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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Florida Building Codes Undergoing Disputed Changes

USA Today just reported that Florida’s Building Code Commission is adopting new policies that will have an impact on future homes built there.

Building Codes in Florida became the Gold Standard for the nation a after Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew hit the state making for higher prices and super tough inspections especially for modular homes.

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Regulations upon regulations were added.

Now that is about to change. From now on the state will still be using the IRC codes in effect today but will only revise it every 6 years instead of the current 3 years and they will no longer use future IRC codes in their entirety but rather cherry pick the codes that best suit the building industry and new home buyers.

Also the State will no longer require a 75% majority of the 25 member board to pass and/or change building codes. That has been lowered to 67%. The board has 10 builders and industry people on it which may make it easier to change or eliminate existing codes and inspection schedules that have put a burden on home buyers being unable to buy new homes.

Here is an excerpt from the USA Today article dated 8/15/17:

Before Hurricane Katrina, before Superstorm Sandy, there was Hurricane Andrew.

The intense Category 5 hurricane, a compact buzzsaw that ripped the roofs off thousands of South Florida homes 25 years ago, was so catastrophic that it led to sweeping changes in the insurance industry, weather forecasting and disaster response.

And Floridians — shocked by acres of flattened houses — rewrote the state's building codes, making them the toughest in the nation.

Now, as memories of the horrendous destruction of Aug. 24, 1992, grow dim, the lessons learned from Andrew may be fading, too. The building codes once hailed as the gold standard other states should emulate are under assault.

At the core of that growing dispute is a simple calculation: the tougher the building code, the more it costs to build a home.

Florida's codes dictate construction methods, require wind testing and mandate extensive training and oversight for inspectors. Those standards, home builders argue, can add unnecessary costs that don't amount to a hurricane-proof home. Insurers and homeowners' associations say the tough codes save money in the long run.

This year, alarm bells went up all over the state capital, Tallahassee, when the Republican-led legislature and GOP Gov. Rick Scott passed a new law that untethers Florida's code from international standards and requires fewer votes for the Florida Building Commission to make changes to the building codes.

Opponents said it opened the door for the commission, which is dominated by home builders and contractors, to weaken the codes.

CLICK HERE for this “MUST READ” USA Today article.

Will other states follow their lead?

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