The State of Florida first mandated statewide building codes during the 1970s at the beginning of the modern construction boom. The first law required all municipalities and counties to adopt and enforce one of the four state-recognized model codes known as the “state minimum building codes.” During the early 1990s a series of natural disasters, together with the increasing complexity of building construction regulation in vastly changed markets, led to a comprehensive review of the state building code system. The study revealed that building code adoption and enforcement was inconsistent throughout the state and those local codes thought to be the strongest proved inadequate when tested by major hurricane events. The consequences of the building codes system failure were devastation to lives and economies and a statewide property insurance crisis. The response was a reform of the state building construction regulatory system that placed emphasis on uniformity and accountability.
The 1998 Florida Legislature amended Chapter 553, Florida Statutes (FS), Building Construction Standards, to create a single state building code that is enforced by local governments. As of March 1, 2002, the Florida Building Code, which is developed and maintained by the Florida Building Commission, supersedes all local building codes. The Florida Building Code is updated every three years and may be amended annually to incorporate interpretations and clarifications.
The Florida Building Code is based on national model building codes and national consensus standards which are amended where necessary for Florida’s specific needs. The code incorporates all building construction-related regulations for public and private buildings in the State of Florida other than those specifically exempted by Section 553.73, Florida Statutes. It has been harmonized with the Florida Fire Prevention Code, which is developed and maintained by the Department of Financial Services, Office of the State Fire Marshal, to establish unified and consistent standards.
The base codes for the Florida Building Code, 6th Edition (2017) include: the 2015 editions of the International Building Code®; the International Plumbing Code®; the International Mechanical Code®; the International Fuel Gas Code®; the International Residential Code®; the International Existing Building Code®; the International Energy Conservation Code®; the National Electrical Code, 2014 edition; or substantive criteria from ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013. State and local codes adopted and incorporated into the code include the Florida Building Code, Accessibility, and special hurricane protection standards for the High-Velocity Hurricane Zone.
The code is composed of nine main volumes: the Florida Building Code, Building, which also includes state regulations for licensed facilities; the Florida Building Code, Plumbing; the Florida Building Code, Mechanical; the Florida Building Code, Fuel Gas; the Florida Building Code, Existing Building; the Florida Building Code, Residential; the Florida Building Code, Energy Conservation; the Florida Building Code, Accessibility and the Florida Building Code, Test Protocols for High-Velocity Hurricane Zones. Chapter 27 of the Florida Building Code, Building, adopts the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70, by reference.
Under certain strictly defined conditions, local governments may amend requirements to be more stringent than the code. All local amendments to the Florida Building Code must be adopted by local ordinance and reported to the Florida Building Commission then posted on www.floridabuilding.org in Legislative format for a month before being enforced. Local amendments to the Florida Building Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code may be obtained from the Florida Building Commission web site, or from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or the Florida Department of Financial Services, Office of the State Fire Marshal, respectively.
Adoption and Maintenance
The Florida Building Code is adopted and updated with new editions triennially by the Florida Building Commission. It is amended annually to incorporate interpretations, clarifications and to update standards. Minimum requirements for permitting, plans review and inspections are established by the code, and local jurisdictions may adopt additional administrative requirements that are more stringent. Local technical amendments are subject to strict criteria established by Section 553.73, FS. They are subject to Commission review and adoption into the code or repeal when the code is updated triennially and are subject to appeal to the Commission according to the procedures established by Section 553.73, FS.
Eleven Technical Advisory Committees (TACs), which are constituted consistent with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Guidelines, review proposed code changes and clarifications of the code and make recommendations to the Commission. These TACs whose membership is constituted consistent with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Guidelines include: Accessibility; Joint Building Fire (a joint committee of the Commission and the State Fire Marshal); Building Structural; Code Administration/ Enforcement; Electrical; Energy; Mechanical; Plumbing and Fuel Gas; Roofing; Swimming Pool; and Special Occupancy (state agency construction and facility licensing regulations).
The Commission may only issue official code clarifications using procedures of Chapter 120, Florida Statutes. To obtain such a clarification, a request for a Declaratory Statement (DEC) must be made to the Florida Building Commission in a manner that establishes a clear set of facts and circumstances and identifies the section of the code in question. Requests are analyzed by staff, reviewed by the appropriate Technical Advisory Committee, and sent to the Florida Building Commission for action. These interpretations establish precedents for situations having similar facts and circumstances and are typically incorporated into the code in the next code amendment cycle. Nonbinding opinions are available from the Building Officials Association of Florida’s web site (www.BOAF.net) and a Binding Opinion process is available online at www.floridabuilding.org.
Code Development Committee Responsibilities
In each code development cycle, proposed changes to the code are considered at the Committee Action Hearings by the applicable International Code Development Committee as follows:
The [RE] committee is also responsible for the IECC—Residential Provisions.
Solid vertical lines in the margins within the body of the code indicate a technical change from the requirements of the 2012 edition. Deletion indicators in the form of an arrow () are provided in the margin where an entire section, paragraph, exception or table has been deleted or an item in a list of items or a table has been deleted.
A single asterisk [*] placed in the margin indicates that text or a table has been relocated within the code. A double asterisk [**] placed in the margin indicates that the text or table immediately following it has been relocated there from elsewhere in the code.
Dotted vertical lines in the margins within the body of the code indicate a change from the requirements of the base codes to the Florida Building Code, Residential, 6th Edition (2017) effective December 31, 2017.
Sections deleted from the base code are designated “Reserved” in order to maintain the structure of the base code.
Selected terms set forth in Chapter 2, Definitions, are italicized where they appear in code text. Such terms are not italicized where the definition set forth in Chapter 2 does not impart the intended meaning in the use of the term. The terms selected have definitions that the user should read carefully to better understand the code.
The Florida Building Code is produced through the efforts and contributions of building designers, contractors, product manufacturers, regulators and other interested parties who participate in the Florida Building Commission’s consensus processes, Commission staff and the participants in the national model code development processes.
2017 Florida Building Code - Residential, Sixth Edition