Condo safety measure fully passes Florida Legislature

Stronger structural & building safety inspections will help protect from another Surfside tragedy

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TALLAHASSEE — On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Surfside, building collapse, the Florida Legislature fully passed a bill that will help ensure Florida never experiences another similar tragedy.

The Florida House of Representatives passed SB 4, which calls for periodic structural inspections or post-occupancy whole building safety inspections of multi-family buildings, sending the measure to Governor Ron DeSantis to sign into law.

Florida’s engineering community, led by the Florida Engineering Society (FES) and American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC Florida), took this tragedy as a personal responsibility to help provide expertise and guidance by recommending stronger structural and building safety measures.

Professionals from the Florida Structural Engineers Association, the Florida Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Concrete Repair Institute, the Building Officials Association of Florida, and the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects, joined with FES and ACEC Florida in developing, and providing lawmakers with Surfside Working Group’s Florida Building Professionals Recommendations.

“The importance of this legislation cannot be understated. The periodic inspections of condos will help ensure that all Floridians can rest at night knowing that their building, particularly older condos, are structurally sound. This legislation is good for Floridians, and good for Florida,” said Allen Douglas, Executive Director, Florida Engineering Society and American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida.

SB 4 provides for periodic structural inspections or post-occupancy whole building safety inspections of multi-family buildings, including:

• Inspections for condos that are three stories or taller, and within three miles of the coast, would be required when they reach 25 years of age, and every 10 years thereafter.
• Inspections for condo buildings that are three stories or taller and beyond three miles of the coast would be required when it reaches 30 years of age, and every 10 years thereafter.

Special thanks to Representative Daniel Perez, Speaker Chris Sprowls, Senator Jennifer Bradley, Senator Jason Pizzo and Senate President Wilton Simpson for their leadership in helping protect Floridians.

SB 4 will be presented to Governor Ron DeSantis who is expected to sign it into law.

Why It Matters: Currently, there are about 2 million people living in more than 912,000 condominium units that are 30 years or older. Of the 1.5 million condo units in Florida, another 131,773 are 20-30 years old, and more than 105,000 condo units are more than 50 years old.

However, the majority of communities in Florida do not require periodic structural inspections or post-occupancy whole building safety inspections of multi-family buildings to ensure they are safe to live in and not in danger of collapsing.

What The Bill Does: SB 4 largely mirrors stronger structural and building safety measures outlined by the Surfside Working Group’s Florida Building Professionals Recommendations.

Public Support: By a margin of greater than 4 to 1, a Mason-Dixon Florida Poll conducted February 7-10, 2022, shows voters support implementing building safety measures by greater than 4 to 1. In fact, 86 percent of Florida voters support periodic inspections, and the support crosses all regions of Florida, as well as party registration, race and ethnicity, age grouping and gender. “These results demonstrate the high level of concern that Floridians have regarding the safety of high-rise construction and their overwhelming support for expanding inspection requirements across the state,” said Brad Coker, CEO/Managing Director, Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy.

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