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Why Florida has some of the Strictest Building Codes for Metal Buildings

Florida's building codes are stringent

As attractive as Florida might be for a business to take root and establish itself, there can be many challenges to deal with in the process. Obtaining the appropriate business license, adequate funding, and operational documentation represent just a few of these challenges.

For many Florida-based businesses that rely on the use of metal buildings, another significant challenge is involved—maintaining compliance with state-mandated building codes.

Florida has some of the strictest building codes for metal building erection, and in this article, Capital Steel Industries is going to explain why this is.

What Are Florida’s Building Codes?

Essentially, Florida’s building codes are a collective ‘statement’ on what is and is not safe for those who use or live in buildings constructed within state lines.

In other words, Florida’s building codes contain all of the building safety rules and regulations that Florida has set forth in an effort to maintain safe, functional buildings throughout the state. These codes are developed and distributed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, or DBPR.

So, what buildings are regulated by these codes, and does their location or intended use matter at all? The answer is all of them.

According to FloridaHousing.org, the fifth and newest edition of the Florida building code compilation covers the “design, construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, and demolition of any public and private buildings, structures, and facilities in the state.”

That pretty much covers everything.

By ensuring that newly constructed buildings are ‘up to code,’ the state of Florida safeguards its population. In this way, building codes are immensely helpful for the public.

But, they can be a hassle for builders.

It’s a fairly well-known fact throughout the metal building construction industry that Florida has some of the most stringent building codes found anywhere in the United States. This leads many contractors to ask the question, ‘why’?

A Florida Building Code Chronology

To truly understand the Florida building code, we need to take a trip back to 1974. In that year, Florida adopted a ‘bare minimum’ building code that was created as a public safety measure. At the time, it was already a well-known fact that high winds and heavy rainfall were environmental concerns that needed to be incorporated into any smart building code approach.

But then, Hurricane Andrew hit the South Florida area in 1992, a catastrophe that would permanently change Florida’s building code so that all new construction met a higher standard of wind resistance. It’s hard to overstate just how devastating this hurricane was, and the ensuing aftermath identified areas where the prior building code was seriously lacking.

In 1996, the state of Florida moved to consolidate the way that the various counties in the state enforced building codes. Up to that point, there were more than 400 Florida jurisdictions that had their own ways of doing things. This marked the inception of the Statewide Florida Building Code.

Some of the numerous aspects of building construction that are addressed in the statewide code include:

  • Structural strength (including wind resistance)
  • Means of egress (exiting the building)
  • Stability
  • Sanitation
  • Lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Energy use
  • More
A lot of thought goes into your steel building. This is an image of a Capital Steel floor plan.

The statewide Florida building code supersedes any other local building code, which means that any building erected anywhere in the state must comply.

 

Every three years, the Florida Building Commission reviews the statewide building code to ensure that it is in-line with national and international building code developments.

This means incorporating changes to how permitting processes work, when plans are reviewed and how, and best practices related to the installation of gas lines, electrical systems, and structural support.

The purpose behind this ongoing change is to continue to protect the public as well as investors, insurance companies, and other building stakeholders. Considering how tumultuous and unpredictable Florida weather can be, it’s important for the Florida Building Commission to keep current on the standards to which every single building in Florida is held.

The Good News: Steel Is Strong

Compared with traditional, wood-framed buildings, steel buildings offer superior elemental protection. For this reason, Florida steel buildings are outstanding candidates for new buildings in the Sunshine State.

Because of the unsurpassed amount of strength provided by steel, compliance with the statewide Florida building code is much easier to manage.

There are still going to be numerous other factors to consider, and the overall building process very well may take longer in Florida because of all of the ‘red tape,’ but with steel, the strength can’t be denied.

Steel frames are strong and that helps assist compliance with Florida building codes. This is an image of Capital Steel frame.