why we get your permit faster than anyone

How We Get Your Permit Faster Than Anyone

It’s not every day that you have to deal with getting a screen enclosure or carport built.  Permits, engineering, siteplans, notice of commencement; for many the process seems confusing and nebulous.  While it is more to the process of getting a screen enclosure than simply setting one up, we’ve got it covered with experience spanning thousands of projects!  Permitted projects usually take anywhere from 8-12 weeks and require much a good bit behind the scenes work.  8-12 weeks is our general timeline for project administration (siteplan, drafting, engineering, and permitting).  Chances are you may have heard a much shorter timeline, like 3-4 weeks, from a another companies’ sales guy, but the unfortunate reality is many of them grossly round down (lie) the timeline just to get your deposit.  After that the excuse is usually “that was 3-4 weeks after permit”.  If you are ever promised anything less than 8-12 weeks, ask them to put it in writing (suddenly the timeline quickly gets realistic).

We won’t get your hopes up with a shorter, impossible timeline just to make a sale, but we will  tell you what we do to make the project go as smooth as possible and get your permit approved as quick as possible (usually always faster than the people who lie about the timeline)

Preface: before continuing on, you should read: Why It Takes So Long To Get A Permit


Lets Break It Down!

At Gulf Coast Aluminum we make things easy for the homeowner by first assigning you a dedicated project manager.  He/she will be your primary contact.  That means a few awesome things:

  • No projects getting lost in the ‘shuffle’.
  • Someone specifically responsible for getting your project approved.
  • None of the ‘buck passing’ when on the status of your permit.
  • Most importantly, you don’t have to do much.

Over the next several weeks your project manager will ensure that everything runs smoothly until your project is approved.  The first steps are procuring a site plan and engineering, in some cases you may also need a certified survey.  Since the engineering will need to match the site plan to the ‘T’ in most places, the siteplan is done first.  This usually involves a 3rd party surveying company, and punctual surveyors are hard to come-by.  We work with the 2 most reputable surveyors that we have found over thousands of projects, but surveyors are in hot demand, and can take up to 1 month.  While that’s happening your structure is pre-drafted.  Once the siteplan is complete, the siteplan and draft go on to engineering for review and approval.  Like surveyors, we only work with the best, but they can get bogged down as well and take a month or longer.  Once all of these are completed the permit can be applied for.

When it comes time to apply for your permit, we don’t just go down and fill out paper.   All the paperwork is done on a computer in our office to ensure all details are crystal clear and legible (no crappy handwriting).  Then, using our experience, we organize the papers (usually in a folder) in the particular way that we have come to know each building department is receptive to (to clarify organization method varies according to building department preference).  The easy to ready paper work, and specifically organized approach usually gets our permits some priority.

Things don’t stop once your permit is applied.  Over the years and projects, we’ve built up an internal contact list consisting of over 50+ names, personal emails, and phone numbers, of authority individuals within all of our local building departments.  We follow up with them persistently until our permits are issued.

Behind the scenes of all of this a state of the are project management program.  It tracks all of our projects through a 38 step approval process and notifies managers daily of events and tasks, and when something seems like it could go faster.


In Depth Look At New Screen Enclosure With Large Picture Window & Footers

Many of the new homes in built in Naples Florida, by general contractors such as Lennar, Centex, Stock Development, GL Homes and Mcgarvey Custom Homes, don’t come with a screen enclosure. With a nice pool, and paver deck, but no pool enclosure this home was no different. Our client found the pool unusable due to the natural south Florida bugs, and the constant need to clean out leaves and pine needle, so they gave us a call to get an enclosure.

During the estimate process we found out that the deck lacked a concrete footer that would make a suitable foundation. A concrete footer is simply a thick edge of concrete designed to support weight and anchor. You can learn more about concrete footers for screen enclosures here. Many pool decks have a perimeter footer which can suitably host an enclosure, however with pavers, the footing can be made tightly around the pool to save on concrete cost for the pool builder. In this case there was no footing in place, so we needed to add one. While possible it is a tedious process and can make the price of the enclosure go up. Essentially the builders save a penny, so you can spend a dollar later.

