Mike Silvers, CPRC, Silvers Systems Inc. and FRSA Director of Technical Services
The Florida Building Commission (FBC) met in December to consider the Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) recommendations for final changes to the 8th Edition 2023 Florida Building Code. The code modification cycle is a long and arduous process that started immediately after the 7th Edition 2020 Florida Building Code became effective on December 31, 2020. Two FBC workgroups and three meetings of the TACs – with many steps in between – had brought us to this point. With the TAC’s recommendations available, the Commission made its final decisions on what changes will occur when the new code takes effect on December 31, 2023.
For this code modification cycle, FRSA developed 29 code modifications (mods) and took positions on 87 roofing related mods submitted by other entities. Of the 29 FRSA mods, 28 were approved and will be incorporated into the code and one was denied due to a conflict with similar code language that was passed in May by the Legislature during a special session and is now in statute and the current code. This modification addressed a “25% Rule” exception that the Legislature liked and modified. While property insurers were due for some much needed relief, I believe the changes unfortunately went a little too far. Of the 87 modifications submitted by others that we took positions on, the TACs and Commissioners agreed with FRSA’s position on nearly all of them.
These extraordinary results may make FRSA’s accomplishments appear easily attained. That perception, however, would be completely inaccurate. We succeeded thanks to the extended efforts by a group of dedicated volunteers who work on FRSA’s Codes Committee and Subcommittee, the FRSA-TRI Tile Manual Review Committee and especially those who serve on TACs and the Building Commission. In particular, FBC Commissioner Brian Swope, CPRC, Tampa Roofing Company, Roofing TAC Chair and FRSA Past President, was instrumental in moving our positions forward.
Some industry members described a group of our most important changes as “ambitious” and that is a fair assessment. We were attempting to:
Clarify the current five-page underlayment requirements for roof coverings other than tile and incorporate them into the HVHZ,
2. Bring the code’s weak HVHZ prescriptive tile underlayment methods into ASCE 7 compliance and
3. Standardize underlayment test methods.
This certainly proved challenging. At the same time, we were trying to convince the Board and Code Administration Division of Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources that providing a proper load path for tile and using selfadhering underlayment applied direct-to-deck (SAU-DD) was not some kind of a scheme on our part. As hard as we tried to engage Miami-Dade officials over the past year, our concerns continued to be dismissed. Their opposition to our changes – changes that were embraced by the roofing industry – seemed untenable, if not completely unreasonable. From our perspective, nothing we sought to accomplish should have been controversial. Read more.