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House Bill 1307

House Bill hb1307

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

        By Representative Cantens






  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to private provider plans

  3         review and building code inspection services;

  4         creating s. 553.791, F.S.; providing

  5         alternative procedures for building plans

  6         review and inspection; providing definitions;

  7         authorizing use of a private provider to review

  8         plans and make building code inspections under

  9         certain circumstances; providing a limitation;

10         requiring notice to the local building

11         official; specifying notice information;

12         specifying requirements, duties, and

13         responsibilities of a private provider;

14         providing for a certificate of compliance;

15         providing duties of the local building

16         official; providing procedures for approval or

17         denial of a certificate of compliance or a

18         building permit; prohibiting local entities

19         from adopting or enforcing certain laws, rules,

20         procedures, or standards; requiring a private

21         provider to maintain certain insurance;

22         subjecting private providers to certain

23         disciplinary provisions; limiting use of a

24         private provider under certain circumstances;

25         providing for exempting certain local

26         enforcement agencies under certain

27         circumstances for certain purposes; requiring

28         local building code enforcement agencies to

29         develop and maintain a quality assurance

30         auditing process for certain purposes;

31         providing an effective date.

                                  1

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

  2

  3         Section 1.  Section 553.791, Florida Statutes, is

  4  created to read:

  5         553.791  Alternative plans review and inspection.--

  6         (1)  As used in this section, the term:

  7         (a)  "Applicable codes" means the Florida Building Code

  8  and any local technical amendments to the Florida Building

  9  Code but does not include the applicable minimum fire

10  prevention and firesafety codes adopted pursuant to chapter

11  633.

12         (b)  "Building" means any construction, erection,

13  alteration, demolition, or improvement of, or addition to, any

14  structure for which permitting by a local enforcement agency

15  is required.

16         (c)  "Building code inspection services" means those

17  services described in s. 468.603(6) and (7) involving the

18  review of building plans to determine compliance with

19  applicable codes and those inspections required by law of each

20  phase of construction for which permitting by a local

21  enforcement agency is required to determine compliance with

22  applicable codes.

23         (d)  "Duly authorized representative" means an agent of

24  the private provider identified in the permit application who

25  reviews plans or performs inspections as provided by this

26  section and who holds a license under chapter 471 or chapter

27  481 or a certificate under part XII of chapter 468.

28         (e)  "Local building official" means the individual

29  within the governing jurisdiction responsible for direct

30  regulatory administration or supervision of plans review,

31  enforcement, and inspection of any construction, erection,

                                  2

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  alteration, demolition, or substantial improvement of, or

  2  addition to, any structure for which permitting is required to

  3  indicate compliance with applicable codes and includes any

  4  duly authorized designee of such person.

  5         (f)  "Permit application" means a properly completed

  6  and submitted application for:

  7         1.  The requested building or construction permit.

  8         2.  The plans reviewed by the private provider.

  9         3.  The affidavit from the private provider required

10  pursuant to subsection (5).

11         4.  Any applicable fees.

12         5.  Any documents required by the local building

13  official to determine that the fee owner has secured all other

14  government approvals required by law.

15         (g)  "Private provider" means a person who holds a

16  license under chapter 471 or chapter 481 or a standard

17  certificate under part XII of chapter 468.

18         (h)  "Request for certificate of occupancy or

19  certificate of completion" means a properly completed and

20  executed application for:

21         1.  A certificate of occupancy or certificate of

22  completion.

23         2.  A certificate of compliance from the private

24  provider required pursuant to subsection (10).

25         3.  Any applicable fees.

26         4.  Any documents required by the local building

27  official to determine that the fee owner has secured all other

28  government approvals required by law.

29         (2)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the

30  fee owner of a building may use a private provider to provide

31  building code inspection services with regard to such building

                                  3

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  and may make payment directly to the private provider for the

  2  provision of such services.  All such services shall be the

  3  subject of a written contract between the private provider, or

  4  the private provider's firm, and the fee owner.

  5  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the fee owner may

  6  elect to use a private provider to provide both plans review

  7  and required building inspections or to use the local

  8  enforcement agency for one or both of such purposes.

