Building Safety and Recertification Inspection Services

Building Safety and Recertification Inspection Services

Building Safety and Recertification Inspection Services2024-03-29T16:10:20-04:00

Building Safety, Recertification Inspection Services in South Florida

Before June 2022, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties required that all existing buildings, barring a few exceptions, be inspected once the building reaches 40 years old from the original occupancy date and again every 10 years thereafter. Although commonly referred to as 40-year building recertification in Florida, they are formally known as Building Safety Inspections in Broward County and as Recertification Inspections in Miami-Dade County. While the two programs are similar, with the primary purpose of determining whether the existing building is structurally and electrically safe for continued use through visual inspection, Miami-Dade has some additional inspection requirements such as guardrail certificates for properties abutting waterways and parking and garage lighting needs to meet the current Code.

After June 2022, following the State of Florida’s introduction of Milestone Inspections, Broward & Miami-Dade Counties revised their building safety inspection programs to require inspections once the building reached 30 years old from the original date of occupancy and again every 10 years thereafter. Additionally, Miami-Dade County requires infrared thermography inspections on electrical systems operating at 400 amps or more. From July 1, 2023, Broward County will require these thermography inspections as well.

In addition to Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, a few cities, such as Highland Beach and Boca Raton, have adopted similar building safety inspection and recertification programs.

These city requirements can be found here: Boca Raton and Highland Beach. However, the below describes only Broward and Miami-Dade County specifics.

Building Recertification Inspection Notice and Frequency

A building owner or condominium owner’s association must complete a Building Safety Inspection once the building is 30 years old from the original date of occupancy and every 10 years thereafter for the structure’s life.

For those properties that require certification, the property owners will receive a Notice of Required Recertification from their respective Municipality to commence the process. The recertification reports must be submitted within 90 days from the date of notice. In the event repairs are needed, the building owner has a total of 180 days from the date of the inspection report in which to complete the required repairs and correct the structural and electrical deficiencies.

Failure to obtain a Building Safety Inspection is a breach of the officers’ and directors’ fiduciary relationship with the unit owners.

Structural Inspections

The structural inspection is a vital component of the recertification process, aimed at ensuring the safety of buildings under current occupancy. The inspection scrutinizes the general structural condition, evaluating components that support dead or live loads, wind loads, and electrical systems. While the examination does not typically involve verifying the original design, it meticulously assesses the impact of time on construction materials.

Evaluating existing structures considers two fundamental considerations: movement of structural components and material deterioration. The aggressive conditions found year-round in Florida in general and South Florida in particular require a focus on potential moisture-related deterioration, especially adjacent to exterior walls. Structural deterioration necessitates repairs, with the type dependent on the member’s importance and the degree of deterioration.

Critical Structural Elements Under Inspection

  1. Foundations: Settlements are carefully examined, especially in older buildings on spread footings.
  2. Roofs: Attention is given to sloping roofs, flat roofs with membrane systems, and potential signs of difficulty like blisters or wrinkling.
  3. Masonry Bearing Walls: Cracks, bulging, and signs of misalignment in masonry walls are of interest, with attention to tie columns and beams.
  4. Floor and Roof Systems: Examination includes reinforced concrete slabs, pre-cast members, steel bar joists, cold-formed steel joists, and wood joists/rafters.
  5. Steel and Concrete Framing Systems: Corrosion assessment is crucial for steel, while concrete deterioration is linked to rebar corrosion and permeable concrete.
  6. Windows and Doors: The condition of windows and doors is essential for preventing leakage and ensuring anchorage during severe weather.

Structural Glazing and Building Facade

For buildings featuring structural glazing curtain wall systems, regular inspections are mandated to assess the structural condition and adhesive capacity of silicone sealants. The entire building facade, encompassing various elements, is scrutinized for safety.

Electrical Inspections

Parallel to the structural inspection, the electrical inspection ensures the safety of both habitable and non-habitable building areas. The examination covers critical aspects of the electrical system to guarantee compliance with present occupancy standards.

Critical Electrical System Components Under Inspection

  1. Electric Service: Details about the type of service, amperage, and grounding are provided, ensuring sufficient clearance and good condition in meter rooms.
  2. Branch Circuits: All circuits are identified and evaluated for conductor conditions, proper grounding, and equipment support.
  3. Conduit Raceways: A detailed inspection of conduits, free from erosion and dents, ensures safe wiring conditions.
  4. Emergency Lighting: Exit signs, emergency lighting, and fire alarm systems are inspected for proper functioning.
  5. Infrared Thermography Inspection:A certified thermographer assesses key electrical equipment for systems operating at 400 amperes or greater.

Building Structural Reporting Process

If the building or structure in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties is not a “Threshold Building” (see definition in FAQs below), a Florida Licensed Professional Engineer or a Florida Registered Architect must prepare the reports.

