What is a 40 Year Recertification?
The 40 Year Recertification is an ordinance in FL law that requires buildings to be recertified by a Licensed Florida Engineer or Architect for Structural and Electrical Safety, after 40 years of construction. FL law requires that when a building reaches 40 years after initial construction, it is recertified by a licensed Florida engineer or Architect for structural and electrical safety. Thereafter, a reinspection is needed every 10 years.
In Broward County, the 40-year Building Safety Inspection Program was created 15 years ago and was modeled after Miami-Dade County’s program, which is now more than 30 years old. Both programs are similar in that they call for specific structural and electrical safety checkpoints as part of the inspections. Certain properties may be exempt, such as schools under the jurisdiction of the Broward County School Board, U.S. Government and State of Florida buildings, and structures built on Indian reservations. Under Miami-Dade County Code, some exemptions include: buildings under 2,000 square feet, however, in Broward County, the program excludes all buildings under 3,500 square feet.
These inspections are designed to protect people from potentially dangerous building conditions that can bring severe repercussions.
The Owner or Owner’s representative must hire a registered Architect and/or a professional Engineer to perform all electrical and structural inspections for the building and submit a completed report to the proper city compliance department for review and approval.
What is the 40-year recertification process?
In our experience, the majority of building owners become aware of the need for 40-year recertification of a property when they receive a notification/inspection notice from the county building department, via certified mail. This happens around the 40 year anniversary of the building being constructed.
From that moment, the owner will have 90 days to hire the certified engineer, who will carry out the structural and electrical inspection of the building and then create the report to send out to the city.
This report will indicate which parts of the building need to be repaired or do not meet compliance standards. if repairs are not required, the report will state this.
Failure to submit the certification report within the time limit could result in a penalty.
Even if the owner has not yet received a Notice of Required Inspection by the code compliance department of the county or city, it is the property owner’s responsibility to acquire the initial 40 or 50-year recertification and to recertify the building every 10 years thereafter.
After sending this report, the owner will have a period of 180 days to carry out the necessary work required as part of the recertification including building modifications and/or repairs as indicated in accordance with all applicable sections of the Florida Building Code.
After the repairs have been carried out, the structural engineer must verify that the repair work has been completed according to the initial report.
Florida’s building code is more stringent than other states because of the unique conditions, such as the impact of the ocean on properties and hurricane threats. These are some of the many reasons reports must be prepared by a professional licensed engineer or registered architect in the state of Florida.
What kind of inspections are carried out?
During the inspection, all aspects of the construction foundation and electrical systems are analyzed. The inspection consists of the following:
- Steel frames
- Wood frames
- Concrete frames
- Electric service
- Duct pipes
- Emergency light
- Fire Alarms
How to know the age of the building?
In order to verify the age of the building we recommend you search for its folio number. Each city provides this information and some have it available on their respective property appraiser website.
If the building is not yet 40 years old, the owner is not legally obligated to do anything.
Historically, the Property Appraiser’s Office registered information about the age of a building through a “property registration card” that was created each year for each property and used for local tax calculations. In the early 1970s, these hard copy files were transferred to an electronic records system known as (VSAM), Virtual Storage Access Method, which included the date the given structure was built.
What happens if the 40-year recertification is not done?
Failure to submit the required recertification report will result in a violation notice or citation and this matter is referred to the Unsafe Structures Unit department. This can lead to condemnation proceedings initiating.
The owner can be held liable for payment of a maximum fine of $10,510, and also be required to pay all enforcement costs incurred by the department related to the unsafe structure enforcement proceedings.
Furthermore, upon issuance of the Notice of Violation, the building must be vacated and in rare cases, the owner may even have to demolish the building.
Building owners must be proactive and responsive to the 40-year recertification process or suffer the consequences of not following the proper requirements.
General disclaimer: Please remember that requirements may vary from city to city and from time to time. Please consult with your local city building department for the most up-to-date information.
Do you need help with 40-year recertification? Looking to hire the right professional? Just Ask G. Batista (954) 434-2053