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A homeowner may permit for construction of or renovations to their primary residence providing that it is not for sale or rent and their name is on the property deed. The homeowner must appear in person at the Building Inspection Division, 214 N. Hogan St., Room 280, Jacksonville , FL 32202. (904) 255-8500 Option 4.
Requirements for Owner Permitting
In lieu of hiring a licensed contractor to provide construction services, a homeowner may elect to obtain a building permit in their own name on property that is for their own use and occupancy, and that is not for sale or lease. All work must be done by the homeowner or licensed or registered contractors who are subcontracted and supervised by the homeowner. Licensed or registered contractors hired by the owner to provide electrical, plumbing and mechanical (heating and air conditioning) work, or other subcontracted work requiring a permit (roofing), must also obtain their own permits that are associated to the homeowner's building permit. The owner need not obtain an additional roofing permit if the roofing is part of the job for a new home or addition and they are doing the work themselves. If the roof on the host structure is also to be recovered in the case of an addition, a separate roofing permit is required. Concrete contractors, framing contractors, insulation contractors and other contractors hired by the homeowner that do not have State of Florida or local certification should have a current occupational license, proof of worker's compensation insurance and must be supervised by the owner and work under the owner's permit. Should the homeowner decide to hire an unlicensed person, such as a superintendent or laborer, the homeowner must carry Worker's Compensation Insurance, pay Social Security taxes, and personally supervise the work they do.
The property owner must sign an Owner's Affidavit affirming the owner's intent to perform the permitted work him/herself or under his/her direction and supervision. This affidavit must be signed and submitted with your permit application. Proof of Homestead Exemption must accompany the owner's affidavit for improvements to existing structures.
Entering into a Contract
After negotiating a cost with a licensed contractor, the owner should enter into a written contract with the contractor. The contract should spell out the cost of the contract, the timeframe in which the work is to be done, the payment schedule, a detailed scope of work, and liquidated damages if any. The contract must be dated and signed by both parties. Signatures should be notarized. To verify if your contractor is licensed to operate in Duval County you can call the Department of Professional Regulation at 1-850-487-1395 or visit thier website.
Obtaining a Permit
It is the owner's responsibility to assure that a permit is obtained by him/herself or by the licensed contractor. Starting work without first applying for a permit is unlawful and punishable by a fine of $250. The permit must be posted on the jobsite so it can be seen from the street.
Notice of Commencement
The notice of commencement gives constructive notice that claims of lien may be recorded and may take priority for improvements being made to real property. A copy of the recorded Notice of Commencement must be provided to the Building Inspection Division prior to requesting any inspections.
The information required on the Notice of Commencement is:
- Description of the property
- General description of the improvement
- The name and address of the owner
- The name and address of the contractor
- The name and address of the surety on the payment bond, if any, and the amount of such bond
- The name and address of any person making a loan for the construction of the improvements
- The name and address within the state of a person other than himself who may be designated by the owner as the person upon whom notices or other documents may be served under this part; and service upon the person so designated constitutes service upon the owner
- The owner, at his option, may designate a person in addition to himself to receive a copy of the lienor's notice and if he does so, the name and address of such person must be included in the notice of commencement
- Expiration date of notice of commencement is one year unless otherwise specified
Who and Where must the Notice of Commencement be recorded?
- The owner or his authorized agent must record the Notice of Commencement at the Clerk of Courts, Room 103 located in the County Court House at 330 East Bay St., or at the office located within the Building Inspection Division offices at 214 N. Hogan St. The 214 N. Hogan office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To contact their office please call (904) 255-8350 or 8352.
Who must sign the Notice of Commencement?
The owner must sign the Notice of Commencement and no one else may be permitted to sign in his stead.
When is a Notice of Commencement required?
When improvements exceed $2,500. ($7,500 for mechanical work.)
What is the time frame for recording a Notice of Commencement?
It must be recorded prior to requesting the first inspection and a copy of the recorded Notice of Commencement displayed on the job site.
Notice to the Owner
The Notice to the Owner is a document that informs the owner that the person sending the notice has furnished or is furnishing services or material for the improvements of the real property described in the Notice of Commencement.
Who must send a Notice to Owner?
