2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXXIII REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 553 BUILDING CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS
SECTION 899Mandatory structural inspections for condominium and cooperative buildings.
553.899 Mandatory structural inspections for condominium and cooperative buildings.—
(1) The Legislature finds that maintaining the structural integrity of a building throughout the life of the building is of paramount importance in order to ensure that buildings are structurally sound so as to not pose a threat to the public health, safety, or welfare. As such, the Legislature finds that the imposition of a statewide structural inspection program for aging condominium and cooperative buildings in this state is necessary to ensure that such buildings are safe for continued use.
(2) As used in this section, the terms:
(a) “Milestone inspection” means a structural inspection of a building, including an inspection of load-bearing elements and the primary structural members and primary structural systems as those terms are defined in s. 627.706, by an architect licensed under chapter 481 or engineer licensed under chapter 471 authorized to practice in this state for the purposes of attesting to the life safety and adequacy of the structural components of the building and, to the extent reasonably possible, determining the general structural condition of the building as it affects the safety of such building, including a determination of any necessary maintenance, repair, or replacement of any structural component of the building. The purpose of such inspection is not to determine if the condition of an existing building is in compliance with the Florida Building Code or the firesafety code. The milestone inspection services may be provided by a team of professionals with an architect or engineer acting as a registered design professional in responsible charge with all work and reports signed and sealed by the appropriate qualified team member.
(b) “Substantial structural deterioration” means substantial structural distress or substantial structural weakness that negatively affects a building’s general structural condition and integrity. The term does not include surface imperfections such as cracks, distortion, sagging, deflections, misalignment, signs of leakage, or peeling of finishes unless the licensed engineer or architect performing the phase one or phase two inspection determines that such surface imperfections are a sign of substantial structural deterioration.
(3)(a) An owner or owners of a building that is three stories or more in height as determined by the Florida Building Code and that is subject, in whole or in part, to the condominium or cooperative form of ownership as a residential condominium under chapter 718 or a residential cooperative under chapter 719 must have a milestone inspection performed by December 31 of the year in which the building reaches 30 years of age, based on the date the certificate of occupancy for the building was issued, and every 10 years thereafter. If a building reached 30 years of age before July 1, 2022, the building’s initial milestone inspection must be performed before December 31, 2024. If a building reaches 30 years of age on or after July 1, 2022, and before December 31, 2024, the building’s initial milestone inspection must be performed before December 31, 2025. If the date of issuance for the certificate of occupancy is not available, the date of issuance of the building’s certificate of occupancy shall be the date of occupancy evidenced in any record of the local building official.
(b) The local enforcement agency may determine that local circumstances, including environmental conditions such as proximity to salt water as defined in s. 379.101, require that a milestone inspection must be performed by December 31 of the year in which the building reaches 25 years of age, based on the date the certificate of occupancy for the building was issued, and every 10 years thereafter.
(c) The local enforcement agency may extend the date by which a building’s initial milestone inspection must be completed upon a showing of good cause by the owner or owners of the building that the inspection cannot be timely completed if the owner or owners have entered into a contract with an architect or engineer to perform the milestone inspection and the inspection cannot reasonably be completed before the deadline or other circumstance to justify an extension.
(d) The local enforcement agency may accept an inspection report prepared by a licensed engineer or architect for a structural integrity and condition inspection of a building performed before July 1, 2022, if the inspection and report substantially comply with the requirements of this section. Notwithstanding when such inspection was completed, the condominium or cooperative association must comply with the unit owner notice requirements in subsection (9). The inspection for which an inspection report is accepted by the local enforcement agency under this paragraph is deemed a milestone inspection for the applicable requirements in chapters 718 and 719. If a previous inspection and report is accepted by the local enforcement agency under this paragraph, the deadline for the building’s subsequent 10-year milestone inspection is based on the date of the accepted previous inspection.
(4) The milestone inspection report must be arranged by a condominium or cooperative association and any owner of any portion of the building which is not subject to the condominium or cooperative form of ownership. The condominium association or cooperative association and any owner of any portion of the building which is not subject to the condominium or cooperative form of ownership are each responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements of this section. The condominium association or cooperative association is responsible for all costs associated with the milestone inspection attributable to the portions of a building which the association is responsible to maintain under the governing documents of the association. This section does not apply to a single-family, two-family, or three-family dwelling with three or fewer habitable stories above ground.
(5) Upon determining that a building must have a milestone inspection, the local enforcement agency must provide written notice of such required inspection to the condominium association or cooperative association and any owner of any portion of the building which is not subject to the condominium or cooperative form of ownership, as applicable, by certified mail, return receipt requested. The condominium or cooperative association must notify the unit owners of the required milestone inspection within 14 days after receipt of the written notice from the local enforcement agency and provide the date that the milestone inspection must be completed. Such notice may be given by electronic submission to unit owners who consent to receive notice by electronic submission or by posting on the association’s website.