  9         (3)  A private provider may not provide building code

10  inspection services or plans review pursuant to this section

11  upon any building designed or constructed by the private

12  provider or the private provider's firm.

13         (4)  A fee owner using a private provider to provide

14  building code inspection services shall notify the local

15  building official at the time of permit application on a form

16  to be adopted by the commission. This notice shall include the

17  following information:

18         (a)  The services to be performed by the private

19  provider, whether plans review, required building inspections,

20  or both.

21         (b)  The name, firm, address, telephone number, and

22  facsimile number of each private provider who is performing or

23  will perform such services, his or her professional license or

24  certification number, qualification statements or resumes,

25  and, if required by the local building official, a certificate

26  of insurance demonstrating that professional liability

27  insurance coverage is in place for the private provider's

28  firm, the private provider, and any duly authorized

29  representative in the amounts required by this section.

30         (c)  An acknowledgment from the fee owner in

31  substantially the following form:

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1

  2         I have elected to use one or more private

  3         providers to provide building code plans review

  4         and/or inspection services on the building that

  5         is the subject of the enclosed permit

  6         application, as authorized by s. 553.791,

  7         Florida Statutes.  I understand that the local

  8         building official may not review the plans

  9         submitted or perform the required building

10         inspections to determine compliance with the

11         applicable codes, except to the extent

12         specified in said law.  Instead, plans review

13         and/or required building inspections will be

14         performed by licensed or certified personnel

15         identified in the application.  The law

16         requires minimum insurance requirements for

17         such personnel, but I understand that I may

18         require more insurance to protect my interests.

19         By executing this form, I acknowledge that I

20         have made inquiry regarding the competence of

21         the licensed or certified personnel and the

22         level of their insurance and am satisfied that

23         my interests are adequately protected.  I agree

24         to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the

25         local government and the local building

26         official for any and all claims arising from my

27         use of these licensed or certified personnel to

28         perform building code inspection services with

29         respect to the building that is the subject of

30         the enclosed permit application.

31

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  If the fee owner makes any changes to the listed private

  2  providers or the services to be provided by those private

  3  providers, the fee owner shall, within 24 hours after any

  4  change, update the notice to reflect such changes.

  5         (5)  A private provider performing plans review under

  6  this section shall review construction plans to determine

  7  compliance with the applicable codes. Upon determining that

  8  the plans reviewed comply with the applicable codes, the

  9  private provider shall prepare an affidavit or affidavits on a

10  form adopted by the commission certifying, under oath, that

11  the following is true and correct to the best of the private

12  provider's knowledge and belief:

13         (a)  The plans were reviewed by the affiant, who is

14  duly authorized to perform plans review pursuant to this

15  section and holds the appropriate license or certificate.

16         (b)  The plans comply with the applicable codes.

17         (6)(a)  Within 30 business days after receipt of a

18  permit application, the local building official shall issue

19  the requested permit or provide a written notice to the permit

20  applicant identifying the specific plan features that do not

21  comply with the applicable codes, as well as the specific code

22  chapters and sections.  If the local building official does

23  not provide a written notice of the plan deficiencies within

24  the prescribed 30-day period, the permit application shall be

25  deemed approved as a matter of law and the permit shall be

26  issued by the local building official on the next business

27  day.

28         (b)  If the local building official provides a written

29  notice of plan deficiencies to the permit applicant within the

30  prescribed 30-day period, the 30-day period shall be tolled

31  pending resolution of the matter.  To resolve the plan

                                  6

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  deficiencies, the permit applicant may elect to dispute the

  2  deficiencies pursuant to subsection (12) or to submit

  3  revisions to correct the deficiencies.

  4         (c)  If the permit applicant submits revisions, the

  5  local building official has the remainder of the tolled 30-day

  6  period plus 5 business days to issue the requested permit or

  7  to provide a second written notice to the permit applicant

  8  stating which of the previously identified plan features

  9  remain in noncompliance with the applicable codes, with

10  specific reference to the relevant code chapters and sections.

11  If the local building official does not provide the second

12  written notice within the prescribed time period, the permit

13  shall be issued by the local building official on the next

14  business day.

