It is quite common to find residential and commercial building code violations in Florida. There are hundreds of statutes, and sometimes property owners don’t take the right steps to get permits for their projects.
When they sell off the property, the permit and fines’ responsibility shifts to the buyer, and many buyers land in trouble this way.
When you have a residential and commercial property in Florida, you should know your responsibilities regarding Building Codes and potential violations. These codes primarily exist to ensure that residential and commercial structures are safe for their inhabitants. In this article, learn the most common commercial regulation expectations and the violations that result when unmet.
1) ADA Handicap Violations
The ADA ensures that building environments are accessible and accommodative of people with disabilities. The requirements ensure that all individuals can use or access these buildings with minimal inconvenience regardless of ability.
ADA standards apply to areas of commercial facilities and public accommodation. If non-compliant, you could be looking at hefty fines – $55,000 – $75,000 for first violations and double for second violations. You also create legal liability that opens you up for litigation on the grounds of discrimination against persons with disabilities, among others
Some of these requirements include:
- Installing accessible door hardware
- Upgrading company or public restrooms with wheelchair-accessible facilities
- Accessible parking spaces
- Wider door frames to allow wheelchairs
- Adjusting water fountain heights to be accessible by wheelchair
- Including wheelchair ramps
- Replacing problematic flooring/floors that impede mobility
- Grab bars and railings in appropriate locations
- Counter heights and furniture arrangements that reduce barriers to service
For a more comprehensive description, the ADA has a complete list of regulations detailing commercial buildings’ requirements.
2) Sidewalk Dining and Displays
You can only have outside dining areas for hotels and restaurants after you have received the right zoning variances. You also need a special seasonal permit for seasonal displays or variance permits for permanent outside displays for shops selling merchandise.
These displays should consider the safety of disabled persons and children in strollers. They should not impede the emergency exit from the building. Usually, the building owner obtains a zoning variance to build extra-wide walkways around the building. You can find more information on the Miami-Dade County Codes.
3) Zoning Violations
Zoning violations are usually due to complaints regarding commercial business locations that exceed the permissions granted them under their Certificate of Use.
Simply put, you get a zoning violation when you do more with your building than the intention of the original purpose/permission granted.
Other zoning violations include:
- Expired permits – permits for alterations that have been inactive for 180 days or more, meaning that a final inspection was not carried out
- Work without permits – any alterations on the property without appropriate permits
- Unsafe structure – buildings that pose a threat to human safety, e.g., abandoned buildings, non-inspected constructions, or fire/water-damaged buildings
You can also get zoning violations for illegal use of a home, lot upkeep, illegal signs, graffiti or vandalism, illegal auto repairs, animal services violations (unvaccinated pet or pet off their leash), or illegal dumping/trash.
Building and zoning violations belong to the property and not the owner that caused them. Therefore, a person who buys property with such violations inherits them.
4) Lighting Violations
Building Codes require that all installed lights should be operable at all times, and a violation occurs when they are not. Unless that is, the owner shows steps have been taken to get a licensed electrical contractor to ensure that repairs comply with the codes.
You also need a permit for upgrades to a building’s exterior lighting to ensure that light doesn’t spill onto other residences or properties.
In Trouble? Contact Your Building Code Violation Experts for Help!
If your commercial property has one or more code violations, you can turn to our team at FixMyCodeViolation.com. As full-service firms of licensed architects and general contractors, we specialize in building plans and permits. We can help get your property back in compliance to ensure you don’t incur more fines and eliminate your liability.
Our six-step process will eliminate the entire hassle of multiple visits to the Building Department from discovery to final inspection. Contact us today if you need help to make your building compliant to Miami-Dade Building Codes.