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The Florida Statutes

The 2001 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
Regulation Of Trade, Commerce, Investments, And Solicitations
Chapter 553
Building Construction Standards
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Section 553.73, Florida Statutes 2001

1553.73  Florida Building Code.--

(1)(a)  The commission shall adopt, by rule pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54, the Florida Building Code which shall contain or incorporate by reference all laws and rules which pertain to and govern the design, construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, and demolition of public and private buildings, structures, and facilities and enforcement of such laws and rules, except as otherwise provided in this section.

(b)  The technical portions of the Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction shall be contained in their entirety in the Florida Building Code. The civil rights portions and the technical portions of the accessibility laws of this state shall remain as currently provided by law. Any revision or amendments to the Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction pursuant to part V shall be considered adopted by the commission as part of the Florida Building Code. Neither the commission nor any local government shall revise or amend any standard of the Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction except as provided for in part V.

(c)  The Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code shall be referenced in the Florida Building Code, but shall be adopted, modified, revised, or amended, interpreted, and maintained by the Department of Insurance by rule adopted pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54. The Florida Building Commission may not adopt a fire prevention or lifesafety code, and nothing in the Florida Building Code shall affect the statutory powers, duties, and responsibilities of any fire official or the Department of Insurance.

(d)  Conflicting requirements between the Florida Building Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code and Life Safety Code of the state established pursuant to ss. 633.022 and 633.025 shall be resolved by agreement between the commission and the State Fire Marshal in favor of the requirement that offers the greatest degree of lifesafety or alternatives that would provide an equivalent degree of lifesafety and an equivalent method of construction. If the commission and State Fire Marshal are unable to agree on a resolution, the question shall be referred to a mediator, mutually agreeable to both parties, to resolve the conflict in favor of the provision that offers the greatest lifesafety, or alternatives that would provide an equivalent degree of lifesafety and an equivalent method of construction.

(e)  Subject to the provisions of this act, responsibility for enforcement, interpretation, and regulation of the Florida Building Code shall be vested in a specified local board or agency, and the words "local government" and "local governing body" as used in this part shall be construed to refer exclusively to such local board or agency.

(2)  The Florida Building Code shall contain provisions or requirements for public and private buildings, structures, and facilities relative to structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, energy, and gas systems, existing buildings, historical buildings, manufactured buildings, elevators, coastal construction, lodging facilities, food sales and food service facilities, health care facilities, including assisted living facilities, adult day care facilities, and facilities for the control of radiation hazards, public or private educational facilities, swimming pools, and correctional facilities and enforcement of and compliance with such provisions or requirements. Further, the Florida Building Code must provide for uniform implementation of ss. 515.25, 515.27, and 515.29 by including standards and criteria for residential swimming pool barriers, pool covers, latching devices, door and window exit alarms, and other equipment required therein, which are consistent with the intent of s. 515.23. Technical provisions to be contained within the Florida Building Code are restricted to requirements related to the types of materials used and construction methods and standards employed in order to meet criteria specified in the Florida Building Code. Provisions relating to the personnel, supervision or training of personnel, or any other professional qualification requirements relating to contractors or their workforce may not be included within the Florida Building Code, and subsections (4), 2(5), and 3(6) are not to be construed to allow the inclusion of such provisions within the Florida Building Code by amendment. This restriction applies to both initial development and amendment of the Florida Building Code.

(3)  The commission shall select from available national or international model building codes, or other available building codes and standards currently recognized by the laws of this state, to form the foundation for the Florida Building Code. The commission may modify the selected model codes and standards as needed to accommodate the specific needs of this state. Standards or criteria referenced by the selected model codes shall be similarly incorporated by reference. If a referenced standard or criterion requires amplification or modification to be appropriate for use in this state, only the amplification or modification shall be specifically set forth in the Florida Building Code. The Florida Building Commission may approve technical amendments to the code after the amendments have been subject to the following conditions:

(a)  The proposed amendment has been published on the commission's website for a minimum of 45 days and all the associated documentation has been made available to any interested party before any consideration by any Technical Advisory Committee;

(b)  In order for a Technical Advisory Committee to make a favorable recommendation to the commission, the proposal must receive a three-fourths vote of the members present at the Technical Advisory Committee meeting and at least half of the regular members must be present in order to conduct a meeting;

(c)  After Technical Advisory Committee consideration and a recommendation for approval of any proposed amendment, the proposal must be published on the commission's website for not less than 45 days before any consideration by the commission; and

(d)  Any proposal may be modified by the commission based on public testimony and evidence from a public hearing held in accordance with chapter 120.

