Why is a building permit required?

It’s the law! The City of Miami Beach is guided by the Florida Building Code.  Section 105.1 states: “Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, 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, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.” (For Exemptions as stated on Section 102.2., click here).

A permit brings you the service of Building Department Plans Reviewers and Inspectors who are experts in their field. In addition to providing advice, they approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the code and the approved plans. Working without a permit is illegal and can result in fines and cause problems if and when you sell your house.

What is required to receive a building permit?

Permit Application is required for submission of a permit.

Fill out a Permit Application including a folio number (13 digit number from property tax statement or Miami-Dade County Property Appraisers) or visit the Miami-Dade Property Information, online.

Submit two (2) sets of plans for Drop-Offs and for Walk-Thru at the Permit Counter to obtain a processing number. Plans submitted must be considered 100% complete to qualify for plan review. Click here to obtain a list of Projects Required to be Signed and Sealed by a Design Professional.

You will be required to pay an up-front permit fee prior to beginning the permitting process. Once all required approvals have been obtained and your plans have been signed off by the plan reviewers, the outstanding balance of your permit must be paid prior to the issuance of your permit and permit card. Please click on the Permit Application Submittal Checklist  to review the permit submittal requirements.

Where do I get a permit?

There are different building jurisdictions. Each city has its own building official who issues building permits for work within that city’s jurisdiction. The City of Miami Beach Building Department is located at 1700 Convention Center Drive. The North Beach Office, located at 962 Normandy Drive, services the North Beach community (63 to 86 Streets) with Building Departments’ functions. Applications and forms can be found on our website.

What are the hours of operation?

Building Administration and Operations: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
Homeowner’s Permit Assistance (1st floor) and Permit Counter (2nd floor): 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Ticket Routing System: All Tickets are issued at the Homeowner’s Permit Assistance Counter (1st floor) from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
To consult with an Inspector: 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday
To consult with a Plan Reviewer: By appointment only
Records Management (Microfilm and Research Requests): 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Drop-Off Plans: 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Walk-Through Tickets are issued at the Homeowner’s Permit Assistance Counter (1st floor) from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday
North Beach Office, 962 Normandy Drive: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
The Building Department offices close for lunch between 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

How long does it take to get a permit?

The City of Miami Beach Development Review Departments which include the Building Department, Planning & Zoning Department, Public Works Department and the Fire Prevention Department are working towards a 30-day review time for residential projects and 60 days for multi-family and commercial projects. Please be aware you may need Miami-Dade County approvals for the environmental core and/or impact fees depending on the scope of work.

What types of permits can I Walk-Thru?

The City of Miami Beach Building Department has made the permitting process easy and fast by providing a walk-thru service for certain permit types. To participate in the walk-thru process you must obtain a ticket for routing prior to 12:00 p.m. These types of permits can be issued the same day, if all the required information is submitted. All walk-thru and drop-off processes are limited to (3) three permit packages per customer. Please make sure that all paperwork is complete prior to submitting it to the Permit Clerk. The following is a list of items that can be processed as walk-thru permits:  List of Permits. 

What happens if I have been cited for beginning construction prior to obtaining a permit?

You must apply for a permit and submit plans. If the construction conforms to code and your plans are acceptable, the permit will be issued and appropriate inspections will be made. If the construction does not conform to code, you have two options:

Construction must be brought into compliance or construction must be removed. If the construction is not permitted under any circumstances, then it must be removed.

You must have a permit to demolish and an inspection must be made to ensure that it has been demolished and the property cleared.

What are the penalties?

When work for which a permit is required is commenced prior to obtaining a permit, the permit applicant shall be required to pay $500.00 plus a double permit fee. In no event shall the applicant pay less than $500.00 plus double the amount of the minimum fee as specified for each type of work. The payment of the required fee shall not relieve any person, firm or corporation from fully complying with all applicable regulations and codes, nor shall it relieve them from being subject to any to the penalties therein. The double fee requirement shall be applicable to all sections of the Building Department noted herein. For the second offense of doing work without a permit, the permit applicant shall be required to pay a $1,000.00 penalty fee plus a double permit fee. For each subsequent offense, the permit applicant shall be required to pay a $2,000.00 penalty fee, plus a double permit fee.

How will I know when I need inspections?

