The City of Key West, Florida

The Southernmost City in th Continental United States

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Building Department FAQs

Where is the Building Department located?
The Building Department is located at 1300 White Street, Key West, FL 33040

What are the Building Department's business hours?
Building Department Permit Counter: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M-F

Why do I need a Building Permit?
Not only is it the law, but building permits can also protect you. With a building permit you get the advice of reviewers and inspectors who will approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the Building Code, zoning laws and the approved plans. Additionally, a building permit is required to show compliance with sanitary, safety and welfare concerns including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures.

Working without a permit, when one is required, can result in fines and can cause problems when you sell your home. And, probably more importantly, you lose the assurance that the work you're paying for is built to code, a minimum standard for safety.

What types of work need a Building Permit?
It is unlawful to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, remove or demolish any building structure, or any part thereof; Or any equipment, device or facility therein or thereon; Or to change the Occupancy of a building from one use Group to another requiring greater strength, means of egress, fire and sanitary provisions; Or to change to an unauthorized or prohibited use; Or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by this code; Without first having filed application and obtained a permit thereof, from the Building Official, validated by payment thereof. EXCEPTION: No permit shall be required, in this or any of the following sections, for general maintenance or repairs which to not change the occupancy, and the value of which does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) in labor and material as determined by the Building Official.

The most common types of projects that permits are requested for are listed below:

  • Single Family Residence And Duplex
  • One and two-story additions
  • Minor repairs, remodeling and alterations
  • Accessory structures such as sheds, gazebos
  • Carports
  • Pools and spas
  • Fences and walls
  • Decks (wood or concrete)
  • Patios
  • Screened porch, patios, enclosures
  • Awnings and canopy
  • Rehabilitation of existing structures
Commercial
  • Minor repairs, remodeling and alterations
  • Fences
  • Interior and exterior signs
  • Paving and drainage
  • Landscaping
    Change of owner or contractor
    Awnings and canopies

How do I get a building permit?
Building permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work. Only licensed contractors or owner/builder may obtain a permit. Owner/builder permits are limited to the construction of one single-family residence or duplex.

What are the requirements for owner builders?
Owner-builder applicants making application for a building permit should be advised of the following provisions and requirements that apply to owner-builders:

Proof of Ownership Prior to a building permit being issued to you, your must submit proof of ownership of the land concerned in the application in a form of a recorded deed, showing you own the property, or a copy of mortgage or warranty deed of the land, showing you are obligated to purchase the property or a statement to contain legal description of property and indicate property is in your name. Legal description and name on document of proof must correspond to the name and legal description on the application. Disclosure Statement State law requires construction to be done by a licensed contractor. Your have applied for a permit under and exemption to that law. The exemption allows you, as the owner of your property, to act as your own contractor even though you do not have a license. You must supervise the construction yourself. Your may build or improve a one-family or two-family residence or a farm outbuilding. You may also build or improve a commercial building at cost of $25,000.00 or less. The building must be done for your own use or occupancy. It may not be built for sale or lease. If you sell or lease more than one building you have built yourself within one (1) year after the construction is complete, the law will presume that you built it for sale or lease, which is a violation of this exemption. You may not hire an unlicensed person as your contractor. Your construction must be done according to building codes and zoning regulations. It is your responsibility to make sure that people employed by you have licenses required by state law and by county or municipal licensing ordinances. Insurance: You should be advised that your day labor employees cause any damage to persons or property, or if any of your day labor employees are injured on the job, you are liable. Your regular home insurance policy ordinarily does not cover this type of liability. Withholding Taxes, Etc.: You should be advised to investigate your responsibility for withholding Social Security, Federal and State Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Federal Income Taxes from the wages of employees working for you on the proposed construction, and for making returns thereof to the proper agencies. Restrictions for Owner-Builders: An owner-builder, subject to the foregoing provisions and requirements, is limited to constructing one single family or duplex residence each year for his/her own or erecting a one story building of not more than 500 square feet for commercial or industrial use, or adding a first floor addition of not more than 500 square feet to a commercial or industrial building; or maintenance or repairs and non-structural alterations, not to exceed $5,000.00 on any building which he/she owners or leases. Notice: Separate permits required for Electrical, Plumbing, Roofing, and Mechanical work.