All potential lienors:
- Supplier of the materials (either to contractor, subcontractor, or owner)
- Professional services individual (architect, engineer, or land surveyor)
- Laborers are not required to send notice to owners as a prerequisite to perfecting a lien
How must this notice to owner be sent?
By certified mail, return receipt requested.
Who must receive a copy of this Notice to Owner?
- Surety Company
- Designated person found in the Notice of Commencement
When must this notice be served?
The notice must be served before commencing, or not later than 45 days after commencing to furnish services or materials, but in any event before the date of the owner's disbursement of the final payment. The serving of the notice does not dispense with recording the claim of lien. The notice is not a lien, cloud or encumbrance on the real property in any way.
Progress payments need to be addressed in detail in your construction contract or contracts. The progress payment should be on a draw schedule, for example:
1ST Payment - 20 percent (Includes set-up fee, site clearing, work-up slab)
2ND Payment -35 percent (Complete dry-in, windows, doors, roofing, plumbing top-out, electrical rough, HVAC rough)
3rd Payment - 35 percent (All interior finishes completed, fixtures, plumbing, electrical and HVAC equipment installed)
4TH Payment - 10 percent (due upon receipt of Certificate of Occupancy or Completion)
Release of Lien
The best way to safeguard against a construction lien is to require a Release of Lien from your contractor with each progress payment, processed on the following forms:
- Conditional Waiver and Release of Lien-Progress Payment,
- Waiver and Release of Lien-Progress Payment,
- Conditional Waiver and Release of Lien-Final Payment, and
- Waiver and Release of Lien-Final Payment.
The owner, prior to making any partial or final payment, should require the contractor to furnish a waiver of liens from each subcontractor, contractor or material supplier from which the owner has received a Notice to Owner.
It is very important that the owner of the property being improved take a keen interest in the construction management of the project. In the final analysis it is the owner's property that is at risk.
Worker's Compensation and General Liability
Every licensed contractor is required by the State of Florida to carry general liability, worker's compensation and employer's liability insurance. This Certificate of Insurance shall be prepared by an insurance agent and must contain the following information:
- Date that the certificate of insurance was issued
- Name of insurance agent
- Name of insured must reflect the exact name of business organization qualified by the applicant, and the insured's fictitious name or D/B/A, if any
- Name of insurance company
- Policy number must be on the certificate
- Effective date of policy
- Expiration date of policy
- Proper aggregate amount of public liability and property damage, and worker's compensation statutory limits.
To verify if your contractor has current worker's compensation insurance or exemption, you can call the Florida Division of Worker's Compensation Compliance at (850) 488-2333 or visit thier website.
Claimant shall complete the claim form and forward to the board with the following documentation attached to the board; a certified copy of the Civil Judgment or Final Order of the Construction Industry Licensing Board, a copy of any contract between the claimant and the contractor, copies of applicable bonds, sureties, guarantees, warranties, letters of credit and/or policies of insurance, certified copies of levy and execution documents, and proof of all efforts and inability to collect the judgment or restitution order.
Construction Industries Recovery Fund
The purpose of this rule is to provide procedures for processing claims to the Construction Industries Recovery Fund. After a civil judgement or final order of the Construction Industry Licensing Board has been made against the contractor and the contractor has not made restitution, a claim may be filed against the Construction Industries Recovery Fund.
A claim against the Construction Industries Recovery Fund shall be made on CILB Form No. 022, 'Construction Industries Recovery Fund Claim Form,' effective March 1995, which is hereby adopted and incorporated by reference and is available from the board office located at:
Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board
CILB Recovery Fund
1940 North Monroe Street, Suite 60
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2202
Phone: (850) 487-1395
- No claims will be processed until 45 days after the date indicated on the Civil Judgment or Final Restitution Order.
- Claims shall be reviewed for completeness by board staff.
- The chairperson of the Construction Industry Licensing Board shall appoint a committee, comprised of at least one member from Division I and one member from Division II, to review claims against the fund and recommend action to the board.
- The board shall give notice to the claimant and the licensee of the time and place where the committee will review the claim and the board will take action on the claim.
- The board shall either authorize payment of the claim in full or in part, by entry of a final order.
