Welp, today was quite an evolution. Brian went down to the permit office to confirm that Hollywood, FL does indeed have the strictest building permit office EVER. You are required to get a permit to do the simplest of tasks, including but not limited to: moving an electrical outlet or light switch, putting up a fence, taking down a non-structural interior wall….basically anything at all. To get most of the permits, you are required to have a licensed architect or structural engineer create building plans showing the current state of the home and what it will look like after the changes. This is even required for a freaking fence installation!
This may not sound that bad, after all you want to make sure everything is done properly and this process ensures that. That is until you hear that it costs between $3500-$8,000 to have said building plans created by a licensed architect or structural engineer. Then, you have to pay for every single permit required for each task you plan on doing, and each permit can take 2-6 weeks to even be approved and granted to you!
So, my first thought was to try to do the renovations piece by piece and to not leave clues or red flags around the property so that the code enforcement people would be unaware of the work being done. Of course we would still have everything done up to code so we would not be in trouble down the road. I hate, and I mean HATE following stupid (and costly) rules just for the sake of following rules. Then we found out that the code enforcement headquarters is literally across the street from our house. They start and end their day at the Fire Station/ Beach Safety Office across from us. And one of them stopped by to meet us today and see what we are working on.
So, we are putting everything on hold and getting the freaking $3800 building plans made (~2 weeks) and filing for permits, and dealing with all of the fun of inspections and fees and bureaucratic red tape. Takeaway message: The shows I LOVE like Property Brothers and Fixer Upper must have some sort of magic spell that they cast in order to get major renovations complete in 6-8 weeks. Our original expectations were WAY WAY off on the timeline. We are trying to work through the steps of denial now 🙂
At least we have these views to enjoy in the meantime: