Structural Engineering Blog

Atlanta Louisville Los Angeles Seattle

What Florida Bill S.B. 4-D Means for Property Owners

concrete restoration

Earlier this year, we talked about the tragedy of the Surfside Condo collapse in Florida. Over the last few years, more catastrophic structural damage cases, concrete restoration, and progressive collapse cases have been in the news. Because of this, building owners are taking a closer look at their building, and lawmakers have also been making changes to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring.

Senate Bill 4-D (“S.B. 4-D”), which was enacted in May 2022 in response to the collapse of Champlain Towers South passed in May 2022, amends the Florida Condominium Act.

According to the Florida House of Representatives:

“CS/HB 5D passed the House on May 25, 2022, as SB 4-D. A condominium is a form of real property ownership where persons own condominium units along with an undivided right of access to the condominium’s common elements.

A cooperative is a form of property ownership in which the real property is owned by the cooperative association and individual units are leased to the residents, who own shares in the association. The Florida Building Codes Act provides a mechanism for the uniform adoption, updating, interpretation, and enforcement of a single, unified state building code known as the Florida Building Code (Code).

The Code is applied, administered, and enforced uniformly by local governments through permits and inspections. The Florida Building Commission (Building Commission) implements the Code. However, the Code does not contain requirements for the maintenance and inspection of existing buildings. The Code provides that when repairing, replacing, or recovering 25 percent or more of a roof, the entire roof must comply with the current edition of the Code (25 percent rule).

As a result, if more than 25 percent of a roof is damaged, and the undamaged portion of the roof does not meet the requirements of the current Code, the entire roof would be required to be replaced to meet current Code requirements. Related to roof repairs, the bill creates an exception to the 25 percent rule to allow the repair, replacement, or recovering of any portion of a roof without requiring the rest of the roof to be brought up to the current edition of the Code, if the remaining portion of the roof, at a minimum, meets the requirements of the 2007 Code. The Building Commission is required to adopt this exception by rule and incorporate it in the Code.”

Additional Requirements of the bill include:

  • “Creates a statewide building milestone inspection requirement for condominiums and cooperative buildings three stories or higher 30 years after initial occupancy, or 25 years if within three miles of the coast.
  • Requires additional inspections every 10 years after a building’s initial milestone inspection.
  • Provides local building officials with ability to assess penalties for failing to comply with the inspection requirements.
  • Requires condominiums and cooperatives to conduct structural integrity reserve studies every 10 years for buildings that are three stories or higher.
  • Prohibits waiver of funding for certain structural reserves.
  • Requires developers to complete structural integrity reserve studies for every building that is three stories or higher, and repeals the ability of developers to waive the collection of all types of reserve funds.
  • Provides that structural integrity reserve studies, and inspection reports are a part of an association’s official records and must be provided to a potential purchaser of a unit.”

What does this new bill mean for you as a property owner?

SB-4D establishes a new, statewide inspection program that mandates condo and co-op buildings 3 or more stories high to meet new requirements.

Structural inspections are key to making sure your building is properly up to code and complies with the new law. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Make sure your structural inspection is performed by a Florida-licensed engineer or architect
  • Include visual inspection of primary structural members and systems
  • Identify if any structural deterioration is substantial and if it will negatively affect the building’s condition, integrity, or safety of occupants
  • Document whether unsafe or dangerous conditions are observed
  • Report any items that require maintenance or further inspection
  • Report any items that require immediate replacement or repair (including structural components)

Lastly, these (and more) elements of building structure need to be included in the scope of a Structural Integrity Reserve Study:

  • Roofs
  • Load bearing walls
  • Primary structural members
  • Floors
  • Foundations
  • Plumbing

Since the Champlain Towers Collapse in Surfside Florida, we have had numerous requests to perform structural condition assessments.

How can you prevent a tragedy like this occurring at your property?

Prevent Collapse – IEI Concrete Restoration in Atlanta

Spalling and cracking concrete are deterioration problems that need to be addressed immediately. Early repairs and concrete restoration are far less expensive than kicking the can down the road, allowing the repair costs to increase exponentially. When you work with Innovative Engineering, you can feel safe knowing your structure is secure.

IEI’s proven state of the art techniques provide a thorough condition assessment with consistent results. Contact IEI to inspect, report, repair and prevent future damage.

Leave a Comment