Payment of Claims
- If the board authorizes payment of any claim in full or in part, then it shall forward the final agency action with respect to the claim to the secretary of the department for payment.
- Procedures for disbursements of funds shall not commence until 45 days after the filing of the final order approving payment of any claim from the fund.
Certificate of Occupancy and Completion
After all inspections have been completed and all code required corrections have been made, the city will provide a Certificate of Occupancy to the owner of the property listed on the permit, and the permit holder. This Certificate of Occupancy will only be issued when all required city inspections have been passed. Once the Certificate of Occupancy has been issued, the owner may occupy the building.
The city does not inspect cosmetic items, i.e., paint, wallpaper, carpet, interior door hardware, etc. This is your responsibility. Make sure you make a final inspection, room by room. Further, although you may benefit from the inspection process and the issuing of a Certificate of Occupancy, it does not convey any liability to the city. All liability must rest with the contractor with whom you have a contract.
A Guide to Protecting Yourself Against Unlicensed Contractors
Each year homeowners and businessmen lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the mental stress, to uncertified (unlicensed) contractors and craftsmen posing as contractors.
The City of Jacksonville is committed to doing all it can to protect the public against illegal contractors by educating the public and offering the following suggestions.
Watch for these warning signs that may indicate the person/company is not certified:
- You are asked to obtain the permit.
- A large down payment is required before work begins.
- No license number on the vehicle, business card, contract, newspaper/flyer or yellow page ad.
- Contractor displays only an 'Occupational License,' which is required in addition to a Certificate of Competency.
- Someone obtains permit other than the person or company doing the work.
- You are informed that the job does not require a permit or inspection.
- Verbal contract only; person is not willing to put all terms in writing.
- The contractor is only willing to work on weekends or after hours.
- May request front money (money before work begins).
- The contractor does not have proof of General Liability or Worker's Compensation Insurance.
Things You Need to Know:
- According to Florida Statute 455.228, if you hire an unlicensed contractor, the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (D. B. P. R.) may issue a cease and desist order. They also may take you to Circuit Court, which has the authority to impose a civil penalty of up $5,000 for aiding and abetting unlicensed activity. You could also be liable for court cost.
- If you obtain a permit for an unlicensed contractor, you are held responsible for the work, not the contractor.
If you hire an unlicensed contractor, you may actually pay more for the job than if you had hired a licensed contractor. Especially if the work is done incorrectly or never finished, you may have to pay twice or more for the same job to be corrected or finished.
- If the unlicensed contractor fails to pay his sub-contractors or suppliers, you may be required to pay them even though you have already paid the contractor.
- Plumbing, electrical, and heating and air conditioning work must be done only by contractors and craftsmen certified in those trades and require separate permits.
- Home improvement contractors must possess a license issued by the State of Florida as a general, building, or residential contractor.
- Roofing contractors are required to be certified or registered by the state.
- There is no such thing as a 'legal' jack-of-all-trades.
- An 'Occupational License' is not a regulatory license or a Certificate of Competency, but a tax for the privilege of engaging in or managing a business, profession, or occupation.
- You may be held liable for injury on your property if the unlicensed contractor has no liability insurance or Worker's Compensation insurance.
How You can Help Yourself
Simply by making three telephone calls, you can greatly reduce your risk or loss to an uncertified contractor.
- 1st…call to obtain a second bid for the work to be done.
- 2nd…require references and call to verify those references.
- 3rd…call the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 1-850-487-1395 or go to their visit thier website to confirm your bids are from certified contractors.
Permitting Non-Commercial Work (Residential)
To protect the residents of this county, each structure that is placed on any individual lot requires permitting. This is done to provide the municipality the opportunity to review the construction project for compliance with local and state building codes and ordinances.
Permits-When Required: Section 104.1.1 FBC states that any owner, authorized agent, or contractor who desires 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 the technical codes, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit for the work.
The following work does not require a permit:
- Replacement of plumbing fixtures after the stop, excluding water heaters
- Stopping of leaks
- Clear drain stoppages, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures.
- Connection of portable equipment such as portable heating appliances, portable ventilation equipment, portable cooling units, and portable evaporative coolers.
- Any steam, hot, or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by the code.
- Replacement of any part within a single piece of equipment
- Any self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less.
