Stricter Building Codes Save Florida from Hurricane Irma

Almost a year later, after Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, it’s business as usual for commercial real estate brokers on the ground.

“We had downed trees and inconvenient electrical outages, but other than some roof damage, it turned out to be pretty much a non-event on the commercial side,” says John Dunphy, senior vice president in the Tampa office of real estate services firm JLL. “We escaped the worst of it, but the farther you get into Polk County and in Orlando and Jacksonville the story may be different.”

Despite major flooding near coastal areas of Miami, most businesses reopened within a couple days. However, some couldn’t help but notice the extent of water damage done to buildings causing faulty electrical components. The notion was there: Should the city of Miami take into account post-Andrew building code restrictions?


According to NREI, “The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, which is tracking insurance claim data, reported 514,840 claims for residential property damage and 25,214 claims from commercial property owners, with estimated insured losses as of Sept. 27, at nearly $3.9 billion. Florida Legislature estimated overall initial damage at $25 billion to $40 billion.”

Office Building Up to Code in Miami
Miami Office Buildings

Office buildings proved fairly resilient against the storm. CBRE reported that about one-third of the 240 office buildings it manages throughout the state were affected by electrical outages, but the buildings reopened when power was restored. Less than 5 percent of the properties sustained water and wind damage. Most of the damage involved fallen trees, landscaping issues and minor leaks from roofs and around windows.

Mama Tried – Downtown Miami

One takeaway is that Irma’s effect in longevity in terms of how long it would take to recuperate, falls short compared to that of Hurricane Andrew and its victims. Setting, maintaining, and improving high building code standards gives way to prevention in the future. For example, recently opened and local business’, like Mama Tried in Downtown Miami, now have a fair shot in terms of sustaining their business property in the long run. With the assurance that construction companies and general contractors alike, need to maintain those standards, Mama Tried can scratch that off their “worry” list for the 2018 hurricane season.

After Hurricane Andrew, Florida enacted stricter building standards in 1992. The design enforcements are to ensure that buildings could withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 175mph: The Florida building code is the accepted benchmark for hurricane protection nationally.

According to NREI, “When Irma hit Miami’s Brickell Central Business District, for example, a high tide exacerbated the storm surge, but upgraded building standards ensured complete drainage by the next day. Businesses in the area reopened within three days.”

Upcoming Events in 2018- [B]architects Social and more!

Welcome to Summer 2018

It is our pleasure to have served and continue serving all of South Florida. Fix My Code Violation has been busy organizing various activities for 2018 like our FREE [B]architects Social networking event. Please follow our blog to stay up to date with‘s events and other news. Alternatively, you may also follow us on social media:

Instagram: @FixMyCodeViolation

FaceBook: @FixMyCodeViolation

The [B]architects Social is ready to present you with the first of many events: The [B]architects Social. We have partnered with local bar, The Bend Miami and local architecture firm, Studio Lamas Architects, to bring you a night of fun and industry insights. This monthly opportunity to network will surely bring forth many opportunities in the months to come. Studio Lamas is the mind behind some of Miami’s best lounges and bars like Lagniappe House, E11EVEN and Biscayne Bay Brewing Company.

The [B]architects Social is FREE and will be held every third Thursday of the month. Our next event will be held August, 16, 2018 at 5:00pm. The [B]architects social is located at The Bend Liquor Lounge. It is our hope to start the event as a networking opportunity and grow the community from there. For right now, will host the event and provide complimentary food and drink on a per person basis.

How to Attend:

Events though August

This year will be attending seminars and classes throughout Miami. These events consist of real-estate, house flipping and more… It is our goal to be as transparent as possible and inform the public of what it takes to deal with Florida Building Code from start to finish.

You can find us at:

Real Estate Social Hour: July 26 at 6pm.

Than Merrill Seminar: July 27th at 12pm.

Real Estate Social Hour: August 9th at 6pm.

[B]architects Social: August 16th at 5pm.

To keep up to date with all upcoming real estate and related industry events in Miami, sign up for our newsletters:

Our Team

We would like to acknowledge the people who contribute much to the success of during these events.  The 2018 [B]architect’s time, ideas, and talent should be recognized. Thank you to: Marketing Director, Geneviv Morales; Business Manager, Alison Sauri; and Secretary, Ana Souto.

These  team members will attend every event and will be your point of contact for any and all information needed regarding any of our sponsors and

Lastly, we want to take a moment to celebrate our CEO, Orlando Lamas, R.A., NCARB, LEED A.P., for achieving an A rating (94) on This score represents excellent levels of work experience, customer satisfaction, licensing/certifications, and more! Congratulations!