The home owner chose us to take on the project, based on our reputation and professionalism and we got under way. First thing first, we needed to pull up the existing pavers and put in a footing. In the picture below, you will see we have pull up the pavers and formed a perimeter footing. The formed footing area will be filled with concrete and then the pavers will be put back in place. NOTE: The very thing we did was get engineering and permits which can take a couple months. Permits and behind the scenes activities are covered by Anthony in this post.


Footing area formed for concrete; re-enforced with steel rebar.


Pavers pulled up until the footing is formed

Once the footer is poured, and the pavers are back in place, it is time for the enclosure. The customer opted to go with a ‘clearview’ or ‘picture window’ arrangement for their new pool enclosure as they had an awesome lake view. We primarily fabricated the enclosure at our shop, and brought the enclosure out for final construction. The end result was an enclosure precisely cut, that keep out the bugs and keeps the view in check. Another successful project was added done, and another happy customer added to our list.


Large carrier beam for wide open view.


Thats a wrap!  Another customer happy with their decision to chose Gulf Coast Aluminum

Project Overview: Deck Extension With Unique Flooring and Enclosure Replacement

Getting the chance to see projects that your neighbors are doing can be a delightful and inspiring opportunity.  While we have no shortage a fabulous screen enclosures that we have completed on our website, sometimes a narrative is needed to help you understand precisely what you are looking at!

On this project, a home owner requested the following scope of work.

  • Extend the pool deck by 2′  for more space behind the pool..
  • Refinish the deck with a nice conrete overlay to make it look new again.
  • Replace the existing enclosure with a shiny new one.

Scroll through the images below with captions of the process from start to finish.  Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Discuss This Project With The Author In The Comments Below!

The Foundation: What Goes on Beneath the Surface of Your Screen Enclosure

The Gulf Coast Aluminum Team strives to engineer all new construction with impeccable design and fortification. What makes my job great as a project manager is continuously finding new ways to design structures that add structural and aesthetic value to all unique site locations. When it comes to construction, a strong foundation will determine the overall quality of the new construction. There are generally 3 types of foundation types that I typically use when designing a new construction starting from most common to least common.

Concrete Slab – most commonly a 4” monolithic slab is poured and used as the structural foundation for a screen enclosure. This is very common for smaller lanai screen rooms and cage extensions. All of our concrete slabs utilize 3,000 Pump-mix fiber mesh that forms a bond that can withstand all county weight pressure standards.

Concrete slabs serve a two-fold purpose of functionality and aesthetics. Gulf Coast Aluminum has a wide array of aesthetic options such as paint and texture that can add significant appeal to the home.

Footers – We utilize footers for a multitude of foundational options when doing new constructions. 1st, footers are used when a larger cage is built and requires more foundational sturdiness, sometimes with or without a concrete pad. Sometimes there are higher wind and hurricane zone requirements with larger structural beams that need footers to help alleviate the appropriate zoning requirements.

Secondly, The process is designed with form boards typically creating an 8” x 8” footer spacing. The centers are reinforced with raised rebar keeping the footers as one cohesive unit. The 3,000-PSI pump mix is poured over the floating rebar forming to the concrete and steel as on cohesive unit. The fiber mesh concrete acts as a catalyst to form around the reinforced steel.


Lastly, footers not only serve a functional purpose but an aesthetic purpose as well. The footers are poured to withhold the structure while the center is compacted with sand and then pavers or tile will be laid on top.

Stem Wall – Stem walls are used when the job site requires extra fortification and/or when the job site is on a gradient slope. They are always used as assistance to a concrete pads and footers.









The stem wall is built with stacked concrete cell blocks with vertical reinforced rebar and horizontal reinforced rebar that ties into the footers above. Concrete is then poured deep into the cellblocks to fortify the wall and connect to the footers.

If a stem wall is not used the structure would be placed on compacted loose soil. This is extremely unsafe and the stem wall acts as a barrier to keep the compacted fill dirt in place. By lifting the wall off of the slope ground the risk of earth erosion and corrosion on the carrier wall is minimized.

Start To Finish — A Behind The Scenes look At A Screen Enclosure Project

As a project manager I see projects go from a simple idea and become a visually stunning new enclosure. A lot of customers don’t realize the amount of time and work that goes into everything in-between. This article is a project review showing the step-by-step process a typical new screen enclosure project consists of.  This article gives current or prospective clients an idea of what will transpire during your project with Gulf Coast Aluminum.

