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

Permit Expediters in Miami

Miami building permit expediters

Miami building permit expediters are specialists that play a role in helping get building permits through the Miami Building Departments the first time. Building permit expediters get paid to understand the Florida Building Code and local building departments and advise the owner’s on how to get their building plans approved quickly and reduce fines. Building permit expediters will go to the building department and wait for their clients to see plan reviewers and discuss plan revisions with them. Building Permit Expediters also have extensive Planning experience and will be paid to represent their clients at zoning, architectural review and variance hearings. offers this service as part of of complete set of in-house services. We are licensed Architects and General contractors that can fully explain your project to the building departments – wether the plans were drawn by us or another architect / engineer.

The building permit expediter role is typically that of a facilitator between the building department plan reviewers and how they may interpret the Florida Building Code (FBC) and zoning codes and the owner. In our case, we are the permit expediter which represents a cost savings to the owner and helps keep their overhead costs down.  As building permit expediters we typically work with all the local Miami building departments and municipalities, counties and departments and forges positive working relationships with them. This gives us a unique “inside” perspective and the owner can then have helping to guide the costs and scope of the project. Having someone on your side who has a good relationship and familiarity with the plan reviewers, city of miami building officials and the process is the most effective way to ensure that permits are obtained quickly and code violation fines can then be mitigated.
Building permit expediter fees are typically part of of our overall contract when we are hired to produce plans but when working with existing plans we typically charge by the hour or by the project. We are multi-disciplined professionals that will do whatever it takes to get your plans processed and approved through the various Miami building departments. A good building permit expediter should have detailed knowledge in architecture / engineering and have experience in both zoning and building code interpretation.  Expediters work best when brought in early in the design process to help avoid common pitfalls when dealing with local zoning codes.

Unlike many building permit expediters that will tell you what they know about the Miami building department process, we can actually prove it to you through the more than 200 permits per year that our office processes and gets approved. Instead of waiting for all the drawings to be developed  before sitting down with the miami plan reviewers, we sit with key departments such as Zoning early in the design process to maximize time savings on your projects. They usually perform  research and due diligence on your property to fully understand the limitations and requirements of your project. When the plans need to address multiple disciplines in order to cure the code violation, we will request initial consultation with all the required departments prior to being work on your project.

Call us today at 305-222-7784 for a free consultation on expediting your permit process and our full line of in-house services. Visit our webpage at for more information of helping your close out you code violation today.

Closing Expired Permits in Miami and Orlando

Expired Permits in Miami are a much more common code violation than you think. Miami building departments keep good records of Expired Building Permits on properties but don’t always notify the homeowners, leaving a last minute scramble to close the expired permit before any new building permits are issued. On occasion the building department’s system will not catch the expired permits and allow a new permit to be issued or a building department official may allow prior expired permits to be closed out with the work of a new permit but these cases are rare. 

When a building permit expires it becomes a building code violation with the reasoning being that the work and site conditions were not properly inspected and can create unsafe conditions. We close hundreds of expired permits every year and from our experience these permits are left open for three typical reasons:    1) All rough inspections were passed but the contractor never called in the final inspection because there were disputes about payment between owner and contractor (and after a few years the contractor goes out of business).   2) The contractor fails an inspection and is rushed to finish the job so fails to do the repairs needed to pass inspection and just finishes the job on his own. Sometimes the property owner has knowledge of it and sometimes the contractor doesn’t inform the owner.   3)  Time lags on due to issues and the property gets sold or is lost to the bank if it’s residential OR tenant moves out of the commercial property/ goes out of business and the landlord is unaware of the open permits. 

   Regardless of why the building permits expire, they can become major issues down the line. Some building departments  in Miami can issue an Unsafe Structure bulding code violation and impose daily fines or liens on the property until the expired permits are closed out. Miami building departments can also put a block on the Contractor’s license until all the contractor’s expired permits have been closed out. In both cases the  building department will work with the interested party in closing out permits and assuring safe conditions for the users and the public. 

   As Florida Registered Architects and Florida General Contractors we renew your permits, schedule remaing inspections, finish any incomplete work and revise your drawings when needed to reflect the true conditions of your project. Often times we are able to close out expired permits with As-Built Certificates that we are able to produce in-house and saves you time and destructive work on your project. 

  We typically begin our process of closing out expired permits  by meeting with the building department to determine the last activity on your project and what’s left to complete it. Call us today at 305-222-7784 for a free site visit and consultation to find the fastest and most affordable solution to cure you expired permit building code violation or visit our website for more information. 

Electrical Fires  Due to Faulty Wiring

Although most homeowners and property managers consider the miami building department a nuisance  for issuing building code violations, they are simply enforcing rules in order to keep property owners safe. Our firm has witnessed devastating accidents that have caused severe damages and, in certain cases, total losses.

One of the most heart-wrenching cases came to us when a man lost his uninsured home due to a blazing fire that was sparked by poorly installed electrical wires. The gentleman admitted that the electrician that installed the electrical wiring was not a licensed electrician and he did the work without an electrical permit. It’s important that homeowners understand the amount of short-cuts and inadequate installations that are done when there is no quality assurance in construction.  In this case, the quality assurance is the building permit and city inspector. City Inspectors are highly knowledgeable individuals that are dedicated to ensuring that your construction project is completed in a safe manner. Building permits also help limit your liability after construction and after future property transfers.

Although it may cost you more, always hire licensed contractors and pull permits. Illegal additions will crumble, faulty electrical wiring will burn, inadequate A/C will cause mold, bad plumbing will cause floods and always cost you more in the long run. Consider the safety of your friends and family when undergoing a construction project. We are licensed architects and Florida General Contractors that focus only correcting Florida Building Code Violations and can help you resolve any violation. From Floor Plans to Building Permits to Construction, we are the only all in one shop in Florida that can help you resolve your building code violation. We never sub out any of the work so when you call our office you will always be dealing directly with licensed professionals. Before hiring a company to resolve your building code violation, always ask for their licenses and who exactly will be handling your case.

Call us today for a FREE on-site consultation 305-222-7784 or visit our website for more free information