Code Enforcement Issues Settled Quickly And Affordably
Fortis Lamas Architects is a full service Architecture / Engineering / Construction firm that specializes in correcting Florida Building Codeviolations for commercial, industrial and residential real estate. Our team of licensed professionalscan produce drawings and calculations to help you meet all requirements for permits and stop work orders.
Am I Responsible For Unpermitted Work Done By The Previous Homeowner?
YES! The building code’s primary purpose is Life Safety of the owner and the public so violations must be corrected regardless of who performed or contracted the work. Even though the local Building Department may not have violations on file they may be cited upon inspection of sale or Certificate of Occupancy with the current owner becoming immediately responsible for the violations.
What If I Have An Open Code Violation? How Long Will It Take To Fix?
Resolving issues to help Real Estate closings and stop the clock on fines is one of our primary concerns! We can work with your realestate team to quickly solve any code issues that can hold up your closing…
Wind Load Calculations -ASCE 7 Notice Of Acceptance (N.O.A) Windows/Shutters And Doors.
All new windows, shutters, exterior doors and cladding require a Notice Of Acceptance (N.O.A) in order to comply with the Florida Residential Code (FRC R301.2). We can provide you with the wind load calculations as per ASCE-7 to assure that they will be accepted by your municipality.
Building and Zoning Violations 101
Homes in South Florida with building or zoning violations are much more common than you might guess. This does not necessarily mean that a person trying to sell such a house is unscrupulous or dishonest – in many cases, the seller simply has no ideas the violations exist. Be that as it may, you certainly do not want to purchase a home and then find out about potentially serious problems. We can remove all doubt, ensuring that your home is safe before you buy it!
Keep in mind that in most cases, you are out of luck if you buy a house with building or zoning violations. These types of problems are attached to the property; once you sign on the dotted line, you likely have little or no claim on the former owner to correct the problem. Fixing the violations, and the expense and hassle that process involves, will then be up to you. If you detect the problem before finalizing the purchase of the house, however, you can have the owner correct the problem at their expense before you buy.
The prevalence of building and zoning violations in this part of Florida is primarily due to the fact that many remodels are done without proper permits. Even homes that are built with all permits in order may sometimes never be properly inspected, leading to further problems.
What are Building and Zoning Violations?
A wide variety of different issues can be classified as code violations, from construction without the proper permits to a fence being too high in a residential neighborhood. Electrical, plumbing, structural and grading problems, just to name a few, can all be code violations. Both commercial and residential buildings can have code violations; our job is to properly identify them and then present a resolution that works for you.
You should be aware of three different basic categories of building and zoning violations.
1. Expired Permit: This violation refers to a permit being issued, but then expiring due to 180 days of inactivity. In most cases, this means that the structure never receives a final inspection. This was a common issue after Hurricane Andrew due to a lack of sufficient qualified inspectors, something property owners obviously could not control. Nonetheless, the fault in this situation still rests with the property owner.
2. Work without Permit: As you can probably guess, this violation simply refers to some type of improvement or change being made to a property without a proper permit.
3. Unsafe Structure: Finally, this violation is used to designate a property that could somehow cause harm to people. It is most common in buildings that were abandoned or somehow damaged, such as in a fire or natural disaster.
Do Violations Affect the Sale of a Property?
Building and zoning violations, in addition to any actual physical problems with a house they may indicate, can also impede the sales process for the property. They can lead to liens on the home, potentially delaying or even preventing the completion of the sale.
The most common types of projects for which permits must be requested include (but are not limited to):
• Structural Projects
• Condo Conversions, Multi-family Projects and Home Additions
• Pools, Fences, Shutters and Garages
• Roofing, Windows, Doors and Flooring Replacement
• Interior and Exterior Alterations and Renovations
• Demolition, Electrical, Plumbing or Mechanical Work
• Permits for Restaurants, Sidewalk Cafes and Nightclubs
• Violations, Red Tags and Special Master Issues
Pre-Home Sale Services We Offer Include:
• Microfilm Plan Recovery
• Code Violation Inspections (different from typical Home Inspection)
• House Elevations
• Property Research
• Recording of Legal Documents, Notice of Commencements, Warranty Deeds, etc.
What are the Steps in a Code Violation Case?
1. Complaint: A government employee or a private individual files a complaint about a particular property with the city or county in which it is located.
2. Warning: Also known as a “Notice of Violation,” in this step the owner of the property is informed of the issue and given 30 days to correct it.
3. Ticket/Citation: If the problem is not fixed within the allotted time, the owner is fined for non-compliance (generally about $500 per citation).
4. Recommendation to Record a Lien: If the owner does not pay the fine within a certain period of time, the process to record a lien on the property begins.
5. Lien Recorded: When the lien is officially recorded, the title becomes clouded and an additional charge (usually at least $10,000) is added to the original fine.
6. Order to Correct the Violation: The owner of the property is again directed to correct the problem.
7. Order to Demolish the Structure: If the owner still does not correct the issue, the local municipality will have the building demolished and will bill the owner for the cost.
After the process reaches the fifth step, it will be a matter of public record; this ensures that the title company will catch the issue and ensure that the sales process for the property continues no further until the issue is fixed. However, steps one through four can be a gray area that can cause massive headaches for buyers if they are not careful.
Illegal Additions – Overview
Before you buy a property, it is essential that you have an Illegal Additions Inspection performed. Many individuals shopping for a new home have no idea that an illegal addition is an open building permit violation. Insurance companies, lending institutions and many other organizations closely examine all aspects of a property and its title before working with you. For that reason, illegal additions can become a massive headache. Our job is to resolve the issue before it reaches that point.
Illegal Additions – Engineering Inspections
Our Florida licensed architectural team will review the property in question, study the situation and provide you with an accurate and detailed report about the results of their findings. Our job is to resolve illegal addition issues for you before they arise, ensuring that a firm solution is in place that will benefit you. Having this process completed can be extremely useful for you in a variety of situations, such as if you had to file an insurance claim.
Illegal Additions – Architectural Plans
From architectural design, to engineering modifications, to general contractor repairs or changes, our team sees you through from start to finish. After all, it is one thing to know that a problem exists; it is quite another to resolve the issue in its entirety. That is extremely important, and that is our job. We have over 30 years of experience in this area, we are affordable, and all work is fully guaranteed to meet or exceed Florida building code.
Unsafe Structures – What is an Unsafe Structure?
Quite a few different factors can contribute to determining whether a structure must be classified as unsafe. Properties that have been foreclosed upon tend to be at a particularly high risk of being unsafe. From plumbing and water lines to electrical wires and loadbearing walls, our licensed team will carefully check the building from foundation to roof. You will receive a detailed written report after the inspection that is admissible evidence in all courts of law.
Unsafe Structures – Unsafe Structures are Dangerous
Unsafe structures may not look obviously dangerous to the untrained eye, but that does not change the fact that they can be a major hazard to people living or working in them. It is not worth taking chances; after all, this is an even more important issue than the simple legal requirements to comply with area building codes. If you even suspect that your home or other building is unsafe, call us today.