How the Governor’s Emergency Orders Will Affect Building Permits and Inspections

On March 9, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-52, which declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. The order allows for the tolling of certain permits and in some instances up to an additional six months beyond the tolled period.

Overview – § 252.363(1)(a), Florida Statutes

This order allows for the extension of certain permits and authorizations for the duration of the emergency declaration, and for up to six months in addition to the tolled period. Written requests must be submitted to the authorizing governmental agency within the approved number of days for appropriate application as set forth within Section 252.363, Florida Statutes. Permit extensions may apply to:

  • building permits;
  • a development order issued by a local government, which includes a wide variety of local government approvals that permit development activities;
  • a permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to Part IV of chapter 373, Florida Statutes; and,
  • a Development of Regional Impact’s (DRI’s) build-out date—Section 380.06(7)(c), Florida Statutes.

Working with Local Building Departments and Inspectors

Local building departments and inspectors are following best practices protocol to facilitate needed permits and inspections on existing projects. Some of their issued guidelines include limiting in-office department visits and encouraging online services, allowing individuals to work from home, following CDC guidelines and inquiring about COVID-19 related symptoms prior to arriving at any on-site inspection.

In order to work with these departments and inspectors in a manner that best aligns with their current working environment, the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) has issued the following job site best practices:

  1. Conduct all morning jobsite meetings outside the trailer, with only key personnel, keeping six feet distance per CDC guidelines
  2. Provide and require use of hand sanitizer before entering a job site and leaving a job site
  3. Ramp up cleaning and disinfecting of all offsite and jobsite office facilities
  4. Practice social distancing per CDC guidelines and work in teams of no more than 10 people in one area
  5. Encourage those who feel sick to stay at home
  6. Supply jobsites with additional sanitation stations
  7. When working on an occupied dwelling, ask the occupant if he/she is sick and if they are, postpone work
  8. Supervisors should talk to employees to ascertain if any are ill or exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19
  9. Post additional signage at jobsites that restrict entrance to any individuals who have, among other things, been asked to self-quarantine or been diagnosed with COVID-19, have traveled outside North America in the last 14 days, have experienced potential exposure or have experienced the recent onset of any illness-related symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • Erik F. Szabo

    Erik F. Szabo is a partner in the Orlando office of Shutts & Bowen LLP, where he is a member of the Construction Litigation Practice Group. Erik is Florida Bar Board Certified in Construction Law.

    Erik has represented individuals and ...

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