The commission shall incorporate within sections of the Florida Building Code provisions which address regional and local concerns and variations. The commission shall make every effort to minimize conflicts between the Florida Building Code, the Florida Fire Prevention Code, and the Life Safety Code.

(4)(a)  All entities authorized to enforce the Florida Building Code pursuant to s. 553.80 shall comply with applicable standards for issuance of mandatory certificates of occupancy, minimum types of inspections, and procedures for plans review and inspections as established by the commission by rule. Local governments may adopt amendments to the administrative provisions of the Florida Building Code, subject to the limitations of this paragraph. Local amendments shall be more stringent than the minimum standards described herein and shall be transmitted to the commission within 30 days after enactment. The local government shall make such amendments available to the general public in a usable format. The State Fire Marshal is responsible for establishing the standards and procedures required in this paragraph for governmental entities with respect to applying the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code.

(b)  Local governments may, subject to the limitations of this section, adopt amendments to the technical provisions of the Florida Building Code which apply solely within the jurisdiction of such government and which provide for more stringent requirements than those specified in the Florida Building Code, not more than once every 6 months, provided:

1.  The local governing body determines, following a public hearing which has been advertised in a newspaper of general circulation at least 10 days before the hearing, that there is a need to strengthen the requirements of the Florida Building Code. The determination must be based upon a review of local conditions by the local governing body, which review demonstrates that local conditions justify more stringent requirements than those specified in the Florida Building Code for the protection of life and property.

2.  Such additional requirements are not discriminatory against materials, products, or construction techniques of demonstrated capabilities.

3.  Such additional requirements may not introduce a new subject not addressed in the Florida Building Code.

4.  The enforcing agency shall make readily available, in a usable format, all amendments adopted pursuant to this section.

5.  Any amendment to the Florida Building Code shall be transmitted within 30 days by the adopting local government to the commission. The commission shall maintain copies of all such amendments in a format that is usable and obtainable by the public.

6.  Any amendment to the Florida Building Code adopted by a local government pursuant to this paragraph shall be effective only until the adoption by the commission of the new edition of the Florida Building Code every third year. At such time, the commission shall review such amendment for consistency with the criteria in 4paragraph (6)(a) and adopt such amendment as part of the Florida Building Code or rescind the amendment. The commission shall immediately notify the respective local government of the rescission of any amendment. After receiving such notice, the respective local government may readopt the rescinded amendment pursuant to the provisions of this paragraph.

7.  Each county and municipality desiring to make local technical amendments to the Florida Building Code shall by interlocal agreement establish a countywide compliance review board to review any amendment to the Florida Building Code, adopted by a local government within the county pursuant to this paragraph, that is challenged by any substantially affected party for purposes of determining the amendment's compliance with this paragraph. If the compliance review board determines such amendment is not in compliance with this paragraph, the compliance review board shall notify such local government of the noncompliance and that the amendment is invalid and unenforceable until the local government corrects the amendment to bring it into compliance. The local government may appeal the decision of the compliance review board to the commission, which shall conduct a hearing under chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure. If the compliance review board determines such amendment to be in compliance with this paragraph, any substantially affected party may appeal such determination to the commission, which shall conduct a hearing under chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure. Actions of the commission are subject to judicial review pursuant to s. 120.68. The compliance review board shall determine whether its decisions apply to a respective local jurisdiction or apply countywide.

8.  An amendment adopted under this paragraph shall include a fiscal impact statement which documents the costs and benefits of the proposed amendment. Criteria for the fiscal impact statement shall include the impact to local government relative to enforcement, the impact to property and building owners, as well as to industry, relative to the cost of compliance. The fiscal impact statement may not be used as a basis for challenging the amendment for compliance.

