Florida Building Code Now Requires 30 Year Recertification
The partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, which killed 98 residents, resulted in a change in structural inspection procedures. Although, there are thousands of rumors about the cause of this disaster, there is no doubt that structural integrity had a big responsibility in this situation. Consequently, the Florida Building Code now requires a 30 Year Recertification. Once a structure turns 30 years since built, recertification begins to be required.
Florida Building Code
The Florida Building Code (FBC) is the document containing all of the building design parameters of the State of Florida. The FBC was written to protect the public health and safety of Florida residents. The 7th Edition in 2020 was the latest one. These guidelines change occasionally depending on possible incidents and structural innovations.
The FBC has many important regulations for hurricane protection. For that reason, Miami-Dade County was the first county in Florida to certify the Hurricane Resistant Building Standard.
The Florida Building Code has a Commission with 25 representatives who are responsible of updating the code. They review and revise the FBC every three years. The representatives have to monitor the building code system. And finally, they determine refinements needed for improvement if necessary.
The Commission is assisted by specialized technical advisory groups. These include nine (9) Technical Advisory Committees, two (2) Program Oversight Committees, and several Workgroups.
Miami-Dade County has had a building recertification program since 1975, that requires all buildings that turn 40 years old to go through a structural and electrical inspection. This process must be performed by a licensed engineer or architect, to evaluate the structural and electrical integrity of a building. After the 40 Year Recertification, the buildings must go through this same inspection every 10 years. However, given the Champlain tragedy, there have been modifications done to the Florida Building Code, that we will mention throughout the article.
New requirements for the 30 Year Recertification
The new state law created new requirements for the inspections of buildings. From now on, inland buildings must go through a 30 Year Recertification and coastal buildings must be certified after 25 years. Thereafter, this evaluation must be executed in an interval of 10 years after the first recertification of the structure. This information can be found on the Miami-Dade County Code Section 8-11.
The single-family homes, duplexes, and buildings with 10 occupant load or less and 2,000 square feet or less do not qualify for the recertification process.
The new changes of the Miami-Dade County recertification program became effective on June 01, 2022, and has been enhanced to include inspections of additional building components and a more detailed look at existing buildings.
In the reformed law, you can find the exact details of each building and requirements that you need to know about the new 30 year recertification program. https://www.miamidade.gov/building/library/amended-miami-dade-ordinance.pdf
When a building is eligible for a 30 year recertification, the owners will be notified to initiate the process. Moreover, the city allows 90 days to submit the required reports.
If the city does not receive the recertification before the deadline, the property will be reported to the Unsafe Structures Department, and an enforcement process will be initiated. From here, the Department of Unsafe Buildings will oversee the recertification process, and will declare the building as unsafe. Furthermore, they will issue notices of violation, referring to the unsafe structures committee. Once the structure is declared unsafe, the board representatives will review the deadlines for orders to ensure compliance and repairs, and any other actions deemed necessary.
What are unsafe structures?
An unsafe structure is any structure, which is at risk of collapse and is found to be dangerous to the life, health or safety of the occupants. A structure can be anything from a building, to a component, to an excavation or hole.
Accordingly, The Unsafe Structures Board, reviews all the information about the buildings that were considered unsafe. Once a month they hear cases and review the notices of violation to evaluate the problems of the structures. They come up with solutions to avoid poor compliance and repairs, as well as execute orders to vacate, collections of enforcement costs, and any other action considered necessary so that said building does not fail the required recertification again.
When property owners or condominium associations can notice any irregular process in the integrity of the building structure they can request a structural engineer to double check that everything is working correctly, even if they have not received the official 30 Year Recertification notice.
Board of Rules and Appeals (BORA)
The Board of Rules and Appeals (BORA) was created as a building regulator with the task of overseeing consistent enforcement of building codes and maintaining appropriate building standards throughout Miami-Dade County. The Directors of BORA shall have exclusive jurisdiction over the registered and unincorporated territories of Miami-Dade County with respect to its powers, duties, and functions.
The Board is composed by a total of 19 members. These members include: 2 architects, 2 general contractors, 1 roofing contractor, 1 structural engineer, 1 mechanical engineer, 1 electrical engineer, 1 mechanical master or mechanical contractor, 2 representatives of the fire services, 1 electrical master or electrical contractor, 1 plumbing master or plumbing contractor, and 6 administrative people. You can find all this information in the Miami-Dade Building Code Chapter 8.
The authorities of The Board go through an investigation into the enforcement code and hold hearings where interested parties may appear and be heard. If there is evidence that any action is in the public interest, the Board has the authority to suspend or revoke any permit.
30 Year Recertification Inspection
This inspection determines the general structural condition of the building or a structure.
Consisting of parts, materials or components of a building or structure as reasonably possible endanger the safety of any such building or structure and/or carry fixed or planned traffic loads, and The general condition of its electrical system complies with building regulations.
However, a sufficient number of typical structural members should be reviewed to draw reasonable conclusions. In most cases, when done systematically, visual inspection is considered appropriate. Test methods and quantitative analysis are generally not required for five structural members or systems, except where visual inspection indicates a need or apparent loading conditions may be critical. Manual methods such as cutting and surface preparation of small areas of concrete for closer inspection are recommended to replace sampling and/or testing that only considers visual inspection insufficient.
Every report must contain a statement that the building structure is safe, unsafe, reliable, or having passed a restrictive interpretation of such statements is considered definitive.
According to the building inspection guidelines in Miami Dade County, it is suggested that each report must also include the following information indicating the actual scope of the report and limits of
liability. This paragraph may be used:
“As a routine matter, in order to avoid possible misunderstanding, nothing in this report should be construed directly or indirectly as a guarantee for any portion of the structure. To the best of my knowledge and ability, this report represents and accurate appraisal of the present condition of the building based upon careful evaluation of observed conditions, to the extent reasonably possible.”
If you need experts to do all your 30 Year Recertification do no hesitate to contact Eastern Engineering Group. We can help you with all the process and get a successful recertification.
Let us build your best moments.