Step 3: Building Classification

Once you determine that your location has the appropriate land use and zoning designations, the next step is to find out if the building where you want to house your business will require renovations to meet the building safety standards set by the Florida Building Code. The Building Code was established by the State to create minimum building requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare.

While it is not required, it is recommended that you work with an architect or contractor to assist in determining whether the intended space already meets these minimum requirements. Some types of businesses may require renovations to bring the building up to code.

Public health, safety and general welfare standards are maintained through:

  • Proper use of building materials
  • Regulating the maximum number of occupants allowed
  • Ensuring a minimum number of exits
  • Limiting the maximum distance to travel to safely exit the building in an emergency
  • Determining when a sprinkler system or fire alarm system is required  

The Building Code also sets the minimum requirements for lighting, ventilation, number and type of plumbing fixtures, (i.e. bathrooms and water fountains) and energy conservation measures. Minimum accessibility (ADA) standards are also outlined in the Building Code.

Many of the minimum requirements in the Building Code are based on the type of business that will occupy a building. The Building Code refers to this as the occupancy classifications(s) of the business. Once the occupancy classification is determined, the other portions of the code can be applied.  


Home-Based Businesses

A home-based businesses is an occupation conducted entirely in a home  by members of the family residing on the premises, which is clearly incidental to its use as a residence and does not change the residential character of the home.  Home occupations cannot occupy more than twenty (20) percent of the first floor area of the residence, exclusive of the area of any open porch or attached garage or similar space not suited or intended for occupancy as living quarters, nor conducted in any accessory building such as a detached garage, storage shed or other building that is accessory to the principle structure (dwelling unit).  Home occupations are subject to the following standards: 

  • No change in the outside appearance of the building or premises (including commercial vehicles), or other visible evidence of the conduct of such home occupation other than one (1) sign, not exceeding one (1) square foot in area, non-illuminated, mounted flat against the wall of the principal building at a position not more than two (2) feet distant from the main entrance to the residence is permitted.
  • Most home-based businesses are permitted in all residential zoning districts within the City of Maitland. However, many rules such as parking vehicles, signage and HOA restrictions apply to many residential areas. Businesses such as beauty shops, barber shops, band instrument or dance instruction, swimming instruction, art studio for group instruction, public dining facilities or tea rooms, antique or gift shops, photographic studios, fortune telling, outdoor repair, food processing, sale of antiques, retail sales, child care center or kindergarten and group instruction are not permitted as home occupations. However, individual instruction to one (1) person at a time is permitted. 
  • No traffic generated by such home occupation in greater volumes than would normally be expected in a residential neighborhood is permitted and any need for parking generated by the conduct of such home occupation must be met off the street and other than in required front yard.
  • No equipment or process is allowed to be used in such home occupation which creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or electrical interference detectable to the normal senses off the lot, if the occupation is conducted in a single-family residence, or outside the dwelling unit if conducted in other than a single-family residence. In the case of electrical interference, no equipment or process is allowed to be used which creates visual or audible interference in any radio or television receivers off the premises, or causes fluctuations in line voltage off the premises. The fabrication of articles such as are commonly classified under the terms arts and handicrafts may be deemed a home occupation, subject to the other terms and conditions of this definition.

If you have any questions on starting a home occupation, please contact our Zoning Administrator at (407) 539-6211.