About Construction Projects in Tampa, FL
Building in Tampa is straightforward. The rules and processes set out by Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa are easy to follow. Simply follow the steps below, and your building project will soon be underway.
Almost all construction and renovation work in Tampa requires a permit. This includes:
- New buildings, additions, and remodeling
- New roofs or replacing roofs over 500 square feet
- Stucco or siding work over 500 square feet
- Altering buildings
- Residential accessory buildings and driveways over 150 square feet
- Wrecking of buildings
- Any gas work
- HVAC work
- Plumbing work
- Electrical work
- Tree removal or trimming
- Grade or fill work
- Site clearing greater than 500 square feet
The City of Tampa’s online permit system makes this process easy. You can apply online for permits, schedule and cancel inspections, check the status of projects, and pay fees.
Before applying for a permit, check if you need to send a plan for review first. Most building work needs a plan review except small renovations or minor plumbing, electrical or mechanical repairs. Visit the City of Tampa website for a full list of plan and permit fees.
Licensing of contractors takes place at either state level or local level. State-certified contractors can work anywhere in the state. Locally certified contractors can only work in their local area or in other areas where a reciprocity agreement is in place.
The following contractors need a license:
- Building and General
- Journeyman Plumber
- Journeyman Electrician
To get a license, you will need to take an exam. Exams are an open book unless otherwise specified. You must attain a score of 75 percent or more to receive your license.
Once you have a license, make sure to renew it every year. This is important, as it is illegal to work in Florida without a valid license.
Financial and Insurance Matters
To register as a contractor in Hillsborough County, you must present proof of the following insurance:
- Code Compliance Bond of $5,000 that specifies the contracting work you do
- General Liability Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Coverage
You’ll need these for new license applications as well as to renew licenses.
Business Tax Receipts
As a new contractor, you need to apply for business tax receipts from both Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa.
Proving Financial Stability
Florida law requires a construction business to show that they are financially responsible and stable. You should have no liens or judgments against your business. Ideally, you should have a FICO credit score of over 660. If below 660, you may present a licensing bond or letter of credit to prove financial responsibility.
Renting Building Equipment
Many builders in Tampa find that renting equipment is more convenient and often cheaper than owning equipment. A good equipment rental company offers well-maintained machinery. This saves you servicing and repair costs. Equipment like forklifts, boom lifts, manlifts, and scissor lifts are all available for hire; just to name a few.
Regulations apply to most types of building work in Tampa. However, the city makes the process easy. As long as contractors have the necessary credentials and permits, getting through it is painless. If you’re thinking of building or renovating your home, hire a contractor who can cut through the red tape with ease.