9.  In addition to subparagraphs 7. and 8., the commission may review any amendments adopted pursuant to this subsection and make nonbinding recommendations related to compliance of such amendments with this subsection.

(c)  Any amendment adopted by a local enforcing agency pursuant to this subsection shall not apply to state or school district owned buildings, manufactured buildings or factory-built school buildings approved by the commission, or prototype buildings approved pursuant to s. 553.77(6). The respective responsible entities shall consider the physical performance parameters substantiating such amendments when designing, specifying, and constructing such exempt buildings.

(5)  The initial adoption of, and any subsequent update or amendment to, the Florida Building Code by the commission is deemed adopted for use statewide without adoptions by local government. For a building permit for which an application is submitted prior to the effective date of the Florida Building Code, the state minimum building code in effect in the permitting jurisdiction on the date of the application governs the permitted work for the life of the permit and any extension granted to the permit.

(6)  The commission, by rule adopted pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54, shall update the Florida Building Code every 3 years. When updating the Florida Building Code, the commission shall consider changes made by the adopting entity of any selected model code for any model code incorporated into the Florida Building Code, and may subsequently adopt the new edition or successor of the model code or any part of such code, no sooner than 6 months after such model code has been adopted by the adopting organization, which may then be modified for this state as provided in this section, and shall further consider the commission's own interpretations, declaratory statements, appellate decisions, and approved statewide and local technical amendments. A change made by an institute or standards organization to any standard or criterion that is adopted by reference in the Florida Building Code does not become effective statewide until it has been adopted by the commission. Furthermore, the edition of the Florida Building Code which is in effect on the date of application for any permit authorized by the code governs the permitted work for the life of the permit and any extension granted to the permit. Any amendment to the Florida Building Code which is adopted upon a finding by the commission that the amendment is necessary to protect the public from immediate threat of harm takes effect immediately.

(7)(a)  The commission may approve technical amendments to the Florida Building Code once each year for statewide or regional application upon a finding that the amendment:

1.  Has a reasonable and substantial connection with the health, safety, and welfare of the general public.

2.  Strengthens or improves the Florida Building Code, or in the case of innovation or new technology, will provide equivalent or better products or methods or systems of construction.

3.  Does not discriminate against materials, products, methods, or systems of construction of demonstrated capabilities.

4.  Does not degrade the effectiveness of the Florida Building Code.

Furthermore, the Florida Building Commission may approve technical amendments to the code once each year to incorporate into the Florida Building Code its own interpretations of the code which are embodied in its opinions and declaratory statements. Amendments approved under this paragraph shall be adopted by rule pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54, after the amendments have been subjected to the provisions of subsection (3).

(b)  A proposed amendment shall include a fiscal impact statement which documents the costs and benefits of the proposed amendment. Criteria for the fiscal impact statement shall be established by rule by the commission and shall include the impact to local government relative to enforcement, the impact to property and building owners, as well as to industry, relative to the cost of compliance.

(c)  The commission may not approve any proposed amendment that does not accurately and completely address all requirements for amendment which are set forth in this section.

(8)  The following buildings, structures, and facilities are exempt from the Florida Building Code as provided by law, and any further exemptions shall be as determined by the Legislature and provided by law:

(a)  Buildings and structures specifically regulated and preempted by the Federal Government.

(b)  Railroads and ancillary facilities associated with the railroad.

(c)  Nonresidential farm buildings on farms.

(d)  Temporary buildings or sheds used exclusively for construction purposes.

(e)  Mobile homes used as temporary offices, except that the provisions of part V relating to accessibility by persons with disabilities shall apply to such mobile homes.

(f)  Those structures or facilities of electric utilities, as defined in s. 366.02, which are directly involved in the generation, transmission, or distribution of electricity.

(g)  Temporary sets, assemblies, or structures used in commercial motion picture or television production, or any sound-recording equipment used in such production, on or off the premises.

(h)  Storage sheds that are not designed for human habitation and that have a floor area of 720 square feet or less are not required to comply with the mandatory wind-borne-debris-impact standards of the Florida Building Code.

