Changes to Florida Building Code Effective Jan. 1, 2021

Amid the chaotic and tumultuous year we’ve just had, it’s understandable for the mandatory three-year update to the Florida Building Code (FBC) to slip the minds of construction professionals across the state. Throughout 202 (and well before that), countless meetings were held to optimize the FBC in order to lay out standards. The ultimate goal, of course, is to secure the health and general wellbeing of building occupants.

The result? Changes to wind load requirements and criteria for many structures in the Sunshine State, as well as some alterations to requirements for roof assemblies. We’ll concentrate on these important areas in this blog.

Updated Wind Loads and Pressures

The 7th Edition of the Florida Building Code includes an updated wind speed map for Risk Category IV buildings and structures. The updates are in accordance with ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) 7-16 and require construction professionals to recognize the higher reliabilities needed for these essential buildings. Such buildings and structures include hospitals, fire stations, and centers needed for emergency communications.

In Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, there is a single wind speed attached to Rick Category IV Buildings and Structures. Those speeds are:

  • 185 miles per hour in Broward County
  • 195 miles per hour in Miami-Dade County

You’ll also notice the wind load criteria has changed for rooftop solar panels and attached canopies. The changes to attached canopies only apply to those with a maximum slope height of two percent and canopies attached to buildings with roof heights of 60 feet or less. Additionally, there are higher design wind pressures on buildings’ roofs that have a mean height of at least 60 feet.

Roof Construction and Replacement Requirements

In the interests of preventing and mitigating wind and water damage to roofs in Florida, the 7th Edition of the FBC also lays out updated requirements for roof assemblies. For instance, the requirements related to installing fastener spacing, lapping, and number of plies has been strengthened in the new edition. Other changes have to do with roof mitigation, roof diaphragms that are resisting wind loads in regions regularly receiving high winds, and soffits (among others).

DDA Engineers, P.A. Stays On Top of FBC Updates

Our structural engineering firm has been closely monitoring the public comments and overall progress associated with the 7th Edition of the Florida Building Code. Through the decades we have been in business, we have meticulously compiled with all pertinent aspects of the FBC. Beyond the minimum standards laid out by the state, we are continuously recognizing and implementing ways to improve our consultative services and make them more efficient.

We look forward to speaking with you soon. Get in touch with our team here through our website or call us at 305-666-0711.

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