Do I really need a permit for this?
The answer, usually, is yes. Let’s talk about that.
A general rule of thumb is that if your project is adding a new structure or altering a current one, your municipality will require a permit for it.
Examples of this include: pool cages, screened enclosures, pergolas, insulated panel rooms, pet condos, and even lanai fill-ins.
The first few of these seem a little more obvious. If I’m building a new screened enclosure or pool cage, it feels like it makes sense to get a permit. It’s a completely new structure from the ground up. But, why do I have to get one for a lanai to be screened in?
Well, the short answer is that there is more required than you could even imagine, and a permit ensures that it is done correctly, legally, and, most importantly, safely.
When you fill - in a lanai, you actually have to follow zoning and development rules, and in most cases have an engineered drawing done to ensure that the structure will hold up to the weather ratings in your area.
If someone tells you that they can “get the job done today at half the price than everyone else”, RUN. I mean it. Run. Almost 100% of the time these people might be very skilled workers, but they are not contractors and they do not have a license to be doing what they are doing.
This means they aren't pulling permits; they aren’t getting engineered drawings, and they certainly aren’t licensed to build. So what does this mean for you? It means that the 50% discount you’re getting by using them, instead of someone else, is going to catch up to you.
When you have to pull a permit after the fact (& you will, if you ever want to sell your home or if someone reports you), the fees are doubled, and there's a good chance there will also be a fine.
Plus, if there is storm damage, like a hurricane, and your structure wasn’t permitted, your home owner’s insurance will likely deny any claims to repair it. And, that doesn’t go back to the person who built it; that burden rests squarely on your shoulders.
Please, if you are thinking about adding a new structure to your outdoor space, or thinking about screening in your lanai, make sure whoever you choose to do the job is a licensed contractor who will pull a permit & ensure it is built correctly.
When in doubt, call us or call your municipality.
Our number is: 352-272-9665
Minneola Office: (352) 394-3598, ext. 182
Groveland Office: 352-306-6436
Clermont Office: (352) 394-4083
Lake County Office: (352) 343-9653