Beginning The Screen Enclosure Project

The Idea & Estimate (08/26/13): Customer called the Gulf Coast Aluminum office to schedule an estimate on building a new screen enclosure with matching pavers to his existing Lanai. The team gave customer a ballpark price using their TPI mapping software. Customer wanted to proceed with an in-person estimate with our project estimator. Our project estimator took accurate measurements and noted details for the screen enclosure including roof over hangs and options for matching pavers.

Agreement & Deposit (10/10/13): Customer signed agreement with a copy of Florida driver’s license. Standard deposit of $500 to start initial project. Customer also provided a boundary survey for permitting purposes. Projects are subject to survey charges if home-owner does not currently have one.

Submit Engineering Design (10/18/13): Project Manager drafted the layout of the structure and submitted it to our engineering firm.  All new construction projects from a lanai, carport, sunroom or pool cage.

Signed and Submitted NOC (10/21/13): Customer signed official notice of commencement with officially stamp from a licensed notary. Customer filed with the Lee County Clerk of Courts for a fee of $10.

Received Signed and Sealed Engineering (10/27/13): Received certified, signed, and sealed engineering meeting Florida Building Code (FBC) and Florida wind code specifications.

 Related Post: Corey’s 9 Details On Screen Enclosure Engineering








Submit Permit: (10/29/13) Each county is different for their permit application process. For this project a few things were required.

  • Signed and Sealed Engineering
  • Boundary Survey
  • Sketch of Site Plan
  • Recorded Notice of Commencement


Approved Permit (11/8/13): Permit was approved by the City of Bonita Springs. Project Manager attached permit package to Gulf Coast Aluminum sign in the front yard of customer’s house.


Site Prep & Deposit (11/14/13): As you have noticed the majority of the project timeline takes part before any tool has dug into the ground.  When we first break ground we require a 50% deposit on the project, which was collected the day of the site prep. At this point the Gulf Coast aluminum team went out and did a site prep for the job. They removed any small bushes that would be in the way of the new enclosure.

The crew capped the sprinkler system that would be below ground from the new enclosure.  The groundwork was all dug up in one day using a sod cutter and applying soil if necessary to level out the area.  This project required footers so the crew placed form boards around the perimeter and applied rebar along the middle sections as specified in the engineering


Lastly, the City of Bonita Springs requires a termite and bug spray on all foundations before the concrete spray. The bug treatment was applied and all was ready for the pre-concrete inspection.

Pre Inspection (11/18/13): An official City of Bonita Springs Building inspector went on site to inspect the area for a foundation inspection and ensure the work completed was on point before the project went on to the next phase of construction. The foundation inspection was approved.

Footers/ Concrete (11/25/13): This is one of the most important days of the project because there is really only one chance to pour concrete for footers and it must be a sunny day because rain will interfere with the setting process. A cement delivery truck arrived outside of the house and the GCA team ran a pumping hose along the side of the house to the site location in the back. The whole process took roughly 2 hours and the whole setting process takes a minimum of three days.

Installed Pavers (12/09/13): After the existing lanai pavers had been matched, our paver crew arrived on site. They then took two days to install the pavers to the existing pad around the concrete footers. The customer was pleased at the progress we had achieved and he really enjoyed seeing visual results at this stage of the project.

 Install Aluminum & Fasteners (12/12/13): Some sections of the enclosure that had been built in the shop were delivered on site along with materials for sections of the cage that needed to be built on site. The order itself consisted of various aluminum beams, Nylotec and Protec screws, and Phifer 18X14 screen.

Our team began assembling all of the aluminum posts and doors by installing them into the footer foundation. The screen enclosure aluminum frame was completely installed and ready for the final screening process.

Install Screen (12/13/13): The screening process is very fast to install. Typically our crews can rescreen an entire 2,000 square foot cage in one day. This project was no different and the screen was all installed making the project complete and ready for final inspection by the county.


Final Inspection (12/17/13): The project manager called in the final inspection and we passed with flying colors. The inspectors make sure that we abide to the engineering diagrams and follow the structural design exactly to code.

Final Payment & Customer Satisfaction (12/18/13): Our customer was very pleased with the speed and efficiency of his new screen enclosure and gave us full 10’s on his project survey. At this point he paid us the remainder of his balance and mentioned that he would certainly recommend us to any friends.