By John Boling
When the 124th session of the Florida state legislature adjourned on March 14, 2022, without addressing the tragedy at Surfside, Florida, the state government was roundly criticized by victims’ families and the media. Nevertheless, principals involved kept working, and the result was a bipartisan bill, SB 4-D, that passed the Florida Senate on a 38–0 vote and then the House on a 110–0 vote before being signed by the governor on May 22, 2022. SB 4-D includes provisions to strengthen oversight of condominium associations and cooperative associations, and it updates requirements for roofing damaged by windstorms.
According to the Community Associations Institute, the association that represents condominium communities and the only outside organization to speak on the merits of the legislation, SB 4-D requires condominium and cooperative associations to:
- Have “milestone” inspections performed for all buildings over 3 stories at 30 years of age and every 10 years thereafter.
- Perform structural integrity reserve studies and fund repairs to roofs, floors, windows, waterproofing, windows, etc.
- Remove opt-out funding of reserves for structural integrity components.
- Provide all owners and residents access to building safety and inspection information.
- Clear developer requirements for building inspections, structural integrity reserve studies, and funding requirements prior to transition to the residents.
- Engage with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and local municipalities to track condominium buildings and the inspection reporting.
Building owners have two years to bring all buildings up to date with SB 4-D requirements.
The partial collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium and death of 98 individuals on June 24, 2021, in Surfside instigated a robust effort to overhaul inspection and maintenance requirements of condominiums and other high-rise buildings throughout the state.
On June 30, 2021, NIST launched a full technical investigation of the collapse. The goal of the investigation is to determine the technical cause of the collapse and, if indicated, to recommend changes to building codes, standards and practices, or other appropriate actions to improve the structural safety of buildings. NIST investigations are thorough and typically take years to complete.
553.844 Windstorm loss mitigation; requirements for roofs and opening protection.
The Florida legislature also took the opportunity to include the following section in SB 4-D to update roofs damaged by windstorms. The phrase “notwithstanding any provision of the Florida Building Code…” essentially asserts primacy of this provision over all other provisions of law relating to roofs.
(5) Notwithstanding any provision in the Florida Building Code to the contrary, if an existing roofing system or roof section was built, repaired, or replaced in compliance with the requirements of the 2007 Florida Building Code, or any subsequent editions of the Florida Building Code, and 25 percent or more of such roofing system or roof section is being repaired, replaced, or recovered, only the repaired, replaced, or recovered portion is required to be constructed in accordance with the Florida Building Code in effect, as applicable. The Florida Building Commission shall adopt this exception by rule and incorporate it in the Florida Building Code. Notwithstanding s. 553.73(4), a local government may not adopt by ordinance an administrative or technical amendment to this exception.
For more information on the legislation SB 4-D, click here.