FLORIDA

In a unanimous vote, the Florida Building Commission recently moved to change the new 2004 Florida Building Code to meet the existing level of wind requirements in the 2001 code. The commission’s action ensures that buildings in high-wind areas be constructed to withstand basic wind speeds of 110 miles per hour.

The action was in response to an oversight in the new code that would have lessened the requirements for wind-resistant construction in the state’s interior and made homes over a large area vulnerable to high winds.

The Institute for Business & Home Safety brought the discrepancy to the commission’s attention. “From our first correspondence on the matter with the commission, it has consistently moved to correct the code, and its members should be commended for taking this swift action to do so,” said Tim Reinhold, vice president of engineering for IBHS.

In August 2003, the Florida Building Commission voted to adopt the International Residential and Building Codes with state-specific amendments. Because those codes specified that buildings stand up under 100 mph wind speeds, standards would have been weakened in some areas.

The new code was to have been enacted in January 2005. As a result of the commission’s vote and the due process required, enactment of the new code has been postponed until July 1, 2005. The delay is intended to allow extra time for building officials and communities affected by Hurricane Charley to make the transition to the new code. The commission also has worked to reduce the impact of the delay on industries that were already developing products for use when the new code takes effect.