Florida Building Commission Proposes Changes to Condo Reform Legislation in Wake of Surfside Collapse

Published Date: February 6, 2023

In response to the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, the Florida Building Commission has recommended changes to the state’s condo building safety legislation enacted last year. The commission’s 109-page report aims to address inspection requirements and suggests modifications to the existing law.

 

Key Recommendations

Eliminating Coastal vs. Inland Distinctions

The report proposes the removal of distinctions between coastal and inland properties in the legislation “until there is evidence to support their being treated differently.” This aims to standardize inspection requirements statewide for condo buildings three stories or taller.

Evidence-Based Distinction

If state lawmakers choose to maintain the coastal vs. inland distinction, the report recommends using a map or the Coastal Construction Control Line to determine the distance from the coast. This approach seeks to establish a more evidence-based rationale for treating buildings differently based on their location.

Inspection Safety and Milestone Program

The commission seeks authority to establish an inspection safety and milestone program to enhance oversight and monitoring of inspections, ensuring safety and compliance of condo buildings.

Local-Level Rule Changes

The commission proposes allowing local authorities to strengthen condo inspection and safety requirements, providing flexibility to adapt regulations to local conditions and needs.

Reserve Funding Requirement

The May 2022 legislation eliminated the ability of condo and homeowners’ associations to waive the funding of their reserves. Associations must fully fund their reserves by January 1, 2025.

Transparency and Disclosure

In Miami-Dade County, condo and homeowners’ associations are now required to disclose their financial and structural health publicly. This includes filing structural reports, financial statements, insurance policies, budgets, and details of major planned projects annually, aiming to increase transparency and accountability.

 

Conclusion

These recommendations aim to enhance the safety, accountability, and regulation of condominium buildings in Florida in response to the Surfside tragedy. The Florida Building Commission comprises members from various industries, including insurance, construction, building management, architecture, government, and gas. These proposals will be addressed at the commission’s upcoming meeting, subject to further consideration and potential legislative action.

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Original Article By Katherine Kallergis- The Real Deal

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