The Code Violation Specialists

Hilarious building fails from experts on how to fix a code violation in Miami

It can be a daunting task when finding out how to fix a code violation in Miami. It got the team here at Fix my Code Violation thinking… has anyone ever been in such a rush to correct their Florida building code violation that they are willing to hire just about anyone? If you’ve ever been annoyed when you see a slightly misplaced floor tile or ever moved into a new home only to find out that someone installed the power plugs in unreachable places, then the answer is YES! Here at Fix my Code Violation we have seen some major infractions when it comes to violating Florida building codes. As resident experts on how to fix a code violation in Miami, we’ve seen a wide-range of issues from entire home tear downs to minor violations like installing a window that is too small. This brought on quite the discussion here with the team at Fix My Code Violation.

As contractors, architects and building code violation specialists it’s easy to forget not everyone thinks like us. The fix my code violation team members decided to take some time to find out if there was anything truly out of the ordinary out there. Yikes! What we found goes passed building code violations… it’s just plain wrong! After seeing these poorly finished construction decisions you’ll second guess hiring just anyone to complete your next project.

1) That spark you felt could have been chemistry… or it’s the electrical wiring in the shower… who knows?

Building Fails







2) Haven’t’ you heard? Stairs are the new “steampunk.”

The New Steampunk









3) If you build it diagonally no one will notice. It’s a #facts.

Move along. There’s nothing to see here.







4) This contractor hated paperwork. So he wished it, so shall it be.

I need those reports by 2pm, Jim.









5)  Not sure where this is but they must hate bikers. Maybe they just haven’t heard of fines or violations? Or possibly even tickets?

What do we want? No more bikers. When do we want it? Now!










6) There’s are a lot of restrictions and a lot of Florida building code violations when it comes to fencing. That’s probably why this family decided to play it safe and get rid of the fence all together.

Safety first.








7) Stairway to FINES! My favorite song.

Stairs to nowhere. Makes perfect sense.









8) I-spy just got a little bit harder.

Make sure no one finds the girl scout cookies. Challenge accepted!








9) This, ladies and gentleman, is what a proper building with zero building code violations looks like.

Ten points for creativity.

DERM Permits and Plans for Grease Trap

Miami-Dade Grease trap

We provide plans, permits and installation of grease traps for all commercial uses in South Florida.  New grease trap requirements ranging from new sampling ports to revised pump out frequency have made most existing grease traps non-compliant. This leaves most business owners in need of repairs to be compliant and avoid hefty fines from DERM. In Miami-Dade county, DERM (Department of Environmental Resource Management) requires all existing grease traps meet their latest requirements. All grease traps must be brought up to their standards for new grease discharge devices.

In the past few months our office has been flooded with calls regarding DERM code violations and fines for non-compliant grease traps.  FOG (Fats, Oil and Grease) Operating Permits and GDO (Grease Discharge  Permit numbers are being denied because their existing or proposed grease traps do not meet the new requirements. A Miami-Dade County grease trap is now also required to be 99% efficient. This new efficiency narrows down the options in manufacturers we are able to specify and install in our typical restaurant and bar projects. However, even with the stricter requirements we have been able to correct over a dozen DERM violations related to grease traps in just the first quarter of 2018 alone… proving that theres a solution to every problem.

Who Needs a Grease Trap in Miami-Dade County?

According to Miami-Dade County DERM “any non-residential facility that handles, prepares or processes food (hot or cold), discharges or has the potential to discharge FOG to the public sanitary sewer system requires a FOG Discharge Control (FOG) operating permit. These facilities are categorized as FOG generators. Typical examples of FOG generators include restaurants, cafeterias, supermarkets, schools, banquet halls and food courts at malls or shopping centers.

FOG Discharge Control operating permits are renewed annually and are non-transferable. Notification shall be provided to the department upon sale, relocation, or legal transfer of the permitted facility. New business owners are required to secure a new FOG operating permit.”

In most cases existing grease traps have to be removed and replaced, however, we are able to do it successfully while your business is running if needed through after hour installations. The process requires plans and a permit for your local building department and a licensed Architect, General contractor and plumber. has all of these  professionals in-house. We are able to provide the fastest and most affordable solution to help stop the DERM fines and potential building department code violations for non-compliance. Our turn-key services relieve you from all the work and let you focus on your business and not the fines. If you’d like more information on DERM requirements or your particular needs, please call our office at (305) 222-7784 for a free consultation or schedule a free site visit.

