Sarasota County boasts thousands of homes constructed many decades ago. While older, they are highly desirable due to their locations close to downtown, beaches, and waterfront. Buyers love to purchase these homes and renovate them, either to honor their former style (such as Sarasota School of Architecture homes) o to create a contemporary showplace. But all these updates require significant renovations, projects that often require building permits to be performed legally. If you are considering a bathroom remodel, kitchen upgrade, or another type of renovation for your home, you must understand when a permit is necessary.
bathoom remodel

Local government authorities issue building permits according to published city regulations and ordinances. Since no mandatory federal or state standards exist, Sarasota is responsible for establishing its own building codes and guidelines for permits. Click to visit the Sarasota Building Permits website for more information.

If a property owner contracts with a licensed contractor to manage their renovation, that contractor will advise whether your specific project requires a permit. However, homeowners should never just assume that the contractor will obtain all of the necessary permits. Even if they hire a professional contractor, every homeowner is responsible for ensuring that all necessary permits are in place – not the contractor. Homeowners who aren’t paying attention, therefore, could be personally charged with violations if the bathroom remodel or new patio deck is not properly permitted.

Permits cost money and can take up to six weeks to complete, causing some homeowners to wonder if they can simply forgo the process and do the work without a permit. They assume no one will ever really know if there was a permit or not. However, this is a risky game not worth playing. Failing to properly permit a home renovation could delay or even cancel the plans – or make the legal sale of the home impossible. Also, if the municipality learns of unpermitted projects, they can assess hefty fines against the homeowner and even require the illegal renovations to be removed or torn down.

Did You Know? During a home sale, both the inspector and the appraiser often require proof that proper permits are in place. If permits cannot be produced, there’s a good chance that the lending institution won’t approve the buyer’s loan, negating the deal.

Renovations That Require a Permit

Building permits are typically required if the project includes significant alterations to the footprint of the home, such as a home addition or a new garage. Any project that changes the support system of the structure – such as changes to load-bearing walls or covered porches— also requires a permit. Here are some additional projects that usually require a building permit.

  • Fences – depends on material, height and function
  • New Windows: Replacing an existing window may or may not require a permit but cutting new openings typically does.
  • Plumbing: Permits are required if installing or removing plumbing, so a bathroom remodel may fall into that category. However, simply replacing bathroom cabinets does not require permitting.
  • Electrical: A project that includes installing new electrical services requires a building permit. Even moving an outlet, although simple, officially requires a permit.

Non-Permit Renovations

These home renovation projects typically do not require a permit:

  • Painting and wallpapering
  • Installing wood floors or carpeting
  • Minor electrical repairs
  • Installing new bathroom or kitchen countertops
  • Installing new bathroom o kitchen cabinets

In conclusion, if you have a home remodeling project that involves changes to your home’s structure, a permit must be pulled. Because each city has unique laws and regulations, check your city’s website or call with any questions you may have.

West Coast Design Build Florida is a team of professional contractors who have deep expertise in kitchen and bathroom remodeling. We are here to answer any questions you may have.