Does the Town participate in the National Flood Insurance Program?
The Town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Community Rating System (CRS) to secure discounts for owners on their insurance premiums and to maintain Town eligibility for disaster assistance. Compliance with minimum flood elevations and building material requirements contributes to a reduction in flood insurance rates town-wide. Due to wind and flood conditions, in coastal high-hazard areas, design criteria for construction must meet 150-mile per hour wind load. Structures must also be designed to withstand wave action from potential storm surge.
If “minor work” is part of a larger project, is a permit required?
"Minor Work” may require a building permit if the work is part of a greater project. Additionally, these items, as well as any other items determined by the Building Department to be minor work, may require a tracking permit if the building is deemed to be Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) non-compliant or the work to be performed is below Base Flood Elevation (BFE) as determined by the FEMA. Nothing contained herein shall relieve the property owner from compliance with the Florida Accessibility Code or other federal or state regulations.
If any person is in doubt whether the work to be performed falls within a “minor work” exception, that person shall request a binding interpretation from the Building Official. That person shall set forth, with specificity, the facts as to the extent and nature of the work on the Binding Interpretation of Minor Work Request Form provided by the Planning, Zoning and Building Department.
If I do not see a building permit posted, how can I tell if my neighbor has one?
You can call the Building Division at (941) 316-1966 to find out what permits have been approved for a given property. A Code Enforcement Officer will check the record, and will conduct a site visit if a permit is not on record. You can also check our online Permit Tracking to see if a permit has been issued.
My contractor’s business card states that he is, “LICENSED & INSURED” what does that mean?
A licensed contractor is required to have his license number on his business card. If a number is not listed on the card, he/she may have an occupational license and some required liability insurance, but not a contractor license, which is required to pull a permit.
What are the ‘minor work exemptions’ from building permit?
In 2004, the Town adopted a list of “minor work” that may be exempt from permitting. No person shall erect or construct, or proceed with the erection of any building or structure, nor repair, add to, enlarge, move, improve, alter, convert, extend, or demolish any building or structure in the Town, or cause the same to be done without first obtaining a building permit from the Building Official, unless the work is deemed to be “minor work”. “Minor Work” shall be defined as improvements or repairs with no change affecting the mechanical or technical code, and which has no structural affect whatsoever to the building or structure. Examples include, but are not limited to:
Wallpaper, wall coverings, or drywall finish
Drywall or sheetrock repair – up to 48-square feet
Floor and wall tile
Rugs, carpeting or other floor covering
Replacing cabinets, counter tops, and refacing
Replacement of existing fixtures or appliances – so long as there is no alteration or modification of existing wiring
Sink, dishwasher, or toilet replacement – so long as a licensed plumber performs the work
Replacement of existing hardware
Repair of broken glass (does not include replacement of window)
Driveways, decks and patios directly at-grade (must meet specific zoning criteria and must be approved by the Planning & Zoning Division as an exception)
Other items determined by the Building Official to be minor in accordance with Ordinance 04-12 and the Florida Building Code.
*When painting buildings with fire suppression systems and/or fire alarms, the owner shall notify the Fire Chief in accordance with Chapter 94 of this Code.
What can happen if I do not get the final inspection and my permit is revoked?
A code enforcement case will be generated and a “Notice of Violation” will follow. You will be given the opportunity to ask for a final inspection. If this does not occur in the allowed time frame, the case will be turned over to the Code Enforcement Board, where additional fines and fees will be incurred.
What hours can contractors work?
While there are no limitations that limit the hours a contractor can work, the Town does have a noise ordinance (Chapter 130, Section 130.02, Sound Regulations). To help preserve the lifestyle of Longboat Key, the Town Code prohibits disturbing noises before 8:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. every day. Longboat Key Police enforce this provision of the Code.
What is Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?
New homes are required to meet or exceed the minimum flood elevations (Base Flood Elevation (BFE)) established through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The elevation requirements vary depending on the location of the property and its elevation/zone.
What is required to finalize my permit with the Town?
It is important for your safety to make sure all permits have passed final inspection. Prior to completing your project, it is important to verify with your contractor and the Building Division that it has passed final inspection. Florida law requires that after 6-months of no inspections or contact from the contractor the permits goes into a revoked status.
