Code Violations and Permit Dispute and Approval

It is extremely important to comply with building codes because not complying would harm the structural integrity of buildings, which could then lead to more hazardous and dangerous conditions. Code violations cover a wide range of building codes, most commonly are Structural and wood framing problems, foundation and concrete problems, and electrical problems. (ICC, 2005B). For the most part, each local government and each legally constituted enforcement district shall regulate building construction. Fla. Stat. §553.80. When authorized in legislation, each state agency enforces the Florida Building Code required on all public or private buildings, structures, and facilities, unless otherwise delegated. Id. To summarize, the local government regulates building construction and state agencies can enforce the Florida Building Code.

Who can Sue for Code Violation?

Under Fla. Stat. §553.84, any person damaged as a result of a material violation of the Florida Building Code has a cause of action against the person or party who committed the violation. A “material violation” means a violation that exists within a completed building, structure, or facility which may reasonably result, or has resulted, in physical harm to a person or significant damage to the building. Id.

Code Compliance and Mitigation

Laws have been passed in an effort for contractors and builders to comply with Florida Building Codes with the goal to maintain public health, safety, and welfare of this state. These laws include creating a Florida Building Code Compliance and Mitigation Program to develop and maintain education of the Florida Building Code. It is pertinent that builders maintain their education especially for safety concerns but also to mitigate lawsuits.

The best way to fix a building code violation is to prevent it in the first place.

  • You can contact your local Building Inspector to get a list of required permits before you start any construction on your home.
  • Understand what kind of violations you might be facing. To fix the problem, you must understand the violation and why it is noncompliant with your jurisdiction’s building code. Building codes may be difficult to understand on their own, but the attorneys at RAK Law Firm can assist you in comprehending code violations.

If a code violation has been found, don’t just ignore it and procrastinate, fix it as soon as possible and make a copy of any documentation related to this repair for your records. The RAK Law Firm attorneys can help you fight your code violations through our professional services.

Permit Requirements

Under Fla. Stat. §553.79, it is unlawful for any person or entity to construct, modify, repair, or demolish any building within Florida without first obtaining a permit therefor from the appropriate enforcing agency. The agency is also allowed to revoke any permit after determining that the permit issued was in violation of the Florida Building Code. Id. Because of this statute, there are permits required for almost all types of construction projects, which may lead to lengthy processing and disputes later in the construction process.

Permit Dispute

A permit dispute arises when a local authority/government denies a permit application and the applicant disagrees or worse, follows through with the construction despite being denied. If a local authority does deny a permit application, the first step in the litigation process is determining whether the applicant has the right to an administrative appeal under the local ordinances. Sometimes the local ordinances permit a rejected applicant to appeal a land use decision to the local government’s governing body. However, it is wise to consult with a RAK Law Firm attorney because some of the ordinances can impose deadlines to file appeals after denying applicants. Before filing a lawsuit in state or federal court, the applicant must exhaust all available remedies/appeals at the local government. Lee County v. Morales, 557 So. 2d 652 (Fla. 2d DCA 1990). Once that first step is complete, then comes normal litigation processes.

Permit disputes in court can be difficult because the defendant is usually a local government, and the cases are often thrown out due to sovereign/governmental immunity. However, there are a few exceptions to sovereign immunity like: ultra vires and “substantial injustice.” So, while suing your local government isn’t necessarily the easiest and most cost-effective route, it can be permitted under the right circumstances. Your permit rights will be protected with the help and guidance of the attorneys at RAK Law Firm.

Permit Approval

In order to obtain a permit, you must first file an application on a form furnished by the building department. The application form must comply with the requirements of Fla. Stat. §713.135(5)-(6). After submitting the application, a building official will review the permit application and if it complies with all requirements, laws and regulations, the building official will issue the permit as soon as practicable. Per the FBC (105.3.2) a permit application expires 180 days after the date of filing from approval date. But if the building official rejects the application, then it will be stated in writing the reasons for such rejection.

Generally, permits can last for quite a while. Per the FBC (105.3.2) a permit application expires 180 days after the date of filing from approval date. However, a building permit can be obtained within 10 workdays, if all of the documents are provided.

In Florida, the attorneys of RAK Law Firm are reputable lawyers who are extremely familiar with construction codes and permits. Our attorneys will fight for your rights, as well as offering a myriad of other legal services. If you have any questions or concerns arising from a construction code and permits, please do not hesitate to contact us at (407)-437-0319.

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