If the building or structure in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties is a Threshold Building, then the structural report must be prepared by a Florida Licensed Professional Engineer specializing in structural design, while the electrical report must be prepared by Florida Licensed Professional Engineer specializing in electrical design. A self-qualification letter shall be submitted as part of the structural report for threshold buildings, stating that the engineer is a practicing structural engineer and has worked with buildings equivalent to the building being certified and shall be accompanied by proof of the engineer’s state Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DPBR) structural specialization.

Broward County has an additional requirement for threshold buildings whereby the Structural Engineer must be certified as a “Special inspector” (see definition in FAQs below).

These reports must be signed and sealed by the respective structural and electrical Professional Engineers.

Whether you are a property owner, manager, or community association, Building Mavens’ licensed professionals are available to help you navigate and provide your Florida Building Recertification Service’s needs. Contact our team today to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of a Threshold Building?2023-10-06T12:25:14-04:00

A threshold building, as defined by the Florida Statutes (https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2022/0553.71) means any building which is greater than three stories or 50 feet in height, or which has an assembly occupancy classification as defined in the Florida Building Code which exceeds 5,000 square feet in area and an occupant content of greater than 500 persons.

What is a Special Inspector?2023-10-06T12:25:37-04:00

A special inspector (SI), as defined by the Florida Statutes (https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2022/0553.71) means a licensed architect or registered engineer who is certified under chapter 471 or chapter 481 to conduct inspections of threshold buildings. Additionally, the Florida Board for Professional Engineers specifies the requirements for Special Inspectors here:https://fbpe.org/licensure/licensure-process/special-inspector/

What buildings are exempt from building safety and recertification inspection?2023-10-06T12:25:56-04:00

In Miami-Dade County single-family residences, duplexes, and minor structures (defined as buildings or structures in any occupancy group having an occupant load of 10 or less, as determined by Table 1004.5 (FBC) Minimum Occupant Load of the Florida Building Code and having a gross area of 2,000 sq. ft. or less) are exempt.

In Broward County one and two-family dwellings, U.S. Government and State of Florida buildings, buildings built on Indian Reservations, school buildings under the jurisdiction of the Broward County School Board, fee simple townhouses as defined in the Florida Building Code, and minor structures (as defined above) are exempt.

Where can I find more information on the Broward and Miami-Dade County programs?2023-10-06T12:26:17-04:00

Here is a link to Broward County’s Building Safety Inspection Program:https://www.broward.org/CodeAppeals/Documents/Broward%20BORA%20Policy%2005-05.pdf

Here is a link to Miami-Dade County’s Building Recertification Program:https://www.miamidade.gov/global/economy/building/recertification.page

Here is a link to Miami-Dade County’s Municipal Code:https://library.municode.com/fl/miami_-_dade_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIIICOOR_CH8BUCO_ARTIAD_S8-11EXBU

What does the structural inspection process entail?2024-01-11T13:22:46-04:00

The structural inspection involves visually examining the building’s general condition, focusing on components supporting dead or live loads, wind loads, and electrical systems. The goal is to evaluate the effects of time on construction materials and identify potential issues such as cracks, distortion, and signs of leakage.

What are the key components of the electrical inspection process?2024-01-11T13:23:13-04:00

The electrical inspection covers various critical components, including electric service, branch circuits, conduit raceways, emergency lighting, and an infrared thermography inspection for systems operating at 400 amperes or greater.

How does the program address historical documents and permitting?2024-01-11T13:23:31-04:00

The program encourages investigating historical documents with the local jurisdiction to enhance the overall inspection. Understanding the building’s structural system, components, and intended design guides inspectors to critical areas. Violations and unpermitted activities are thoroughly examined during recertification inspections.

What happens if repair needs are identified during the recertification process?2024-01-11T13:25:30-04:00

Repairs identified in the recertification report will likely require permits. Do not proceed with repairs without obtaining proper permits. Some repairs may not require a permit, but most other work will, and proceeding without permits may lead to code violations.

Why is it important to use approved report forms and submit reports concisely?2024-01-11T13:24:23-04:00

Using approved report forms is vital for a clear understanding of the building’s conditions and successful completion of the recertification process. Reports must be concise, with required photos in color and sufficient resolution to detail the conditions being shown, as audits may occur at the discretion of the Building Official. To ensure this process is managed correctly, rely on the expertise of Building Mavens. Our team has completed this process hundreds of times. Contact us today.

How can I schedule a building recertification inspection for my property?2024-03-29T16:12:03-04:00

To schedule a building recertification inspection, please contact us via our website or by phone. We’ll discuss your specific needs and arrange for an inspection at a time that suits you best.