Local Building Permit Application Process Becomes More Transparent

By Dallas Thiesen, FSPA Government Affairs Manager / dallas@FloridaPoolPro.com

Starting October 1, 2021, Florida’s County and Municipal building departments will be subject to new building permit application requirements which aim to make the process more transparent and easier to navigate for Florida contractors and homeowners. These changes are thanks to HB 1059, a House of Representatives Commerce Committee Bill, which was passed by the Florida State Legislature and approved by Governor DeSantis this year.

Under the provisions of HB 1059, Florida cities and counties that issue building permits are now required to list on the building department website all types of building permits issued in the jurisdiction and all attachments, drawings, or other requirements for each type of permit. This expands the earlier requirement of just the types of permits available in the jurisdiction to be listed. Requiring building departments to list all permit application attachments will help eliminate any “surprise” requirements during the building permit application process and reduce the number of requests for additional information after submitting an application.

If, however, there is a need for additional information on a building permit application, HB 1059 places new requirements and deadlines on building officials that will make the process more transparent and run more smoothly. If there is a request for additional information by a building official and the contractor responds with the requested information within 30 days, the building official must review the application for completeness and issue a letter indicating the application is complete or specifying with particularity any remaining deficiencies within 30 days of receiving the requested information. On the second request for additional information, the building official only has 10 days to issue a letter of completeness or deficiency after receiving the requested information. On the third request, the building official must offer a meeting to the permit applicant before the request is made and then must deem the application complete within 10 days of receiving the requested information and move the permit application on to plan review. These new requirements will help keep permit applications moving through the process and make month-long waits for the review of applications a rarity.

Additionally, HB 1059 requires Florida’s building officials to increase the functionality of their online services.  Florida counties and cities are now required to post and update the status of every received building permit application on the building department website until the permit is issued, allowing contractors and homeowners the ability to keep track of their permit applications. This is another move that adds transparency to the application process by making permit status information easily available. HB 1059 also clarifies the electronic application submission requirement.  Building departments now must be able to accept all applications, payments, attachments, or parts of the permit application electronically, expanding the earlier requirement that only completed applications must be accepted electronically. This will streamline the application process and make the process easier to track. 

HB 1059 is in part the result of a series of conversations the FSPA government relations team had with the staff of the Florida House of Representatives Commerce Committee in the lead-up to the 2021 legislative session. FSPA expressed your frustrations with the lack of consistency and lack of transparency in the application process. HB 1059 is a step in the right direction to reduce the complication of the building permitting process and make it easier for you to navigate and easier for your clients to understand.

If you have any questions about HB 1059 or any other government affairs issues please reach out to FSPA Government Affairs Manager Dallas Thiesen at Dallas@FloridaPoolPro.com or at 941-952-9293.