The following is a list of questions and answers that are commonly asked. The answers pertain to the unincorporated area of Pinellas County. Should you live in one of the communities that are currently under contract with this department they might not apply.
- Why do I need a permit?
Per Chapter 1 of the Florida Building Code and section 553.79 (1), Florida Statutes: 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.
- Can I pull my own permit? What work can I do as an owner?
Maybe. When building or improving one-family or two-family residences on such property for the occupancy or use of such owners and not offered for sale or lease, or building or improving commercial buildings, at a cost not to exceed $500 on such property for the occupancy or use of such owners and not offered for sale or lease, such owners of the property may act as their own contractor and they must provide full time, direct on site supervision themselves of all work not performed by licensed contractors.
As the owner of a one or two family dwelling you my act as your own contractor and do the work yourself, provided that the home is for your own use, it is not for sale or lease. You must also be doing the work yourself, or providing direct on site supervision. If you are the owner of a commercial property you are required to hire a contractor for any work that requires a permit and inspection.
- Are plans for a single family home required to be sealed by an architect or engineer?
Plans must be signed and sealed by a Florida registered architect or engineer, or they must comply with one of the Design Criteria alternative provisions in the Florida Building Code, Residential.
- As the owner of a single family home, can I hire people to help me or must I use licensed contractors?
As the owner you may hire laborers to help you in the construction. However you must supervise any of the laborers you hire. At the time of permitting you will need to turn in a Homeowner Affidavit. You must also comply with Florida Statues with regard to workers compensation and federal taxes. You can enter into a contract for the different categories of work (electrical, plumbing, mechanical, etc.) as long as the person you hire is a licensed contractor.
- At what stage of construction can I get my power turned on?
Power will not be released under most circumstances until the building has received all required inspections and all fees due are paid. We do issue what is known as temporary power for specific items that require testing prior to occupancy.
- Can I install brick pavers in my driveway?
Yes, brick pavers are allowed for driveways; however if you plan to extend the brick pavers into the right-of-way, you will need a Right-of-Way Utilization Permit as stated above. Click here for more information on brick paver driveways.
- Do I need a permit for a driveway?
You will need to obtain a county Right-of Way Utilization Permit from the Public Works Department (464-3670) however, a building permit is not required for a new or an extension of a driveway. Also you must comply with all zoning and environmental regulations. You can contact zoning as well as an environmental representative at 464-3888.
- Do I need a permit for a fence?
You must comply with any zoning regulations, but a building permit is not required in the unincorporated area of the county. You may contact a zoning representative at 464-3401.
- How long is a permit valid?
A permit is valid for six months from the date of issuance, or from the last approved inspection date. If the project is dormant for six months then the permit is expired. A permit may be extended only by the Building Official with a written request.
- How many layers of roofing can be installed before I have to remove the old roofing to install new roofing?
You must follow the roofing material manufacturers specification. Under most instances a second layer of roofing shingles cannot be applied over the original shingles.
- Must I place street numbers on my house or business?
Yes, these are required under county ordinance 87-52. They must be over the front entrance and 3" minimum in height. If the business is located on U.S. 19 the numbers must be 5" in height.
- When are plans required and what do I need to show on the plans?
Plans are normally required for most construction projects. For a list of requirements that need to be shown on plans go to residential plans or commercial plans.
- Where can I obtain the code books that are enforced in Pinellas County?
All of the Florida Building Codes can be obtained through BOAF Market Place or through the State of Florida. The National electrical code and the N.F.P.A. codes can be obtained through The National Fire Protection Association. You also may find them in your local library, or at some of the larger book stores.