Many of my customers and even some contractors find interpreting the
Building Code to be a bit confusing in regard to remodeling projects.
When is the Building Permit required?
If the changes are purely cosmetic, the permit is not required,
independently from the size of the project.
In Florida, in addition to the the standard Building Code, there is a
Code for existing buildings. It may be the same in other states
because the Florida Building Code is based on the ICC: International
Code Council guidelines.
The Code has divided the remodeling work into 3 categories:
- ALTERATIONS LEVEL 1:
Includes any kind of REPAIRS done throughout the house, such as
replacing appliances, plumbing fixtures, carpet, painting etc.
A Building Permit is not required.
-ALTERATIONS LEVEL 2:
Includes any work that alters the existing layout:
e.g., wall demolition, fabrication of new walls in new locations
different from the original, new kitchen layout with new or old
cabinets & appliances, new bath layout, etc.
The total remodeling work area must be below 50% of the total house
area. If the work area exceeds 50% of the total house area, the
remodeling project falls into
- ALTERATIONS LEVEL 3:
which means, the entire house must comply with the latest Building
Code requirements. The entire roof must be reinforced, each wood truss
must be restrapped, and new doors and windows must be installed.
Existing exterior walls must be reinforced per the new Code.
The existing foundation must also meet the new code standards.
This is a very expensive remodeling category.
It is better to keep the work area below 50% or divide the project
into two phases, each below 50%.