Orange County Government’s Division of Building Safety Launches Economic Incentive to Reduce Permit Costs
In order to spur new construction activity and support efforts to assist our community with economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Orange County Government’s Division of Building Safety has launched a plan to supplement permit fees up to $10 million during a six-month period.
This will allow all applicants to obtain their permits at no cost, while ensuring all construction activity meets required approvals and inspections. This plan incentivizes new residential and commercial construction, alterations and repairs to move forward with reduced costs for all involved.
During times of economic hardship, unpermitted work generally increases. To better understand this impact, the Building Safety Division surveyed industry professionals in the community. The feedback received resulted in the development of an Economic Incentive Program which will utilize resources from the fee-payment reserves to offset permit fees. Under the leadership of Mayor Jerry L Demings, the Economic Incentive Program was unanimously approved by the Board of County Commissioners and is now being implemented.
With the permit fees covered by the Division of Building Safety, the risk of a spike in unpermitted work will be reduced. With hurricane season in mind, ensuring Florida Building Code compliance for all projects is extremely important.
Orange County also understands the affordable housing crisis is still affecting our residents. Now more than ever, this incentive will assist with reducing the costs for home building, to help create a community that works for everyone.
Orange County Government also understands the impacts from the pandemic have yet to be fully realized. Recent permitting and inspections data shows that development activity was at first adversely impacted, but has continued steadily to date. Even though this data is encouraging, input from our industry indicates the impact on sales and new starts has been dramatic. Often, the impact on permitting data due to reduced sales lags by several months. Projects already contracted proceeded, but new project sales have declined rapidly.
Source of Funding
The Division of Building Safety will supplement the permitting fees during this program using resources from its fee-payment reserves that have been maintained through many years of fiscal responsibility. This reserve fund is held separately from other County-maintained accounts. Fiscal strength in Orange County remains strong.
- The program period is up to six-months following institution, or up to $10 million in fees covered;
- The program will be a first-come, first-served basis;
- Incentives only apply to fees assessed by the Division of Building Safety for enforcing the Florida Building Code and does not cover Impact Fees, The Office of the Fire Marshal permitting and review fees, and other associated costs;
- No project will receive a benefit in excess of $100,000 to include all associated permits;
- Requests for permit extensions may be considered when all permit fees associated with the permit/project are paid in full in accordance with the adopted fee schedule by the applicant.
For more information on permitting and this Economic Incentive Program, please visit the Division of Building Safety homepage.