2010 Florida Building Code Changes

In CAM Library, Commercial Market, Construction, Florida Law Changes, Residential Market by Patricia Staebler

The Florida Building Commission (FBC) reviewed a total of 827 proposed changes for the development of the 2010 Florida Building Code and approved approximately 55% of the changes submitted for consideration.

The most significant changes were those dealing with wind design in accordance with the new American Society of civil engineers. The new standard creates a new wind map for the state. The following map shows the new wind speeds for the coastal areas:

Comparing the new wind speed map to the old one the following differences for Manatee and Sarasota apply:

Manatee was between 120 and 130 mph with the coastal areas between 130 and 140 mph. The new wind speed maps show Manatee County being 98% in the 140-150 mph zone. Sarasota was in the 130 mph zone and is  now in the 150 mph to 160 mph zone. For healthcare facilities the wind speeds are set higher, pushing most of Manatee in the 160 mph zone and Sarasota in the 160 to 170 mph zone.

Additionally, the Commission followed the mandate of the Legislator and removed the fire sprinkler requirements for one and two family dwellings from the base code.

At the request of FEMA the Commission has included provision for construction in flood prone areas. These changes come directly from both the International Building Code and are consistent with the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program. The Commission did recognize the need to protect existing Community Rating System (CRS) and the code allows those programs to continue without having to meet the strict requirements for local technical amendments to the Code.

A change to the “ignition barrier” requirement for spray foam used in attics will add some additional cost when using those materials. The new language provides a “Thermal Barrier” must be provided when spray foam insulation is used in attics. There are a number of methods specified in the code for how to provide the required protection.

New provisions have been added to regulate the use of building integrated photovoltaic roofing modules/shingles.

One of the major changes to the energy code is the new volume of the code. The Commission has removed the energy provision form chapter 13 of the Building and Chapter 11 of the Residential Volumes and placed them in the new volume of the code; the Florida Building Code, Energy Conservation. There are a number of changes coming on the energy front. All duct sizing shall be in accordance with ACCA manual D. All newly constructed single-family dwelling will be required to provide a certificate of duct testing. The testing must be accomplished in accordance with ASHRAE Standard 152. All ducts and air handlers shall be either located in conditioned space or tested by a Class 1 Building energy rating System (BERS) rater to be “substantially leak free”. Replacement A/C units must be sized in accordance with a nationally recognized standard and calculation submitted for permitting.

Additionally, changes made to meet the legislative mandate of 2008 for an additional 5% increase in efficiency there are other areas of change. As part of the code change process the Commission did approve a change to allow for energy calculations to be certified by any computer program that they approved. The commission will have to establish criteria for software approval but that should make the software pricing more competitive.

While there was an effort made to include the International Green Building Code in an Appendix of both the Building Volume and the Residential Volume of the code the proponents were not successful. The general feeling was this document is not ready for inclusion into the code.

For questions about the  new Florida Building Code and how it will affect your improvements on your building or new construction, contact your local building department.

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