(i)  Chickees constructed by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida or the Seminole Tribe of Florida. As used in this paragraph, the term "chickee" means an open-sided wooden hut that has a thatched roof of palm or palmetto or other traditional materials, and that does not incorporate any electrical, plumbing, or other nonwood features.

With the exception of paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (f), in order to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the public, the Florida Building Commission may, by rule adopted pursuant to chapter 120, provide for exceptions to the broad categories of buildings exempted in this section, including exceptions for application of specific sections of the code or standards adopted therein. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall have exclusive authority to adopt by rule, pursuant to chapter 120, exceptions to nonresidential farm buildings exempted in paragraph (c) when reasonably necessary to preserve public health, safety, and welfare. The exceptions must be based upon specific criteria, such as under-roof floor area, aggregate electrical service capacity, HVAC system capacity, or other building requirements. Further, the commission may recommend to the Legislature additional categories of buildings, structures, or facilities which should be exempted from the Florida Building Code, to be provided by law.

(9)(a)  In the event of a conflict between the Florida Building Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code as applied to a specific project, the conflict shall be resolved by agreement between the local building code enforcement official and the local fire code enforcement official in favor of the requirement of the code which offers the greatest degree of lifesafety or alternatives which would provide an equivalent degree of lifesafety and an equivalent method of construction.

(b)  Any decision made by the local fire official and the local building official may be appealed to a local administrative board designated by the municipality, county, or special district having firesafety responsibilities. If the decision of the local fire official and the local building official is to apply the provisions of either the Florida Building Code or the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code, the board may not alter the decision unless the board determines that the application of such code is not reasonable. If the decision of the local fire official and the local building official is to adopt an alternative to the codes, the local administrative board shall give due regard to the decision rendered by the local officials and may modify that decision if the administrative board adopts a better alternative, taking into consideration all relevant circumstances. In any case in which the local administrative board adopts alternatives to the decision rendered by the local fire official and the local building official, such alternatives shall provide an equivalent degree of lifesafety and an equivalent method of construction as the decision rendered by the local officials.

(c)  If the local building official and the local fire official are unable to agree on a resolution of the conflict between the Florida Building Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code, the local administrative board shall resolve the conflict in favor of the code which offers the greatest degree of lifesafety or alternatives which would provide an equivalent degree of lifesafety and an equivalent method of construction.

(d)  All decisions of the local administrative board, or if none exists, the decisions of the local building official and the local fire official, are subject to review by a joint committee composed of members of the Florida Building Commission and the Fire Code Advisory Council. If the joint committee is unable to resolve conflicts between the codes as applied to a specific project, the matter shall be resolved pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1)(d).

(e)  The local administrative board shall, to the greatest extent possible, be composed of members with expertise in building construction and firesafety standards.

(f)  All decisions of the local building official and local fire official and all decisions of the administrative board shall be in writing and shall be binding upon all persons but shall not limit the authority of the State Fire Marshal or the Florida Building Commission pursuant to paragraph (1)(d) and ss. 663.01 and 633.161. Decisions of general application shall be indexed by building and fire code sections and shall be available for inspection during normal business hours.

(10)  Except within coastal building zones as defined in s. 161.54, specification standards developed by nationally recognized code promulgation organizations to determine compliance with engineering criteria of the Florida Building Code for wind load design shall not apply to one or two family dwellings which are two stories or less in height unless approved by the commission for use or unless expressly made subject to said standards and criteria by local ordinance adopted in accordance with the provisions of subsection (4).

(11)  The Florida Building Code does not apply to, and no code enforcement action shall be brought with respect to, zoning requirements, land use requirements, and owner specifications or programmatic requirements which do not pertain to and govern the design, construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of public or private buildings, structures, or facilities or to programmatic requirements that do not pertain to enforcement of the Florida Building Code. Additionally, a local code enforcement agency may not administer or enforce the Florida Building Code to prevent the siting of any publicly owned facility, including, but not limited to, correctional facilities, juvenile justice facilities, or state universities, community colleges, or public education facilities, as provided by law.

