According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2022, Florida was the fastest growing state for the first time since 1957. As you might expect, Tampa has seen its fair share of that growth, and it’s expected to continue for the foreseeable future. And while this means there are great opportunities for businesses to grow or expand in the Tampa area, getting Tampa building permits remains a significant challenge for most commercial projects. To give you a good starting point, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to the process of acquiring commercial building permits in Tampa.

Key Players in Tampa

When you’re ready to apply for commercial building permits in Tampa, you’ll be primarily dealing with the Construction Services Division. They are part of the Development & Growth Management Department in Florida and oversee all building permit applications and inspections.

The Steps to Getting Tampa Building Permits for Commercial Projects

Step 1: Prepare the Necessary Paperwork

As with any commercial project, the first step is one of the most crucial: you’ll need to gather all of the necessary paperwork. The specifics of this will depend on your project—new construction may require something different than a renovation project, for example—and it’s important to consult with your Scout permit expediter to be sure you have everything you need.

In Tampa, most construction projects require:

  • Site Plans
  • Topographical Survey
  • Building Plans
  • Mechanical, Electrical, & Plumbing Plans
  • Energy Calculations

If your project meets certain height and/or capacity standards, you may also need additional threshold documents. Your Scout permit expediter will be able to tell you whether these apply to your project.

Step 2: Fill Out the Application

Next, you’ll need to fill out a building permit application. In Tampa, this can be done online but you will need to register for an account on their Accella Citizen Access Portal before you can access the application.

Again, due to the varied requirements depending on project scope, please consult with your Scout expediter to confirm that your application is complete and accurate. Applications that are missing even a minor element, such as a signature or date, can get stuck on someone’s desk for days or even months. At Scout, we diligently keep track of all your applications to ensure they are where they need to be.

Step 3: Submit Your Application via Tampa’s Online Portal

Next, you’ll need to submit your application within the Accella Citizen Access Portal. One important thing to note here is that in the state of Florida, your plans will need to have 3rd party verifiable digital seals. In essence, these are online equivalents of a notarized signature.

Permit expediters from Scout cannot take care of this step for you; it must be done by the leading architect or contractor. Make sure to consult the link above to ensure your plans will be accepted. Plans without this seal will not be accepted for review.

Step 4: Review and Resubmittal

We’ve reached the part of the process that normally takes the longest: initial review and resubmittal. Remember that the initial review time can vary based on a variety of factors, including project size, type, and scope. You may also experience longer review times if the city has a high volume of applications at the time that you submit yours. On average, you can expect the initial review for Tampa building permits to take around 4 weeks. But this is highly subject to change.

It’s also important to note that the initial review is rarely the only one you’ll need. No matter how accurate your application is, most projects come back with comments from the city. You’ll need to address these comments and resubmit for a second review.

Step 5: Permit Approval and Issuance

Finally, once all comments have been addressed and your application is approved, it’s time for your permits to be issued! Once you’re notified that your application has passed the review process, you’ll be able to download your permits from the online portal.

Tampa Building Permits FAQs

Q: Which building codes are in place in Tampa?

Information regarding Florida Building Codes can be found in their online database. In addition, you’ll also need to make sure your project adheres to any flood mitigation regulations and other codes that might apply. The experts at Scout can help you determine which are relevant for you.

Q: What fees will apply to my project?

The Tampa government website has a long list of fee schedules available to view online. Again, going through them is outside the scope of this article, but your Scout permit expediter can help you determine which will apply to your project.

Expedite Your Commercial Tampa Building Permits by Partnering Scout Services

At Scout Services, we’ve been expediting permits for commercial projects for decades. As nationwide expediters, we’ve worked in thousands of municipalities across the nation, including Tampa and other locations throughout Florida. Our years of experience has allowed us to build up industry connections with officials throughout the U.S. And, because we specialize in working with commercial projects, we have the know-how to keep your project on schedule.

Are you looking for a partner to help acquire your Tampa building permits? Get in touch with us today and we can get started within 24 hours.