What is a Demolition Permit?
There are three types of demolitions permit namely:

A. Full Demolition Permit: All full demolition permits are pulled by persons who are general contractors (State or County) Specialty license in demolition or engineering.

B. Partial Demolition Permit: All requirements for full demolition permit applies except it is not necessary to notify the Utility companies. The contractor shall get his electrical and plumbing contractors to pull proper permits for disconnections. When the disconnection has already been done, the contractor shall state in writing that he is responsible for all disconnections. Where the demolition involves removal of any structural members, a shoring plan must be submitted. The shoring plan has to demonstrate how the remaining portion of the building will be supported. The plans have to be signed & sealed by a professional engineer registered in the State of Florida.

C. Exploratory Demolition Permit: This permit can only be issued to the contractor with the approval of the Building Official. It is issued for exploratory inspection to help the Contractor, Architect and/or Engineer determine the extent of the deterioration of the building.

How Do I Get an Electrical Permit?
Electrical permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work. Only licensed contractors or owner/builder may obtain a permit. Owner/builder permits are limited to the construction of one single-family residence or duplex of which the owner resides.

Why Do I Need a Mechanical Permit ?
Not only is it the law, but mechanical permits can also protect you. With a mechanical permit you get the advice of reviewers and inspectors who will approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the Standard Mechanical Code, zoning laws and the approved plans. Additionally, a mechanical permit is required to show compliance with sanitary, safety and welfare concerns including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures.

Working without a permit, when one is required, can result in fines and can cause problems when you sell your home. And, probably more importantly, you lose the assurance that the work you're paying for is built to code, a minimum standard for safety.

How Do I Get a Mechanical Permit ?
Mechanical permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work. Only licensed contractors or owner/builder may obtain a permit. Owner/builder permits are limited to the construction of one single-family residence or duplex.

Why Do I Need a Plumbing Permit ?
Not only is it the law, but plumbing permits can also protect you. With a plumbing permit you get the advice of reviewers and inspectors who will approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the Standard Plumbing Code, zoning laws and the approved plans. Additionally, a plumbing permit is required to show compliance with sanitary, safety and welfare concerns including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures.
 
Working without a permit, when one is required, can result in fines and can cause problems when you sell your home. And, probably more importantly, you lose the assurance that the work you're paying for is built to code, a minimum standard for safety.
 
How Do I Get a Plumbing Permit?
Plumbing permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work. Only licensed contractors or owner/builder may obtain a permit. Owner/builder permits are limited to the construction of one single-family residence or duplex.
 
What is an Inspection?
Once a permit has been issued and work has begun, inspections are performed by the City's inspectors at intervals designated by the Building Code. Simply stated, an inspection is required prior to concealing any part of the construction. The building permit that is issued will indicate the types of work that requires inspections and when to call for one. This permit must be displayed on the job site. The contractor should call the Building Department when the stage of work indicated on the building permit has been completed.
 
Failure to comply with the inspection requirements could result in a request to dismantle any work done beyond the inspection stage. In order to prevent delays in performing inspections, we ask your assurance that properly installed and visible address appear on buildings.
 
When Is a Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) Required?
A Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) is required for all new construction, additions or when a change of use is desired.
 
When is a Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) Issued?
A Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) can be issued by the Building Department after all applicable final inspections are approved; all required documents filed with the Building Department and all applicable fees are paid. Other required fees are Solid Waste accounts and establishment of Sewer accounts. These accounts are established with the Revenue Department of The City of Key West.
 
For further information on required documents, please call the Building Department at 305-809-3956.