Committed to continuously improving its efficiency and delivering unmatched city services, the City of Tampa’s Development and Growth Management Construction Services division has formed the Construction Activity Compliance Team.
The four-person team, which consists of a fraud investigator, two code enforcement officers, and one office support specialist, focuses on illegal construction activity, particularly involving unlicensed contractors who regularly break the law and leave homeowners with an oftentimes expensive and difficult problem to resolve.
Prior to the creation of this team, Code Enforcement had been tasked with investigating construction complaints, issuing Stop-Work Orders, and Notices of Violation, in addition to its expansive list of other duties. To streamline the process, Construction Services, supervised by Deputy Administrator Abbye Feeley and led by Chief Building Official JC Hudgison, worked to create a team that could focus solely on illegal construction activity and take on the responsibility of issuing Stop-Work orders and Notices of Violation.
"Unlicensed construction work can lead to serious problems, not just from a health and safety standpoint, but also a financial one," said Chief Building Official JC Hudgison. “Unpermitted work can saddle homeowners with big expenses bringing a property into compliance. With our new team and hotline, we hope to streamline communication with the community to identify and address illegal construction activity as quickly as possible."
Since 2019, the City has received nearly 2,000 complaints related to illegal construction activity. After observing a growing trend of contractors continuing to work on their projects, despite receiving a Stop-Work Order, the City has strengthened its enforcement process. Moving forward, Notices of Violation will be issued simultaneously with Stop-Work Orders. This begins the legal process and sets a deadline for the offender to come into compliance. If it is not completed by the deadline, a fine of up to $1,000 a day can be issued.
"I am proud of our Development and Growth Management team for identifying this issue and taking action to ensure we have the tools to tackle it as effectively as possible," said Mayor Jane Castor. "With home buyers eager to close on homes right now, it is imperative we enhance our procedures to protect them from possible compliance issues down the line, and we urge those looking to do work to follow the rules, just as so many countless others do. Our staff is always available to answer questions and help developers and homeowners navigate the permitting and inspection process."
A video introducing the Construction Compliance Team is provided above. To report illegal construction activity, please call (813) 274-3198.