Inspections depend on what is involved in the project. Simply stated, an inspection is required prior to covering up any part of the construction. How and when are inspections performed?  Inspections are performed from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The following must be at the job site prior to the inspector arriving to perform the inspection:

The approved job copy of your plans

Recorded Notice of Commencement

Approved permit and permit card must be at the construction site and the address properly posted and visible from the street

The job to be inspected must be accessible. An OSHA approved ladder must be available if needed.

To request an inspection through our Interactive Voice Response System (I.V.R.) please call 305.673.7370. Please have your permit and Pin numbers available.

How do I request a pin number?

Each permit has a unique pin number associated to it. The pin number is shown in each Work Permit and it can also be looked up by logging into the contractor’s CAP account (Citizen Access Portal). Once you are registered as a contractor with the City of Miami Beach and have created your CAP account, you can also access your permit details, schedule inspections, pay fees, and more. If assistance is needed to find the pin number, please contact the Building Department at 305.673.7610.

May I do my own work?

Owner/builder permits are limited to the new construction of one single family residence per 24-month period and interior remodeling of commercial buildings is limited to $75,000 in value if the owner is not going to lease or sale the property after (2) two years from the C.O. issuance. Under certain circumstances, owners of property may be exempt from contractor qualification and certification requirements. To qualify for such an exemption, an owner must personally appear and sign the building permit application and must satisfy local permitting agency requirements, if any. The owner must also complete and sign a DISCLOSURE STATEMENT which will be provided by the Building Department, and meet personally with the Building Official.

Florida Statutes, Disclosure Statement 489.103 (7) states:  State law requires construction to be done by licensed contractors. You have applied for a permit under an exemption to that law. The exemption allows you, as the owner of your property, to act as your own contractor with certain restrictions even though you do not have a license.

You must provide direct, onsite supervision of the construction yourself.

You may build or improve a one-family or two-family residence or a farm outbuilding.

You may also build or improve a commercial building, provided your costs do not exceed $75,000, if you are the owner of record of the property.

The building or residence must be for your own use or occupancy. It may not be built or substantially improved for sale or lease. If you sell or lease a building you have built or substantially improved yourself within (2) two years after the construction is complete, the law will presume that you built or substantially improve it for sale or lease, which is a violation of this exemption.

You may not hire an unlicensed person to act as your contractor or to supervise people working on your building.

It is your responsibility to make sure that people employed by you have license required by state law and by county or municipal licensing ordinances.

You may not delegate the responsibility for supervising work to a licensed contractor who is not licensed to perform the work being done. Any person working on your building who is not licensed must work under your direct supervision and must be employed by you, which means that you must deduct F.I.C.A. and withholding tax and provide workers’ compensation for that employee, all as prescribed by law.

Your construction must comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, building codes, and zoning regulations.

You should check with your insurance carrier if additional coverage will be required.  Home insurance does not cover worker’s compensation or liability for the owner to act as a contractor.

Please be advised that the Owner/Builder is liable for the employees he hires to perform the construction.

This responsibility may include the following where required by Law:

Worker’s compensation: (for workers injured on the job)

Social Security Tax: (must be deducted from the employees’ wages and matched with the Owner’s funds)

Unemployment Compensation: (may or may not be required)

Liability Coverage

Federal Withholding tax

What are the Contractors’ requirements to perform work in the City of Miami Beach?

It is required that contractors working in the City of Miami Beach be registered. They must file valid, updated copies of their licenses and insurances to the Building Department before they will be allowed to obtain a permit. The contractors must have all previous jobs closed or in “active” status; any open/expired project will stop any further permitting activity. The following includes the licensing requirements for State Certified and Registered Contractors:

Copy of State Certification with an Occupational License for place or business; or

Copy of Certificate Competency or State Registration with a municipal contractors’ occupational license; and

Certificate of Liability Insurance made out to:
City of Miami Beach
Building Department
1700 Convention Center Drive, 2nd Floor
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Liability with no less than $300,000 per accident or occurrence for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident for property damage.

Workman’s Compensation or State Exemption.

Must show the following information:

Name of insured

Type of policy issued

Policy number

Effective date

Expiration date

Type of insurance

The Building Department has an electronic profile for each contractor showing his or her address, phone number, certificate of competency or the state certification/registration number, name of qualifier, expiration date of the occupational or the municipal contractor occupational license, Workman’s Compensation, and Liability Insurance. To send updated licenses and insurances, please click here.