is regulated by the Florida Building Code.

If your residence is in a condominium, you will need approval from the Condominium Association and/or the Condominium Manager.

There’s more to building and renovating that meets the eye, and it’s all within your city’s building, zoning and planning offices.

  1. The permit has a cost

Permit cost is estimated in relation to the construction cost or area of new construction (value or volume of the work, or a combination of both).

The minimum cost for a building permit is $106.00 plus additional fees if required.

If only cost is involved (no area being added), the basic permit fee is $106.00.

Additional cost, if any, is determined at the moment of application or issuance.

If the area of construction is new or a significant addition, the fee is $106.00 plus additional costs based on the square footage and volume.

For combined additions and remodeling, the cost of the addition must be separated from the total cost.

Warning: If this is not done at the time of application, the fee will be based on the total cost, as estimated by the Key Biscayne Department of Building, Zoning and Planning.

  1. You have to show architectural or engineering plans.

For major jobs or projects, you need to present architectural or engineering plans that fully describe the work to be done.

They must be signed and sealed by a Florida Licensed architect or engineer.

However if you are planning to do small jobs, a sketch by the homeowner or contractor is accepted.

You need to consider that if plumbing, mechanical or electrical work is involved, your subcontractors must submit plans that fully describe the work they will be performing and affix their name, stamp and license number to the drawings.

For the Key Biscayne Department of Building, Zoning and Planning to approve those plans, they must include the name and contact information of the people who designed them.

  1. 4. You need to hire a General Contractor

Keep in mind that apartments, Condominiums or Commercial Building tenants must hire a contractor in all situations.

You can only act as an owner-builder of single-family or duplex residential projects, and must meet requirements of Florida Statutes.

Florida Statutes only exempts homeowners when building themselves a single or two-family residence to live in.

If they intend to sell it within one year after obtaining the final Certificate of Completion, then they are no longer exempt.

“Take into account that hiring a certified contractor can be the difference between the success or failure of your remodeling project.”

Hiring an unlicensed contractor may provide a quick fix in the short term.

But, it also could result in many serious and lasting consequences, including further damage to your property.

By hiring a licensed contractor, you know that the project will be done by someone who has taken the time to acquire the appropriate education and the necessary experience.

Educate yourself, become an informed home or commercial property owner, and protect yourself from dishonest persons who can take advantage of you.

And most important, select a contractor you trust.

Good luck in the process of your renovation project!