Florida on Verge of Building Code Policy Improvements

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee passed Senate Bills 1372 and 1312 by Senator Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, both of which which would improve Florida’s ability to strengthen its building code. The Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) made the following statement:

“Florida is on the verge of a common-sense solution that keeps our state the gold standard for building code safety,” said Jeremy Stewart, president of FHBA. “This policy allows Florida to amend its own already strong, existing state code, rather than starting from scratch with out-of-state code driven by special interests. It means improvements to safety, understanding, compliance, and enforcement of our state’s relevant codes.

“We want to thank Senators Perry and Lee for their leadership on this issue. On behalf of the builders and contractors working with families every day and making commitments to safe structures, we’re grateful for the progress made today, and we look forward to this policy reaching the Governor’s desk.”

Background:

  • Florida upholds the strongest building codes in the nation to help prevent the tragic loss of life the state saw in Andrew’s aftermath.

  • Currently, Florida is required to take up a new edition of its building code “rule book” every three years via the ICC (International Code Council). It takes a year to fully digest all the code changes, requiring marketing planning and building strategy changes. Once those are confirmed, the state moves to an entirely new code. It is difficult for contractors and inspectors to keep up. The vast majority of these changes have little to do with building integrity.

  • The policy passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee today would flip the presumption that Florida must start from scratch every three years, and would allow Florida to simply amend / add onto its own already strong, existing state code.

  • Inefficient code practice is also costly to homeowners. Keeping up with rapidly changing codes, often unnecessary and added by special interests, trickles down to home buyers. For every $1,000 increase in the price of a new affordable home in Florida, the number of households priced out of the market ranges from 21,037 to 22,974 households.

  • With this policy change, some ICC codes would not be in the Florida code, but nothing that would sacrifice safety. What would be axed are things that are unnecessary and only in there for special interest reasons.

For more information, visit http://fhba.com/.