DERM grease trap
grease trap installation completion for Miami-Dade DERM grease trap permit
Miami DERM grease trap permit
grease trap concrete cover and steel rebar installation for Miami-Dade DERM grease trap permit
Miami-Dade DERM grease trap permit plumbing
grease trap plumbing rough-in for Miami-Dade DERM permit

Legalizing a Garage Conversion Code Violation in Florida

garage conversion code violation

As Architects and Florida General Contractors one of the most common building code violations we come across in Florida are illegally converted garages. When looking to add rooms most homeowners turn to converting their existing garage into bedrooms and living spaces. Its typically the fastest and most affordable solution but most homeowners fail to pull a permit for the garage conversion. They miss key upgrades required to the garage space as required by the Florida Building Code (FBC), triggering immediate building code violations . The most common code violation we see in garage conversions is failure to raise the floor slab to minimum FEMA standards. In Florida, FEMA requires that the floor height in living spaces be above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) set for the area to prevent flooding during heavy rains and hurricanes. Garage floors are set much lower that living space floors to allow access to cars, however, any equipment that is set in the garage is required to be at minimum FEMA floor height.

With these garage conversion building code violations you typically see a lot of flooding and mold issues immediately after hurricanes and heavy rainy seasons. The mold can quickly spread from the damp and damaged drywall to fiberglass ducts from the airborne  Floor finishes are also one of the first casualties from constant flooding related to this code violation.

A tell tale sign that a garage was converted without a permit is that you have to step down to the converted space. It is possible that once surveyed the garage floor will be at an acceptable height but those situations are far and few in between. In these types of building code violations the floor usually has to be raised to the same level of the existing residence. If the converted garage has a bathroom that requires legalization then the raising of the floor will require most of the plumbing to be redone. Toilets, sinks and tubs can be extended but shower pans can’t be saved and are typically demolished and rebuilt.

Once the garage is converted from a service space to living space there are other Florida Building Code Requirements that are triggered such as electrical outlet spacing, lighting, A/C requirements and sizing for the additional space. If a separate A/C unit was not installed for the converted garage then the odds are the existing unit will not meet the current calculations as per current code. In most cases its more affordable to install a dedicated A/C unit than change out the main unit for the home.The fire Department will also enforce egress requirements as per NFPA 101 that may require installing a window with a larger clearance once opened. specializes in Plans, Permits and Construction to cure Florida building code violations. Our in-house architects and contractors legalized hundreds of building code violations having to do with garage conversions and can save you time and money when dealing with the process. Call us today at (305) 222-7784 for a free site visit and stop the clock on the fines.

What work requires a Miami Building Permit

Don’t forget your permit! Avoid residental violations and fines by following our simple guidelines for obtaining a Building permit for construction.

Don’t start work without your permit card!

Pavers /Slabs /Driveways


Patios and Covered Terraces

Pergolas and Trellises

Repair/Replacement of Windows/Doors


Screen Enclosures


Pools, Spas and Decks

Outdoor/Summer Kitchens

Additions and Interior Renovations (e.g. moving walls, electrical outlets, kitchen and bathroom remodels, etc.)

Roofing Repairs and Reroof

Electrical minor repairs and modifications

A/C Unit Change out

Minor Plumbing repairs and modifications

And more

How To Search For Miami Code Violations

Finding building code violations on properties in Miami can be a nightmare if you take the trip to the Miami-Dade Building Department and wait the lines. However, there is a much faster and easier way to find code violations on-line.  Miami-Dade Building Department On-line Code Violation Search offers complete information on building permits, code violations and variances on their website. This is an invaluable tool when doing your due diligence of realestate sales and investments so you you are well aware of what you are getting into. Once you arrive on the building code violation search page, you will have three types of miami-Dade code violation categories to search from: 1) Unsafe Structures 2) Work Without Permit  and 3) Expired Permits. If you are not sure of what type of violation the property may have then you should search all three categories just to be sure that you’re in the clear.

code violation search
miami building code violation search on-line form

The building code violation search form is very particular on how you enter the address so make sure to enter the address in the exact format that the first three query boxes show in the example. Entering additional information in any of the code violation search query boxes won’t give you an error message but instead will only show up as no results, giving you the idea that there are no open building code violations on the property and this could lead to a false negative on your search. You can also search the property for building code violations using the owner’s name, however, this can also lead to errors since middle names, omitted initials or misspellings commonly occur when staff is entering dataThe safest way to conduct the building code violation search is by using the property’s folio number since its its the most complete and precise information that is attached to the property.