15         (d)  If the local building official provides a second

16  written notice of plan deficiencies to the permit applicant

17  within the prescribed time period, the permit applicant may

18  elect to dispute the deficiencies pursuant to subsection (12)

19  or to submit additional revisions to correct the deficiencies.

20  For all revisions submitted after the first revision, the

21  local building official has an additional 5 business days to

22  issue the requested permit or to provide a written notice to

23  the permit applicant stating which of the previously

24  identified plan features remain in noncompliance with the

25  applicable codes, with specific reference to the relevant code

26  chapters and sections.

27         (7)  A private provider performing required inspections

28  under this section shall inspect each phase of construction as

29  required by the applicable codes. The private provider shall

30  be permitted to send a duly authorized representative to the

31  building site to perform the required inspections, provided

                                  7

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  all required reports and certifications are prepared by and

  2  bear the signature and seal of the private provider. The

  3  contractor's contractual or legal obligations are not relieved

  4  by any action of the private provider.

  5         (8)  A private provider performing required inspections

  6  under this section shall provide notice to the local building

  7  official of the date and approximate time of any such

  8  inspection no later than 1 business day prior to the scheduled

  9  inspection. The local building official may visit the building

10  site as often as necessary to verify that the private provider

11  is performing all required inspections.

12         (9)  Upon completing the required inspections at each

13  applicable phase of construction, the private provider shall

14  record such inspections on a form acceptable to the local

15  building official.  These inspection records shall reflect

16  those inspections required by the applicable codes of each

17  phase of construction for which permitting by a local

18  enforcement agency is required. The private provider, before

19  leaving the project site, shall post each completed inspection

20  record, indicating pass or fail, at the site and provide the

21  record to the local building official within 2 business days.

22  Records of all required and completed inspections shall be

23  maintained at the building site at all times and made

24  available for review by the local building official.  The

25  private provider shall report to the local enforcement agency

26  any condition that poses an immediate threat to public safety

27  and welfare.

28         (10)  Upon completion of all required inspections, the

29  private provider shall prepare a certificate of compliance, on

30  a form acceptable to the local building official, summarizing

31  the inspections performed and including a written

                                  8

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  representation, under oath, that the stated inspections have

  2  been performed and that, to the best of the private provider's

  3  knowledge and belief, the building construction inspected

  4  complies with the approved plans and applicable codes.  The

  5  statement required of the private provider shall be

  6  substantially in the following form:

  7

  8         To the best of my knowledge and belief, the

  9         building components and site improvements

10         outlined herein and inspected under my

11         authority have been completed in conformance

12         with the approved plans and the applicable

13         codes.

14

15         (11)  Within 2 business days after receipt of a request

16  for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of completion

17  and the applicant's presentation of a certificate of

18  compliance and approval of all other government approvals

19  required by law, the local building official shall issue the

20  certificate of occupancy or certificate of completion or

21  provide a notice to the applicant identifying the specific

22  deficiencies, as well as the specific code chapters and

23  sections.  If the local building official does not provide

24  notice of the deficiencies within the prescribed 2-day period,

25  the request for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of

26  completion shall be deemed granted and the certificate of

27  occupancy or certificate of completion shall be issued by the

28  local building official on the next business day.  To resolve

29  any identified deficiencies, the applicant may elect to

30  dispute the deficiencies pursuant to subsection (12) or to

31

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  submit a corrected request for a certificate of occupancy or

  2  certificate of completion.

  3         (12)  If the local building official determines that

  4  the building construction or plans do not comply with the

  5  applicable codes, the official may deny the permit or request

  6  for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of completion,

  7  as appropriate, or may issue a stop-work order for the project

  8  or any portion thereof, if the official determines that such

  9  noncompliance poses a threat to public safety and welfare,

10  subject to the following:

11         (a)  The local building official shall be available to

12  meet with the private provider within 2 business days to

13  resolve any dispute after issuing a stop-work order or

14  providing notice to the applicant denying a permit or request

15  for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of completion.

