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Building Services/Permits

Department Services

• Process permits and review plans for all remodeling and new construction.
• Conduct inspection for all permits issued upon client request.
• Enforce Codes to ensure public safety.
• Respond to citizen complaints regarding non-permitted structures and work.
• Share information on construction procedures and codes requirements.
• Manage and maintain records for permits issued within the City.
• Process all request for plats, rezoning, and special use permits.

Activities that Require a Building Permit

Permits are required when building, remodeling or enlarging a building. Permits are also required for other improvements to your property. Projects that are cosmetic, such as painting, wallpapering, carpeting, cabinets and trim work, etc., do not require permits. Additionally, permits are not required when replacing fixtures on existing wiring or plumbing.

The following is a list of projects for which a permit is required:

  • Construction of a building
    — Main building
    — Accessory building (including permanent and portable storage shed, gazebos, carports, patio covers).
  • Foundation repairs.
  • Additions to a building.
  • Remodeling of a building requiring the addition, replacement or removing of a wall, window or door.
  • Building or replacing a deck.
  • Electrical work. (Repair work such as replacing switches, plugs and ballasts is exempt).
  • Plumbing work.
  • Water heaters (replacing or adding).
  • Replacing water or sewer lines.
  • Irrigation systems.
  • Installing or replacing a furnace.
  • Installing or replacing an air conditioning system.
  • Building or replacing a fence.
  • Building or replacing a retaining wall over four feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall or the wall is supporting a surcharge.
  • Replacing a roof.
  • Installing or replacing a driveway approach (the portion of the drive connecting to the street).
  • Installing a circular driveway.
  • Building a swimming pool, repairing or filling in a ground pool.
  • Building a spa (a self-contained portable plug-in type spa requires an electrical permit and shall comply with safety glazing requirements).
  • Demolition of a building.
  • Security bars.

This is not an all-inclusive list. Please contact the City of Florence if you have further questions.

Tips on Selecting a Contractor

The City of Florence frequently receives complaints from disgruntled citizens because of their displeasure with the performance of their contractors. Over the years we have heard a multitude of problems and sad stories and based on these we offer the following suggestions:

  • ALWAYS get at least three bids on any project. The only exception to this should be for extremely minor, low-cost projects or emergency repairs made by trusted contractors.
  • NEVER pay for a project in advance. If a contractor asks for total payment up front, you should immediately look for another contractor. Small retainer fees or payments for materials already on the job site may be appropriate.
  • NEVER use a contractor who suggests that you not obtain required permits or inspections. More than likely, this contractor intends to do work contrary to established safety or structural standards. Additions or alterations to your home that are contrary to city ordinances can drastically affect any title transfers should you decide to sell your home.
    Be especially wary of contractors who suggest that you obtain permits for work that he is contracted to perform. If you obtain the permit for a contractor, and problems arise because of the work, the official permit record will show that you are the one that performed the work.
  • ALWAYS use only licensed contractors. Insist on seeing evidence of a current license. The following trades require a license:
    A. Electricians
    B. Plumbers
    C. Air Conditioning Contractors
    D. Irrigation Contractors
  • ALWAYS ask for a list of previous jobs similar to your proposed project. Ask for references AND check them.
  • It is a good idea to ask for the address of the contractor’s place of business. Take time to drive by his place of business. This will give you a good idea of his business practices.
  • It is a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau or any business organizations that relate to the contractor’s trade and check on any complaint records against the contractor.
  • Before your project begins, insist on seeing evidence that the contractor has obtained a permit. During the course of your project monitor your contractor’s inspection records. This procedure will protect you from being responsible for code violations that your contractor might commit on your property.
  • When the project is complete, ensure that the City’s Building Inspector has given final approval for the project.

NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list. It is merely suggestive and you should be sure to perform your own due diligence when working with contractors.