Construction Bills: Recent Changes to Construction Laws

AuthorBy Brian R. Zimmerman and Rowan T. Mason
THE CONSTRUCTION LAWYER 45Volume 42 Issue 2 2022
Florida Enacts Law Requiring
Structural Inspections of
Condominiums in Wake of
Surfside Collapse
On May 26, 2022, Florida Gov-
ernor Ron DeSantis signed into
law Florida Senate Bill 4-D
establishing mandatory struc-
tural inspections and structural
integrity reserve studies for
condominium and cooperative
Milestone Inspections
The law creates Section 553.899,
under which all condominium
associations1 and coopera-
tive associations2 (together
“Association(s)”) are required
to obtain a “milestone inspection” after 30 years of its
construction, and then every 10 years thereafter if the
building is three or more stories high.3 If the building is
located within three miles of a coastline, the inspection
must be after 25 years, and then every 10 years thereafter.
The milestone inspection must be completed by December
31 of the year in which the building reaches 30 years of
If the Association building is already older than 30
years, the milestone inspection must be completed before
December 31, 2024.6
Once a building reaches the age requiring a milestone
inspection, the local enforcement agency must provide
written notice of the need for the inspection to the Asso-
ciation, by certied mail.
The Association must complete
the “phase one of the milestone inspection” within 180
days of the notice from the local enforcement agency.
Notwithstanding the notice requirement, the Association
is responsible for arranging the inspection, ensuring com-
pliance, and all costs of the inspection.9
A “milestone inspection” is dened as a structural
inspection of a building, including an inspection of load-
bearing walls and the primary structural members and
primary structural systems, by a licensed architect or engi-
neer authorized to practice in the state; the inspection is
designed to determine whether the condition of the build-
ing is in compliance with the Florida Building Code or
re safety code.
The purpose of such inspection is to
attest to the life safety and adequacy of the structural
components of the building and to the extent reason-
ably possible, determine the general structural condition
of the building as it affects the safety of such building. If
necessary, a determination is to be made of any neces-
sary maintenance, repair, or replacement of any structural
component of the building.
There are two phases to the milestone inspection:
phase one and phase two.
For a phase one milestone inspection, the architect/
engineer must perform a visual examination of habit-
able and uninhabitable areas of a building, including the
major structural components of a building, and provide
a qualitative assessment of the structural conditions of
the building.11 If the architect/engineer nds no signs
of substantial structural deterioration to the building
components upon visual examination, a phase two exami-
nation is not required.12
A phase two inspection must be performed if any
substantial structural deterioration is identied in the
phase one inspection.13 A phase two inspection may be
as extensive or limited as necessary to fully assess areas
of structural distress in order to conrm the building is
structurally sound and safe for its use, and to recommend
a program for assessing and repairing distressed or dam-
aged portions of the building.14 A phase two inspection
may involve destructive or nondestructive testing, at the
inspector’s discretion.
All repairs as required under the phase two inspection
must be commenced within 365 days after issuance of the
report.15 If repairs are not commenced, the local enforce-
ment agency may review and determine if the building is
unsafe for occupancy.16 The local county commissioner
may adopt an ordinance requiring a specic time to com-
mence repairs.17
The phase one and phase two inspection reports must
be submitted with a sealed copy with a separate summary
of the material ndings and recommendations to the
Association and the building ofcial of the local enforce-
ment agency.18 The report must include the following:
a. Seal and signature of licensed architect or engi-
neer who performed the inspection;
b. Indication of the manner and type of inspection;
c. Identication of any substantial structural dete-
rioration within a reasonable professional probability
based on the scope of the inspection and description of
the extent of any deterioration or recommended repair;
d. Statement noting whether unsafe or dangerous
conditions exist under the Florida Building Code;
e. Recommendation of any remedial or preventa-
tive repair for items that are damaged but do not meet
the denition of substantial structural deterioration; and
(f) Identification of items requiring further
The Association must distribute a copy of the reports
to each unit owner, regardless of the ndings or recom-
mendation, must post it in a conspicuous place on the
property, and post it on the Association’s website, if
Rowan T. Mason
Brian T. Zimmeran
By Rowan T. Mason and Brian
R. Zimmerman

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