Miami Condo Renovations: What You Need To Know

An outline from permits to building requirements for condo remodeling Miami

Are you considering condo remodeling in Miami? While renovating a condo is usually a more limited proposition than renovating a house, Sweeten offers guidelines on a few special considerations you’ll need to take into account. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

A brand new condo remodeling Miami

City of Miami Building Permits 

First, you will need to obtain the proper city and building approvals before beginning your project. Sweeten contractor Sandra, who is based in Miami, tells us, “The typical process takes about 4-8 weeks for a mid-sized project. [Usually,] the office management has pretty much the same requirements as the city.” You must apply first to the city, and once the city approves the permit, the information is submitted to the management office for the condo. The most common permits needed in condo renovations are required for floor soundproofing, plumbing, electrical, and framing.

Building Requirements 

In addition to obtaining city permits, many new building projects must also meet new building requirements. You must usually meet and comply with regulations around work hours, rubbish removal, gas installation, and more. Here’s a list of everything you should be mindful of during your project:

1) Working hours

These are more limited than in a free-standing house. Typically, buildings will permit workers access between the hours of 9AM – 4PM (occasionally, until 5pm) on weekdays. This translates into shorter working hours. As a result, a condo renovation may take longer than that same project in a house.

2) Prepping common areas

Buildings will require workers to protect the common lobby, hallways, and elevators. This needs to be done on a daily basis. Just note, this can keep the GC from working on the actual project on any given day. 

3) Rubbish removal

As in all large buildings, trash removal presents a bigger obstacle than in a free-standing house. As Miami-based Sweeten contractor Adrian explains, due to the more protracted process, “the cost of removing the trash is much higher in a condo than in a single-family home.” Sweeten contractor Sandra concurs: “We spend a lot of time doing this and do it on a daily basis. That means we need to reserve the elevator every time we have to bring it down. We cannot use the building dumpster, so we need to put it in our truck and haul it away.” 

4) Altering the slab

Since even the oldest Miami condos date only back to the ‘50s and ‘60s, they are largely concrete structures. Sweeten contractor Sandra explains, “It is possible but very complex. We would need a structural engineer affidavit and structural plans.” Management will likely be strict about this aspect of the renovation. After all, Altering the slab can affect the building’s other units. Technically, it is possible to trench or drill to lay plumbing or electrical. However, you would need to prove that you will not compromise the integrity of the slab. Oftentimes, buildings will require “scanning” (via a professional vendor) of the area where the proposed alteration will occur. Sweeten contractor Adrian estimates that it usually costs approximately $600 to scan 100-200 square feet. 

5) Gas

Most Miami condos feature electric stoves and dryers. That said, gas stoves are becoming slightly more common in new luxury buildings. Our Sweeten contractors do not know of buildings that permit gas dryers. If your condo unit does not currently have a washer/dryer in-unit, there’s a 50/50 chance that it’ll be permitted. Again, this is up to your management company’s rules. 

6) Windows

Due to the seasonal hurricanes, building codes require impact windows. Luckily, this isn’t the responsibility of the individual renovator because windows are typically a building-wide project. 

7) Fees

Lastly, expect the management company to charge you a fee for renovating your condo. Just note, these fees are paid in addition to any permit and approval charges. These fees aren’t unique to Miami, this is standard in condos across the U.S.

Now, you should have a sense of what to look out for in your Miami condo renovation. All that’s left is to get started! Read up on how long it takes for a typical apartment remodel to complete.

 Have a good handle on your budget. Our Miami home renovation cost guide can get you on your way.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.


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