16         (b)  If the local building official and private

17  provider are unable to resolve the dispute, the matter shall

18  be referred to the local enforcement agency's board of

19  appeals, if one exists, which shall consider the matter at its

20  next scheduled meeting or sooner.  Any decisions by the local

21  enforcement agency's board of appeals, or local building

22  official if there is no board of appeals, may be appealed to

23  the commission pursuant to s. 553.77(1)(h).

24         (c)  Notwithstanding any provision of this section, any

25  decisions regarding the issuance of a building permit,

26  certificate of occupancy, or certificate of completion may be

27  reviewed by the local enforcement agency's board of appeals,

28  if one exists.  Any decision by the local enforcement agency's

29  board of appeals, or local building official if there is no

30  board of appeals, may be appealed to the commission pursuant

31

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1  to s. 553.77(1)(h), which shall consider the matter at the

  2  commission's next scheduled meeting.

  3         (13)  For the purposes of this section, any notice to

  4  be provided by the local building official shall be deemed to

  5  be provided to the person or entity when successfully

  6  transmitted to the facsimile number listed for that person or

  7  entity in the permit application or revised permit

  8  application, or, if no facsimile number is stated, when

  9  actually received by that person or entity.

10         (14)  No local enforcement agency, local building

11  official, or local government may adopt or enforce any laws,

12  rules, procedures, or standards more stringent than those

13  prescribed by this section.

14         (15)  A private provider may perform building code

15  inspection services under this section only if the private

16  provider maintains insurance for professional and

17  comprehensive general liability with minimum policy limits of

18  $1 million per occurrence relating to all services performed

19  as a private provider, including tail coverage for a minimum

20  of 5 years subsequent to the performance of building code

21  inspection services.

22         (16)  When performing building code inspection

23  services, a private provider is subject to the disciplinary

24  guidelines of the applicable professional board with

25  jurisdiction over his or her license or certification under

26  chapter 468, chapter 471, or chapter 481.  Any complaint

27  processing, investigation, and discipline that arise out of a

28  private provider's performance of building code inspection

29  services shall be conducted by the applicable professional

30  board.

31

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1         (17)  The fee owner of a building located within the

  2  jurisdiction of a local enforcement agency that the commission

  3  certifies as exempt from this section may not elect to use a

  4  private provider to provide building code inspection services

  5  with regard to such building.  The commission may certify a

  6  local enforcement agency as exempt from this section if the

  7  local enforcement agency demonstrates that it routinely

  8  performs building code inspection services within the

  9  timeframes established in this section and that a majority of

10  the following local entities consents to the exemption:

11         (a)  The local chapter of the Associated General

12  Contractors.

13         (b)  The local chapter of the Florida Chapter of the

14  American Institute of Architects.

15         (c)  The local chapter of the Florida Home Builders

16  Association.

17

18  A certification of exemption shall be valid for a period of 1

19  year and must be renewed annually.

20         (18)  Each local building code enforcement agency shall

21  develop and maintain a quality assurance process to audit

22  construction projects in which privatized plans reviews and

23  inspections were used.  These audits shall track performance

24  of building code inspection services by private providers

25  operating within the local jurisdiction to conduct such

26  services within their jurisdiction.

27         Section 2.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a

28  law.

29

30

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    Florida House of Representatives - 2002                HB 1307

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  1            *****************************************

  2                          HOUSE SUMMARY

  3
      Authorizes a property owner to use a private provider to
  4    review plans and make building code inspections as an
      alternative to such activities being performed by a local
  5    building official. Specifies requirements, duties, and
      responsibilities of a private provider. Provides
  6    procedures for application and issuance of a building
      permit, certificate of compliance, or certificate of
  7    occupancy. Provides duties of the local building
      official. Provides procedures for approval or denial of a
  8    certificate of compliance or a building permit. Prohibits
      local entities from adopting or enforcing laws, rules,
  9    procedures, or standards more stringent than those
      specified. Requires a private provider to maintain
10    liability insurance. Subjects private providers to
      applicable disciplinary provisions. Limits use of a
11    private provider under specified circumstances. Provides
      for exempting a local enforcement agency from such
12    alternative process. Requires local building code
      enforcement agencies to develop and maintain a quality
13    assurance auditing process. See bill for details.

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