Codes – Florida’s Own World

Florida’s codes are unlike any in the country. With wind zones a minimum of 100-mph and exceeding 150-mph in many areas of the state, uplift designs need to be greatly enhanced. The requirements for the Miami/Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA) for application in the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) in Florida as well as many individual counties are stringent. In addition, some coastal areas of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas have adopted these requirements.

The International Building Code (IBC) and Florida Building Code (FBC) are merging, so some high wind requirements may filter into other states and affect all states. Therefore, those of you along the eastern seaboard, the Great Lakes, the front range of the Rockies, and other areas may need to prepare.

Here is an excerpt from the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA) Members “Roof Flash”:

“The Florida Building Commission (FBC) Roofing TAC met August 8 and 9 (2010) in Melbourne to review more than 150 submitted modifications to the roofing code – Chapters 9 and 15. FRSA submitted 48 modifications to the code which were reviewed. FRSA members serve on the Roofing TAC and several members along with some of the FRSA staff, testified on behalf of FRSA members. We are currently in the midst of another 45-day comment period before the Roofing TAC addresses the proposed modifications again. It will be December before the recommendations of the Roofing TAC are forwarded to the FBC and it’s estimated that new code will not be implemented until December 2011. The FRSA Codes and Regulatory Compliance Committee will continue to monitor the codes and keep FRSA members informed of the changes and when they will go into effect.”

The current FBC “glitch cycle” ended on March 18, 2011. The glitch cycle is an opportunity to submit to the Florida Building Commission specific changes to the existing code that may be an editorial correction, equivalency of standard, typographical error, etc. No changes to the actual code may be submitted during this cycle. Changes to the code may not be submitted until the next code cycle in 2013.

The FBC and the IBC have adopted the new ASCE 7-2010 wind map. The map is already part of the IBC but will not actually be implemented in the FBC until December 21, 2011. This new map greatly increases the wind speeds and moves the wind speed lines further inland throughout the state. However, these new wind speeds, when using the conversion chart in the IBC, already utilize the calculations which may actually reduce the uplift pressure designs for the building. The biggest impact of the map will be in the shingle roofing industry where shingles are designed to withstand wind speeds, not uplift pressure. Additionally, the windborne debris region will now cover a larger portion of the state.

The Florida Building Commission will review the glitch amendments over two meetings in April and June of this year. In July, the glitch rules will be adopted as part of the 2010 Florida Building Code. The Code will be printed and available to the public on October 1, 2011, and the effective date of implementation will be December 21, 2011.