So, you did it! You bought a vacant lot on Marco Island, and you are ready to build your dream home. You have found paradise, but now, what? Where do you begin?
According to Lisa Loewer, customer service supervisor for Marco Island Building Services, property owners usually start by finding the right home builder and design professional. The builder, designer and property owner put their heads together to create a preliminary design for the house.
After that, they pay the city’s Building Services Division a visit. “It starts here with an inquiry,” Loewer notes.
This is an important step that cannot be overlooked as a great deal of information is relayed to owners and builders during this early stage of the home building process. Take impact fees, which are fees imposed by local governments to pay for all or a portion of the costs of providing public services to a new home.
Loewer explains that impact fees on new construction vary for a number of reasons. First, impact fees take into consideration what someone is building and what, if anything, currently is located on a property. Property owners who demolish a structure may even be eligible for impact fee credits depending on what new structure will be built. Then, there is the relative size of a home and how must square footage is proposed under air versus under roof. Finally, city staff also researches the amount of impact fees previously paid for a piece of property.
In the end, the property owner ends up with a two-page estimate of what the cost of the impact fees will be for a custom-built dream home.
The next stop for property owners is the city’s Growth Management Division to research the history of a piece of land and to find out what types of deed restrictions govern its development. On Marco Island, property owners face a tangled web of deed restrictions — some managed by the city and some managed by the Marco Island Civic Association (MICA).
In 1986, the Deltona Corporation, as the original owner, subdivider and developer of Marco Island, assigned MICA all the subdivider’s rights to enforce the deed restrictions on the island. This assignment means that MICA is responsible to enforce the deed restrictions that are part of most of the property deeds on Marco Island.
While not every lot within the city limits of Marco falls under MICA’s watchful eye, Loewer says that she advises every property to check with MICA before building on their lot. “People do get surprised,” she notes.
Once these preliminary steps are completed, the property owner, builder and designer can begin the work of designing the house. When the plans are ready, though, it is back to City Hall to submit the plans for approval and to complete the initial building permit application. Property owners can access a checklist of the required plan review documents from the city’s web site at www.cityofmarcoisland.com. This checklist covers everything from permit application to site drainage plans to construction plans to a truss review statement.
While there is one main permit for the house, there are a number of accessory permits that must be pulled during the construction of the home, including sewer, pool, screen, gas, shutters and mitered glass. Roofing, plumbing, electrical and mechanical work is covered under the main permit.
The Building Services Division issues all permits per the Florida Building Code, which can be viewed at www.floridabuilding.org. All the forms and applications needed for the Building Services Division can be found at the Applications and Forms link on the front page of the city’s web site. Each permit application includes pertinent information about the permitting requirements for that type of permit.
There is work to be done before the permit is issued, though. There is a pre-inspection process for the construction site, in which the lot is checked for environmental issues, outfall pipes and other conditions in the area. Once the plans are approved, site pre-inspected and all of the required subcontractor paperwork is on file with the city — including license and insurance information — then the city will accept payment of the impact fees and issue the permit.
At that point, work can commence.
Throughout construction, a number of inspections must be performed by city inspectors to make certain the contractors are following the building code. Inspection requests are called in to an inspector’s voice mails prior to 7 AM on inspection day. An inspection request includes the following information: permit number, inspection type, job site address, return phone number and access instructions. Timed inspections are not generally available and need to be arranged directly with an inspector on a needs basis and as time permits. Inspection cards must be readily available onsite for the inspector to sign off.
To make permitting and inspections a bit easier, the city has created an online real time database of permit and inspection information dubbed the Citizen Access Portal: energov.cityofmarcoisland.com/CitizenAccess/Public/Main. Search by an address, and one can find out what permits have been pulled on a property. Permit holders can log in and do more, including digital permitting and requesting inspections and results.
The city also has implemented an e-mail permitting process. Licensed contractor need only contact the Building Services Division at 239-389-5059 or send an email to: email@example.com for more information.
The work is done. The inspections completed, and you are ready to move in — almost. Before that, the city must issue a Certificate of Completion or Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO worksheet is available on the city’s web site, outlining all of the steps necessary to obtaining the CO, such as having all inspections completed and in the correct order, all documents submitted and all fees paid.
“It let’s the contractor know everything that they need to know or do before they receive a CO,” Loewer says.
Once the CO has been issued, the city requirements have been fulfilled, and your dream home can be a reality. Welcome home!
Who You Gonna Call?
Following is a phone list of who to call for inspections during the home building process on Marco Island:
- Plumbing, Mechanical, Residential LP Gas, Irrigation and Solar Heating – 239- 389-5055
- Structural, Roofing, Signs, Fences – 239-389-5056
- Electric, Marine Electric, and Electric Signs – 239-389-5057
- Fire Sprinkler Systems, Fire Alarms, Fire Penetrations and Commercial Gas – 239-394-5405
- Right of Way inspections – 239-389-3929
Questions to Ask Prospective Home Builders
- Are you a licensed construction company?
- Is your company insured?
- Are references available, and may I speak to homeowners for whom you have already built homes?
- Based on the plans we have discussed, what are your cost estimates for the house?
- What is the timeline for completion?
- Will you handle permits and make sure that the house conforms to the codes in the area
- Do you use building materials that are suited to the climate in Florida?
- Can we see a copy of your standard contract, and does the contract cover all aspects of the project from design to warranty issues?
Top 10 Best Small Metro Areas for Homeownership in 2014
Last year, NerdWallet named the Naples-Marco Island Metropolitan Statistical Area among the top 10 best small metro areas for homeownership. The list was compiled based on three key elements: availability of homes, affordability of monthly homeowner costs and population growth. The Naples-Marco Island MSA ranked sixth
- Huntsville, Ala.
- Fort Wayne, Ind.
- Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway, S.C.
- Charleston, W.V.
- Ocala, Fla.
- Naples-Marco Island, Fla.
- Columbus, Ga.-Ala.
- Springfield, Mo.
- Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
- Wilmington, N.C.
Licensing and Insurance Information
Every construction trade in Collier County must to be licensed and insured. Following is a list of web sites where property owners can verify this information:
Collier County Contractor Licensing – www.colliergov.net/Index.aspx?page=3363
Construction Industry Licensing Board – www.myfloridalicense.com/Dbpr/pro/cilb/index.html
Electrical Contractor Licensing Board – www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/pro/elboard/index.html
Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation – www.myfloridacfo.com/division/WC/#.VNpedVr4BzQ
MyFloridaLicense.com – State of Florida Contractor Licensing Portal