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Florida Building Code Update

Posted on: April 5th, 2016 by Tiffany Barnes No Comments

The building code of Florida is being updated.  Some of the changes you will see are going to be Accessibility, Code Administration, Electrical, Energy, Fire, Mechanical, Plumbing, Roofing, Special Occupancy, Structural and Swimming Pools.  According to Floridabuilding.org, “The Florida Building Code should not exclude any code section which is in the base code, even if some may think a code section is not application in Florida, such as a Snow Load.” If something is not applicable for a project, then it’s not enforced, but will not be removed from the Code Section.

A structural change is going to be a challenge in some regions of Florida.  “The State of Florida is the only state of the contiguous states where the entire land mass is a hurricane prone region.  Florida has endured numerous land falls form hurricanes and special attention is merited for the installation of hurricane protection.” (floridabuilding.org)  Certain high rise buildings will need to ensure they have the property safety routes in case a hurricane comes through and takes out several stories of a 15 story high rise. These building code changes are not just for the State to say they have updated their codes, but for the safety of everyone living in or around a building.  The State of Florida is surrounded by water, and 19 million people live here; so they need to be concerned about safety and the public’s well-being.

As a Floridian, I want to preserve the natural beauty of the land around us.  We have gorgeous oceans, lakes, and ponds that serve more than just recreational needs. This is where some plumbing code changes will benefit the state now and in the future.  We have a wealth of springs, wetlands, rivers, and lakes all around us, but how will we preserve them as recreational enjoyment and a water supply?  Adopt high efficiency flow rate for all plumbing fixtures.  This is not going to be an easy change, but it will be a worthy investment.  Changing how much water we flush each time, how much water we use when the dishwasher runs, the lower amount of water to wash those 3 loads of laundry per week, will all add up in each household to a savings.  We are a growing state and our water supply is going to be the first demand we see rise.

“Domestic consumption of publicly supplied water is one of the largest uses of water.  Florida is currently the only state in the nation to face water supply challenges” (floridabuilding.org). “The proposed efficiency measures can reduce deficits of future increased demand.  As a result of this proposed modification, a direct impact in reducing demand and ensuring the long-term sustainability of Florida’s water resource can be had without significant sacrifice by any party. This change would provide a foundation for further improvements of water use efficiency at a statewide level” (floridabuilding.org).
Several counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade, have already adopted a similar method.  Building Codes are more than just putting a building up, people live there for years, and then they sell it to a buyer for a higher price.  Building Codes are enforced to regulate the State, save energy and water, and protect the safety of all who live here.

“Governor Scott signed a Florida Building Code on March 25, 2016.  The changes that he has made in this new update include:

    Increased the building’s or dwelling unit’s maximum tested air leakage measure from ‘not exceeding 5 air changes per hour’ to ‘not exceeding 7 air changes per hour’ in all of Florida.

    The minimum fire separation distance for non-fire resistant rated exterior walls shall be 3 feet or greater and non-fire resistant rated projections shall have a minimum fire separation distance of 3 feet or greater.  Projections within 2 feet and less than 3 feet shall include 1-hour fire-resistance rate on the underside.  Projections less than 2 feet are not permitted.

    Mandatory blower door testing for all residential buildings or dwellings units.

    A restaurant, cafeteria, or similar dining facility, including an associated commercial kitchen, is required to have sprinklers only if it has a fire area occupancy load of 200 patrons or more”(floridagreenbuildingcoalition.com)

Resources:
Florida Building. www.floridabuilding.org. 2016
Florida Green Building Coalition.  www.floridagreencoalition.com.  2016

 


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