4.13 - Codes & Standards Committee Report for November 2023

Steve Mickley
Steve Mickley
Last updated 
There have been three significant activities during the month of November 2023:
The Codes Administration Technical Advisory Committee of the Florida Building Commission will here my second petition regarding the local amendments adopted by Broward County, FL that precludes our unlicensed members from practicing their profession. The initial petition for declaratory judgment was rejected based on staff’s opinion that my motives were suspect rather than on any technical issue of law or facts. The current petition for a non-binding advisory opinion is being similarly denied except for staff’s recommended answer to the question of whether the subject amendments are administrative or technical in nature. They recommend an answer of “No” with no explanation to that question and A refusal to answer any of the other questions posed. Christopher Miller, legislative aide to State Senator Thompson, contacted FBC staff to express their interest in the case and a hope that a useful response would be provided. He was apparently not persuasive.
Broward County is currently in the process of readopting these amendments for the 2023 Florida Building Code. I encourage any AIBD members in Southeast Florida to attend these meetings and voice their objections to these amendments. I do not plan to take any further action with the Florida Building Commission, as they are committed to avoiding the topic. It was always a longshot for the foxes to adopt security improvements.
I also took advantage of the non-binding interpretation available to committee members at the International Code Commission. They concur with our understanding of the two key phrases that have caused licensure issues across the country, both of which are in the same sentence of the IRC: “special conditions” and “additional construction documents.” Here is what ICC told me:
This email is in response to your email correspondence regarding “special conditions” and the need for “additional construction documents”. All comments are based on the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) unless noted otherwise.
As noted in Section 107.1, the building official is authorized to require “additional construction documents” to be prepared by a registered design professional where “special conditions” exist. Admittedly, while the code doesn’t define what constitutes “special conditions”, such conditions are typically matters not provided for or addressed by the code or proposed design alternatives to the basic provisions in the code as regulated by Section 104.11. For example, the code does not specifically address how to construct a chemical refinery or other special hazardous occupancies which may require unusual height or area limitations due to a specific process or equipment. Extremely large buildings may also warrant a specific egress design study to justify an additional exit access travel distance beyond basic code limitations. “Special conditions”, as alluded to in your correspondence, is not, in my opinion, necessarily related to the cost of the project or other local amendments.
As noted, “additional construction documents” could include drawings, structural calculations, research reports, test data or additional studies, prepared by a registered design professional, to substantiate equivalent compliance with the intent of the code with final approval subject to the building official.
Assuming the ICC code committee agrees, a long-term approach would be to get clarifying language in the next edition of the IRC, but that would be a 2026 or 2027 solution.
This leaves us with two near-term options: (1) pursue redress in the courts; and/or (2) continue to seek a legislative solution. With regard to the first, that is an issue for the AIBD Board to decide. The basis of a lawsuit would be the issues I raised in the two petitions.
As for the second, I continue to work with the staff of State Senator Thompson and other Florida legislators to craft proposed legislation that will eliminate the option for local governments to adopt amendments to the Florida Building Code. I am also contacting other interested parties to see if they can support the effort. There are currently two House bills that could serve as vehicles for an amendment to either remove the ability for local governments to adopt building code amendments or to preclude their adopting amendments that alter the licensing laws of the state. I am going to work more intently on a legislative solution during December.
Submitted November 28, 2023, by Jack A Butler, Chair

Proposed Amendments to 553.71 553.73 FS.pdf 98.6 KB View full-size Download

4.13 Codes Comm Report for Nov 2023.docx 15.9 KB Download