When a permit is revoked additional fees are required to bring it back to an active status. Once brought back to an active status, inspections are scheduled and the work must pass the final inspection. This can be a problem for the homeowners if they are seasonal and have paid the contractors in full, prior to the final inspection. This becomes more of a problem if the work does not pass final inspection.
What is the "Freeboard Rule"?
"Freeboard Rule" is the space between the required Base Flood Elevation (B.F.E) per the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and the Town Ordinance required elevation. (The Town's Flood Control Ordinance is based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommended flood model for "freeboard").
New residential construction elevated one foot above B.F.E.
New non-residential, flood-proofed one foot above B.F.E
New residential and non-residential construction elevated three feet above B.F.E. or elevation required by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (F.D.E.P.), whichever is higher.
Coastal Construction Control Line
All flood zones on the seaward side of the Coastal Construction Control Line (C.C.C.L) will be required to be elevated three feet above B.F.E. or elevation required by F.D.E.P., whichever is higher.
In order to insure consistency and to improve implementation over multiple jurisdictions, the State of Florida elected to adopt a statewide building code. Construction in the Town of Longboat Key is under the Florida Statewide Building Code (Current Edition 2017, 6th Edition). The Florida Building Code outlines who can pull a permit and when a permit is required. In addition, it establishes the minimum standards by which buildings are to be designed and constructed.
When is a permit required?
A permit is required 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 is regulated by technical code. The Town has adopted an ordinance that allows “minor work” to be exempt from permitting (Ordinance 04-12: Building Permit Minor Exemptions).
Who can pull a permit?
Any owner or contractor may apply for a permit for work on a single-family detached home. Owners cannot pull permits in multi-family buildings (condominiums) or for rental or leased properties. If you hire a contractor in Florida, they must be licensed and insured. If you live in a single-family home, you may do your own work but still must file plans and obtain permits demonstrating all applicable code requirements are met. As a means of addressing unlicensed contractor fraud, the state enacted requirements requiring that owner-builders, who pull their own permits, wait one year before selling their homes. If you live in a condominium or similar multi-family structure, the state requires you to hire a licensed and insured contractor, providing an additional degree of protection to your neighbors.
Who Interprets the Statewide Building Code?
The Town, through Chapter 150, Buildings of the Town Code, has adopted the Florida Statewide Building Code. The Statewide Building Code designates the local Building Official as the authority for implementation and interpretation of the Town Code. The Florida Building Commission may hear appeals of the local Building Official's determination.
Who should I contact if I have any other permitting or building code questions?
Why are the requirements on the mainland different than on the island?
As a barrier island, the Town is designated, by the State of Florida, as a coastal high-hazard area. Flood and wind protection criteria are stricter than mainland criteria due to the physical nature of a barrier island. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) requires state permits for all structures west of the state's Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) - roughly all property west of Gulf of Mexico Drive. Redevelopment of property is often limited to renovation and maintenance with the goal of bringing all construction up to current codes to reduce risk and maintain the public health, safety and welfare.
Why does the final inspection matter?
The final inspection is important for many reasons. The most important is it insures that the work was done correctly and to code.
Why does the State of Florida have such strict requirements?
The Town is under the jurisdiction of the Florida Statewide Building Code. The Statewide Building Code was developed to correct poor construction quality and damage as a result of hurricanes such as Hurricane Andrew. The Florida Legislature and governor have enacted requirements for all communities to adopt and enforce standard building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and other specialty trade codes. Cities, towns and counties in Florida have little discretion when it comes to permitting and licensing requirements. The Building Official, inspectors, and plans examiners are all licensed through the state.
Why would my contractor ask me to pull a permit for the work that he will be doing?
A contractor may request the owner to obtain a permit if he does not have a license that will allow him to pull permits. It is for your protection to hire only licensed contractors. The Code Enforcement Officer works through a coordinated effort with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to identify and eliminate unlicensed activity. You can verify a contractor’s license and learn more about unlicensed activity by contacting the Code Enforcement Officer or at DBPR: Unlicensed Activity.