(6) Phase one of the milestone inspection must be completed within 180 days after the owner or owners of the building receive the written notice under subsection (5). For purposes of this section, completion of phase one of the milestone inspection means the licensed engineer or architect who performed the phase one inspection submitted the inspection report by e-mail, United States Postal Service, or commercial delivery service to the local enforcement agency.
(7) A milestone inspection consists of two phases:
(a) For phase one of the milestone inspection, a licensed architect or engineer authorized to practice in this state shall perform a visual examination of habitable and nonhabitable areas of a building, including the major structural components of a building, and provide a qualitative assessment of the structural conditions of the building. If the architect or engineer finds no signs of substantial structural deterioration to any building components under visual examination, phase two of the inspection, as provided in paragraph (b), is not required. An architect or engineer who completes a phase one milestone inspection shall prepare and submit an inspection report pursuant to subsection (8).
(b) A phase two of the milestone inspection must be performed if any substantial structural deterioration is identified during phase one. A phase two inspection may involve destructive or nondestructive testing at the inspector’s direction. The inspection may be as extensive or as limited as necessary to fully assess areas of structural distress in order to confirm that the building is structurally sound and safe for its intended use and to recommend a program for fully assessing and repairing distressed and damaged portions of the building. When determining testing locations, the inspector must give preference to locations that are the least disruptive and most easily repairable while still being representative of the structure. If a phase two inspection is required, within 180 days after submitting a phase one inspection report the architect or engineer performing the phase two inspection must submit a phase two progress report to the local enforcement agency with a timeline for completion of the phase two inspection. An inspector who completes a phase two milestone inspection shall prepare and submit an inspection report pursuant to subsection (8).
(8) Upon completion of a phase one or phase two milestone inspection, the architect or engineer who performed the inspection must submit a sealed copy of the inspection report with a separate summary of, at minimum, the material findings and recommendations in the inspection report to the condominium association or cooperative association, to any other owner of any portion of the building which is not subject to the condominium or cooperative form of ownership, and to the building official of the local government which has jurisdiction. The inspection report must, at a minimum, meet all of the following criteria:
(a) Bear the seal and signature, or the electronic signature, of the licensed engineer or architect who performed the inspection.
(b) Indicate the manner and type of inspection forming the basis for the inspection report.
(c) Identify any substantial structural deterioration, within a reasonable professional probability based on the scope of the inspection, describe the extent of such deterioration, and identify any recommended repairs for such deterioration.
(d) State whether unsafe or dangerous conditions, as those terms are defined in the Florida Building Code, were observed.
(e) Recommend any remedial or preventive repair for any items that are damaged but are not substantial structural deterioration.
(f) Identify and describe any items requiring further inspection.
(9) Within 45 days after receiving the applicable inspection report, the condominium or cooperative association must distribute a copy of the inspector-prepared summary of the inspection report to each condominium unit owner or cooperative unit owner, regardless of the findings or recommendations in the report, by United States mail or personal delivery at the mailing address, property address, or any other address of the owner provided to fulfill the association’s notice requirements under chapter 718 or chapter 719, as applicable, and by electronic transmission to the e-mail address or facsimile number provided to fulfill the association’s notice requirements to unit owners who previously consented to receive notice by electronic transmission; must post a copy of the inspector-prepared summary in a conspicuous place on the condominium or cooperative property; and must publish the full report and inspector-prepared summary on the association’s website, if the association is required to have a website.
(10) A local enforcement agency may prescribe timelines and penalties with respect to compliance with this section.
(11) A board of county commissioners or municipal governing body may adopt an ordinance requiring that a condominium or cooperative association and any other owner that is subject to this section schedule or commence repairs for substantial structural deterioration within a specified timeframe after the local enforcement agency receives a phase two inspection report; however, such repairs must be commenced within 365 days after receiving such report. If an owner of the building fails to submit proof to the local enforcement agency that repairs have been scheduled or have commenced for substantial structural deterioration identified in a phase two inspection report within the required timeframe, the local enforcement agency must review and determine if the building is unsafe for human occupancy.
(12) By December 31, 2024, the Florida Building Commission shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to establish a building safety program for the implementation of this section within the Florida Building Code: Existing Building. The building inspection program must, at minimum, include inspection criteria, testing protocols, standardized inspection and reporting forms that are adaptable to an electronic format, and record maintenance requirements for the local authority.
(13) The Florida Building Commission shall consult with the State Fire Marshal to provide recommendations to the Legislature for the adoption of comprehensive structural and life safety standards for maintaining and inspecting all types of buildings and structures in this state that are three stories or more in height. The commission shall provide a written report of its recommendations to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 31, 2023.
History.—s. 3, ch. 2022-269; s. 2, ch. 2023-203.