Searching the miami-Dade building department for code violations is just one of the steps in your due diligence when trying to purchase a property in Miami-Dade, our in-house staff of architects and contractors at Fix My Code Violation can walk you through more in-depth steps in assuring that you are aware of all outstanding issues and building code violations on the property.  We are licensed Florida Architects and licensed Florida General contractors that can help you resolve any issues on your property to help avoid liens and fines. Call us today for a free consultation or site visit (305) 222-7784 .

Miami-Dade County Code Enforcement Issues Citations Following Hurricane Irma

Miami-Dade Code Enforcement officers hit the streets just hours after hurricane Irma swept through South Florida looking for building code violations resulting from the storm. As homeowners began clean up efforts of downed trees and fences they also had to deal with warnings issued by the Miami-Dade Code Enforcement Officers. These warnings were mostly issued to repair fallen or damaged fences with permits and the department’s concern was clear (identify hazards) but their timing could not be worse. received several calls from frustrated homeowners that received warnings from the county even before they got their power back. 

“Celso Perez was helping his neighbors remove some fallen trees blocking their street when a miami-Dade county code enforcer rolled up and issued him a safety notice for having a downed fence. “I laughed,” Perez tells WSVN-TV. “I thought he was kidding. ‘You are kidding right? We just had a hurricane six hours ago.

It wasn’t a joke. The official told Perez that the downed fence—which encloses a pool—was a safety hazard, and that if it wasn’t fixed by the time he returned, Perez would be hit with a fine. The official then hung the safety citation on the portion of Perez’s fence that remained standing, leaving him and his neighbors to finish clearing the debris from their street.

According to WSVN, the county has handed out 680 safety notices for downed pool barriers, and another 177 electrical hazard safety notices.
From what can be gleaned from the WSVN story and from county code enforcement procedures, these safety notices appear to be just warnings, meaning no fines have been handed out as of yet. Reason tried to confirm this with the county as well, but was again rebuffed.
As Perez said of the day he got his ticket, “All the stores were closed. It’s not like I can go to Home Depot and find some temporary barrier.”

Even if he could, it’s quite possible that Perez and the other people handed citations might have more pressing things to do right after a hurricane than bring their homes back up to code. You know: clearing the streets, seeking medical attention, checking in on family members, trying to find food. You might think the county would have higher priorities too, like getting the lights back on for Miami-Dade’s 16,510 homes and businesses still without power.

County officials don’t see it that way. “It is important that we reach residents in the immediate aftermath of the storm,” one tells WSVN, “because that is when conditions are most dangerous, and taking steps to protect life is a critical part of the recovery process.”

Hurricane Repairs Require Permits in Miami

permits required for hurricane repairs

YES, you need a Miami building permit to repair hurricane Irma damage. Don’t get taken advantage of by unlicensed, unqualified and uninsured contractors who tell you otherwise. As all South Floridians scramble to pick up the mess left behind by hurricane Irma we will no doubt encounter the fly-by-night contractors who’s rates suddenly tripled and are eager to slap the repairs together and move on to their next victims. Florida Building Codes (FBC) apply to all repairs and construction work done in Florida. is one of the fully licensed architecture and construction firms that continues to help Floridians during these times and helps them avoid building code violations.

Miami Building departments are currently overwhelmed as they deal with restoration of public utility and services but as soon as conditions return to normal they will refocus on code compliance and turn to issuing building code violations to ensure safety issues are resolved. Catostraphic events do not suspend or bypass Florida Building Codes, the requirement to use licenses and insured professionals or perform all necessary inspections. Safety still remains the building department’s main focus and they inevitably always resume their efforts to applying the Florida Building Code.

Miami building permits are required to repair roofs, change out doors, repair and replace fences and most all other hurricane damage. Beware of contractors who insist that building permits are not required. Call your local Miami building department with your scope of work to get an exact answer on needing a Miami building permit, DO NOT leave it up to your contractor to decide. If hurricane repair work is done without a permit and a Miami building department later issues a building code violation (even years later) it is the property owners responsibility and if your contractor is unlicensed then you’ll have little luck getting them to legalize the work.

We are a full service architecture and construction firm that can help you with all your hurricane repairs while obtaining all the necessary permits to keep your property in compliance. Unpermitted work can bring up issues years down the line when you decide to sell your property. Twenty five years after Hurricane Andrew hit Miami, we are still resolving unpermitted work by unlicensed contractors that holds up realestate sales at the closing table. Call our office today for a free site visit and consultation at 305-222-7784 or visit our website for answers to frequent questions