BY WILLIAM BRACKEN, PE, SI, CFM
As of Jan. 1, 2018, the 6th edition of the Florida Building Code went into effect throughout Florida. The updated Code editions that have changed include:
- Florida Building Code: Building
- Florida Building Code: Residential
- Florida Building Code: Existing Building
- Florida Building Code: Accessibility
- Florida Building Code: Plumbing
- Florida Building Code: Mechanical
- Florida Building Code: Fuel Gas
- Florida Building Code: Energy Conservation
- Florida Building Code: Test Protocols for High Velocity Hurricanes
Given that Florida’s legislature saw fit to stop automatically adopting the latest version of the International Building Code, it is critical that design professionals whose practice includes items regulated by the Florida Building Code, stay abreast of each new version. In fact, for engineers licensed in Florida there is a statutory and an administrative requirement to do just that.
Section 471.0195, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 61G15-22.001, Florida Administrative Code, require licensed engineers “actively participating in the design of engineering works or systems in connection with buildings, structures, or facilities and systems covered by the Florida Building Code” to complete at least one advanced Florida Building Code course applicable to that licensee’s area of practice. Further, the course is required to be designated as specialized or advanced by the Florida Building Commission, and completed within 12 months of each edition of the Florida Building Code effective date.
Therefore, licensees only have until Dec. 31, 2018, to:
- Complete at least one specialized or advanced Florida Building Code course approved by the FBC within the disciplines of civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, or general engineering; and
- Provide the Board with a copy of a certificate of completion that shows course number, course hours, Code edition year, and Code or course focus.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation provides a web portal for searching for FBC course providers.
On July 1, 2018, FBPE will begin updating FBPE’s licensure portal. If the board has not received proof of an appropriate course having been completed, the designation “Building Code Core Course Credit” listed under “Special Qualifications” will be removed as required by Section 471.0195, F.S.
Keep in mind that local jurisdictions have an obligation to notify FBPE when design documents are submitted for building construction permits by Florida licensees who are not in compliance with this section. Further, the Board is required to take those actions deemed appropriate when such noncompliance is determined to exist.
William C. Bracken, PE, SI, CFM, is a licensed Professional Engineer and Special Inspector in Florida, and is the president and principal engineer for Bracken Engineering, located in Tampa. Mr. Bracken has served on the FBPE Board since 2012 and served as Board chair for the years 2015 and 2016. He also served as the FBPE’s vice chair for the years 2013 and 2014.