History.--s. 4, ch. 74-167; s. 3, ch. 75-85; s. 1, ch. 77-365; s. 225, ch. 79-400; s. 1, ch. 80-106; s. 6, ch. 82-197; s. 2, ch. 84-273; s. 1, ch. 85-97; s. 33, ch. 86-191; s. 1, ch. 87-287; s. 1, ch. 88-142; s. 1, ch. 89-369; s. 2, ch. 91-172; s. 41, ch. 91-220; s. 49, ch. 95-144; s. 1, ch. 97-177; ss. 39, 40, 65, ch. 98-287; s. 61, ch. 98-419; ss. 73, 74, 75, ch. 2000-141; s. 62, ch. 2000-154; ss. 25, 34, 35, 36, ch. 2001-186.

1Note.--

A.  Section 62(2), ch. 98-287, as amended by s. 107, ch. 2000-141, as amended by s. 38, ch. 2001-186, provides that: "[e]ffective January 1, 2002, all existing local technical amendments to any building code adopted by any local government, except for local ordinances setting forth administrative requirements which are not in conflict with the Florida Building Code, are repealed. Each local government may readopt such amendments pursuant to s. 553.73, Florida Statutes, provided such amendments comply with applicable provisions of the Florida Building Code."

B.  Section 41, ch. 2001-186, provides that:

"Effective upon this act becoming a law, the Building Construction Permitting and Inspection Task Force is hereby created to recommend a procedure by which the public could elect to engage an engineer or architect to perform plans review and inspection for the construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of real property, and the appropriate role of the local building official in such an alternative plans review and inspection procedure and in the resulting issuance of a building permit and certificate of occupancy.

"(1)  The task force shall be composed of 11 members, appointed as follows:

"(a)  The Building Officials Association of Florida shall appoint four members;

"(b)  The Associated General Contractors of Florida shall appoint one member;

"(c)  The Florida Home Builders Association shall appoint one member;

"(d)  The Florida Engineering Society shall appoint one member;

"(e)  The Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects shall appoint one member;

"(f)  The Florida Building Commission shall appoint two members, one member to be a building official or inspector, and one to be a contractor, architect, or engineer.

"(g)  The Florida Insurance Council shall appoint one member.

"(2)  The task force shall meet at least four times prior to January 1, 2002. Members may participate in any meeting via telephone conference. Members shall serve on a voluntary basis, without compensation and without reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses.

"(3)  The task force shall examine the various processes used by local building officials throughout the state in conducting plans review for the construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of real property, and approving building permit applications, as well as those processes used by local building officials in conducting required inspections for construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of real property, and issuing certificates of occupancy. The task force shall make recommendations on the following:

"(a)  A procedure by which the public could elect to engage an engineer or architect to perform plans review and inspection for the construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of real property; and

"(b)  The appropriate role of the local building official in such an alternative plans review and inspection procedure and in the resulting issuance of a building permit and certificate of occupancy.

"(4)  The task force shall submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, by January 1, 2002, a report presenting the task force's recommendations and findings.

"(5)  The Florida Building Commission shall provide logistical and staff support for the task force."

C.  Section 44, ch. 2001-186, provides that "[e]ffective upon this act becoming a law, the Florida Building Commission shall research and evaluate the types of specific needs for the state and its localities which are appropriate to justify amendments to the adopted Florida Building Code, as referenced in section 553.73(3), Florida Statutes, and shall make recommendations regarding legislative clarification of this issue to the Legislature prior to the 2002 Regular Session. The commission shall consider needs relating to the state's geographic, climatic, soil, topographic, fire, and other conditions as part of its evaluation. The commission shall adopt no amendments to the Florida Building Code until after July 1, 2002, except for the following: emergency amendments, amendments clarifying construction regulations for state agencies, amendments that eliminate conflicts with state law or implement new authorities granted by law, and amendments to implement settlement agreements executed prior to March 1, 2002."

2Note.--Redesignated as subsections (5) and (6) by s. 25, ch. 2001-186.

3Note.--Redesignated as subsection (7) by s. 25, ch. 2001-186.

4Note.--Redesignated as paragraph (7)(a) by s. 25, ch. 2001-186.