Can a local building department choose to not enforce selected parts of the Florida Building Code?
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
No. The Florida Building Code is a statewide code and all parts of the code must be enforced by each local building department. However, the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) can create an additional requirement, known as a local amendment. “But that local amendment must be presented to the Florida Building Commission with substantive documentation as to why it is necessary," according to Jerry Peck, a Florida building code expert. “And, if the Commission does not approve it, then it is not allowed to be enforced by the local AHJ,” .
If approved by the Commission, the local amendment is only effective for that code cycle; and, should the local AHJ want to keep their local amendment for the next code cycle, then it has to be adopted by the Commission for the entire state ... or it goes away.
The Florida Building Code came into existence because of the natural disasters during the 1990s, and especially Hurricane Andrew in South Florida, which led to a comprehensive review of the four different state-approved building codes used at the time. The study found that enforcement was inconsistent, and even the strongest code standards were inadequate against the hurricanes of that decade. So the 1998 Florida Legislature passed a statewide building code law, enacted on March 1st, 2002, that created the FBC and superseded all previous local building codes. The code has been updated every three years since then, to keep up with current building technology and improve the hurricane resistance of structures.
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