Step 1 – Application (Room 280)
Step by Step Instruction for Permitting (Non-Commercial) for a typical new home or addition
You may obtain a Building Permit Application at the permitting counter. The application must be filled out as completely as possible. You must have two complete sets of architectural plans, site plans, truss engineering when necessary, and three sets of energy calculations and Manual J when the work involves a new space that is heated or cooled. A septic tank construction permit (for new homes) or re-certification (for additions) is also required.
Step 2 – Zoning (Room 2117) (904) 255-8300
Application and your scaled site plan and/or survey will be reviewed for:
Step 3 - Concurrency (when applicable) (Room 2117) (904) 255-8330 or (904) 255-8318
- Real estate tax number (RE #xxxxxx xxxx).
- Address on the application.
- Zoning designation.
- Height of structure.
- Lot size and coverage.
- Setback requirements.
- A survey and scaled site plan showing dimensions of the structure(s) and distances from property lines are required for metes and bounds legal descriptions.
- Lot and block legal descriptions usually only require a scaled site plan showing dimensions of the structure(s) and distances from property lines. Note that a survey may still be required for lot and block legal descriptions, particularly if the lot is in an older subdivision.
- A recorded copy of Covenants and Deed Restrictions, if not already on file with the Zoning Section. If there are no recorded Covenants and Deed Restrictions, then for all single-family homes, follow Jacksonville Ordinance 2003-891-E and 2003-608-E for zoning districts RLD, RMDA, RMDB, and all PUD's.
- A copy of the recorded plat, if not already on file with the Zoning Section.
Application will be reviewed for:
If the property is part of a subdivision (platted after 1991) then the corresponding number of the currency application for the subdivision will be assigned to the building permit.
If the property is not part of a subdivision then it will typically be considered deminimis (little or no impact) development.
Step 4 - Development Services – Review Group (Room 2100)
Application and plans will be reviewed for:
1. Minimum lot frontage
a. The lot must have a minimum of 35' of frontage on a public or approved private road per City Ordinance 656.407.
b. There are two exceptions to this. If all property between the lot and the public or approved private road is owned by a relative of the lot owner, direct frontage is not required [City Ord. 656.407(d)]. If the lot has not changed shape in any way since September 5, 1969, there is no minimum road frontage requirement [City Ord. 656.704].
2. Lot grading requirements
a. Lot grading must meet the minimum standards of the Southern Building Code.
b. In-fill lots must meet the criteria set forth in Building Inspection's Bulletin G-01-08.
3. Floodplain Management
a. If the structure being built is in a special flood hazard area (any flood zone other than X), two FEMA Elevation Certificates must be prepared by a surveyor and provided during construction: one at the completion of the finished floor and one when construction is complete.
4. Right of way or easement encroachments
a. The structure being built will be examined to make sure none of it is going into a City right of way or easement.
Note: Any work within a City right of way or easement requires a separate permit from Development Services – Review Group. See the Development Services Right of Way Permitting web page for details.
- Step 5 - Water & Sewer
If you are building in a new subdivision that has a current CRC, the computer database can verify your JEA water and sewer service in most cases. If you are building on an in-fill lot in an older neighborhood or on any lot that receives a deminimis concurrency designation, you must obtain a Release for Building or Plumbing Permit from JEA or show a receipt for your tap fees. If a private company provides your water and sewer service, you must provide a capacity letter from that provider. If you have a septic tank, you must submit a septic tank construction permit. The site plans shall show the location of the septic tank and well, if one is used for potable water.
- Step 6 - Architectural Plans Review (Room 280)
A complete application and two complete sets of drawings, three sets of energy forms and two product approval sheets must be submitted. A temporary number will be issued. Please retain this number. The application and plans will be reviewed for:
1. Application completeness, i.e. zoning approval, etc.
2. Accuracy of plot plan and elevations given.
3. Architectural drawings are in code compliance.
4. All hurricane wind force requirements are met
5. Envelope of structure meets Florida residential energy code.
6. All applications must be accompanied with two complete sets of architectural plans for approval.
This process may take up to seven days and you will be notified at the completion of this review
- Step 7 – Cashier (Second floor)
Upon payment of permit fee a permit will be issued.