What Home Improvements Require a Permit in Florida?

May 6, 2024

Planning out a remodeling project for your home can be an exciting time. You can’t wait to get started and see your vision come to life. Before you start, it’s important to keep in mind that some remodeling projects require a permit. So what home improvements require a permit in Florida? The answer is unfortunately not so simple. Our guide will walk you through the process of permitting in Florida and the common questions you may have before you begin your remodeling project. 

Do I Need a Permit for My Remodeling Project?

Whether or not you need a permit for a remodeling project will depend on two factors: the regulations of where you live and the type of project you’re trying to complete. A good rule of thumb is that generally any new construction projects or anything that would alter utilities (electricity/wiring, water/plumbing, gas, etc.) require a permit from the local government to complete. 

If you reside in Gainesville, Florida, the Alachua County government clearly defines when a permit is required on their website. They state the following: “Generally, when any owner, authorized agent, or contractor who desires to construct, enlarge, alter, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, a permit is required.”

Projects That Require a Permit in Florida

Blueprint and power tools on wooden table

Despite the provided definition, it may still be hard to determine what projects exactly need a permit. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some examples of remodeling projects that would require a permit in Florida: 

What Does Not Require a Building Permit in Florida?

While some projects do require a permit, a good amount of remodeling projects do not—especially more cosmetic renovations. This is also not an exhaustive list, but some examples of projects that do not require a permit in Florida include: 

How Much Will a Permit Cost?

Permits do not come free; however, the price will vary depending on the type of project and the value of the project. Alachua County government does provide a PDF with several different prices for permits, but the best way to find the accurate cost for your project is to contact your local government office by phone and explain what you want to do. 

How Do I Get a Permit?

Similar to the cost, the process of getting a permit for a building project will vary on the type of project. Some may require detailed plans and blueprints in order to obtain a permit. 

According to the Alachua County Building Department, the process of getting a permit is the following: “[The process] depends on the nature of the project. For example, you will need to submit a site plan if you want to build a driveway, construction drawings if you are building an addition, a whole set of construction documents if you are building a new home, and any other documents as required by the Building Division.”

If you want to obtain a permit, we would recommend you call your local government, explain what you want to do, and they can walk you through what is needed to get a permit. 

What Happens if I Remodel without a Permit?

Home inspection in progress with man in construction hat checking an exterior door

We strongly recommend you don’t take risks when it comes to building permits. There is a reason these permits are required and why the government is so careful about certain projects. For example, if you alter wiring without the proper permits or training, you could put your home at risk for a fire. Or if you alter plumbing without the proper licensing, not only could you flood your own house—you may affect your entire neighborhood’s water and plumbing systems. 

Also, if it’s discovered that you are doing a project without a permit, you will be charged both fines and the costs of the permits to repair or finish whatever you had started without a permit. 

Is Remodeling Myself Worth It?

In our expert opinion, remodeling yourself—especially for projects that require a permit—is not worth the hassle. Not only will you have to spend the money to obtain a permit and meet the permit requirements, but you also have to complete the project yourself and ensure a proper inspection to close the permit. If a permit is left open, it can become a challenge if or when you choose to sell the house and put you on the hook for several fees. Having a properly licensed contractor from the start will help you avoid navigating the complex process of building permits. 

Avoid the Headache with McFall Builders 

Understanding fees, regulations, and permit requirements can become overwhelming and a headache to deal with—especially with the stress that already comes with a remodeling project. Skip the hassle from the start with McFall Builders. 

Our local, family-owned business has four active state licenses for certified building, general contractor, and roofing (License CBC1257446), (License CGC026008), ​(License CCC1330823), and (License CCC056862). We know exactly what is needed for your remodeling project—and we’ll get it done right the first time. Call us today to see how our home addition and remodeling services can make your dream renovation a breeze.