When are plans necessary?

Plans are required for all structural improvements. The plans are used to calculate the cost of the job, get estimates from any contractors or subcontractors, show details in legal documents, and to obtain the necessary building permits.

Plans are generally not required for work such re-roofing, window and door replacements, sandblasting and plastering, replacing heating and air conditioning equipment, re-piping a dwelling, or small electrical, mechanical and plumbing jobs.

What kinds of plans are needed?

Plans should be drawn on 24-inch by 36-inch paper, using a scale of 1/4-inch per one foot for floor, foundation plans, sections and elevations, and at a scale of 1/8-inch per one foot for site or plot plans.  In most cases, two sets of plans and two sets of structural and energy calculations are required for submittal.

The minimum information required on building plans for most construction projects include:

  • The minimum information required on building plans for most construction projects include:A site plan showing the property dimensions, the legal description of the site, all existing structures on the site and the proposed new construction, distances between buildings and property lines, drainage patterns and electrical service locations.
  • A floor plan showing room locations, sizes and uses, doors, locations and sizes of windows, stairs, and the size and spacing of all structural members of the building.
  • Elevations illustrating the building's exterior appearance, architectural features, height and roof-top features.
  • Two structural sections showing the building foundation, floor systems, walls and roof as they would appear if the building were cut in two at a particular plane.
  • Electrical, mechanical and plumbing plans are required to show the location and sizes of equipment, wiring, switches and fixtures.
  • Handicap access plans are required for additions to and alterations of existing commercial buildings, as well as for new construction.
  • General information and specification sheet for materials workmanship.
  • Foundation plan showing the layout and dimension sizes, reinforcement and details of anchor bolts and so on.

Plans for smaller jobs requiring a permit should include the appropriate information from the above list for the planned project.

When must I hire an architect, engineer or surveyor?

By law, certain types, scope and complexity of construction will demand the services of licensed technical professionals. In general, a Florida licensed architect or engineer must be hired for designing new buildings and major remodels which require more extensive plans, calculations and technical reports such as:

  • Lot survey map, height survey and elevation certificate must be signed by a state-licensed surveyor or engineer.
  • Soils reports for a new building or major remodel.
  • Design calculations and details for the building's structural system.
  • Electrical systems design (generally on service of 400 amps or more).
  • Title 24 energy calculations on new buildings, additions or increases in electrical service