September 23, 2020
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Senate Bill 2078

Senate Bill sb2078

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078

    By Senator Constantine





    9-1200-02

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to building plan code

  3         compliance review; creating s. 553.791, F.S.;

  4         providing an alternative method of building

  5         plan code review and building inspections;

  6         providing for building owners to use private

  7         providers for building code inspection

  8         services; prescribing standards for such

  9         private providers; prescribing powers and

10         duties of private providers and local building

11         officials; providing an appeals process;

12         prohibiting certain local rules and standards;

13         providing for exemptions from alternative

14         review and inspections; providing an effective

15         date.

16

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

18

19         Section 1.  Section 553.791, Florida Statutes, is

20  created to read:

21         553.791  Alternative plans review and inspection.--

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

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

24  and any local technical amendments to the Florida Building

25  Code but does not include the applicable minimum fire

26  prevention and fire safety codes adopted pursuant to chapter

27  633.

28         (b)  "Request for certificate of occupancy or

29  certificate of completion" means a properly completed and

30  executed application for a certificate of occupancy or

31  certificate of completion, the certificate of compliance from

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
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  1  the private provider required pursuant to subsection (10), any

  2  applicable fees, and those documents required by the local

  3  building official to determine that the fee owner has secured

  4  all other government approvals required by law.

  5         (c)  "Building" means any construction, erection,

  6  alteration, demolition, addition to, or substantial

  7  improvement of any structure for which permitting by a local

  8  law enforcement agency is required.

  9         (d)  "Building code inspection services" means those

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

11  review of building plans to determine compliance with

12  applicable codes and those inspections required by law of each

13  phase of construction for which permitting by a local

14  enforcement agency is required to determine compliance with

15  applicable codes.

16         (e)  "Duly authorized representative" means an agent of

17  the provider identified in the permit application who reviews

18  plans or performs inspections as provided by this section and

19  who holds a license under chapter 481 or chapter 471 or a

20  certificate under part XII of chapter 468.

21         (f)  "Local building official" means the individual

22  within the governing jurisdiction responsible for direct

23  regulatory administration or supervision of plan review,

24  enforcement and inspection of any construction, erection,

25  alteration, demolition, addition to, or substantial

26  improvement of any structure for which permitting is required

27  to indicate compliance with applicable codes and includes any

28  duly authorized designee of such person.

29         (g)  "Permit application" means a properly completed

30  and submitted application for the requested building or

31  construction permit, the plans reviewed by the private

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
    9-1200-02




  1  provider, the affidavit from the private provider required

  2  pursuant to subsection (5), any applicable fees, and those

  3  documents required by the local building official to determine

  4  that the fee owner has secured all other government approvals

  5  required by law.

  6         (h)  "Private provider" means a person who holds a

  7  license under chapter 481 or chapter 471 or a standard

  8  certificate under part XII of chapter 468.

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

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

11  building code inspection services with regard to such building

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

13  provision of these services. All such services shall be the

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

15  the provider's firm, and the fee owner. Notwithstanding any

16  other provision of law, the fee owner may elect to use a

17  private provider to provide both plans review and required

18  building inspections or to use the local enforcement agency

19  for one or both of these purposes.

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

21  inspection services or plan review pursuant to this section

22  upon any building designed or constructed by the private

23  provider or the provider's firm.

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

25  building code inspection services shall notify the local

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

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

28  following information:

29         (a)  The services to be performed by a private

30  provider, whether plans review, required building inspections,

31  or both;

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
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  1         (b)  The name, firm, address, telephone number, and

  2  facsimile number of each private provider who is performing or

  3  will perform such services, their professional license or

  4  certification number, qualification statements or resumes,

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

  6  of insurance demonstrating that professional liability

  7  insurance coverage is in place for the provider's firm, the

  8  provider, and any duly authorized representative, in the

  9  amounts required by this section; and

10         (c)  An acknowledgment from the fee owner in

11  substantially the following form:

12

13         I have elected to use one or more private

14         provider to provide building code plan review

15         and/or inspection services on the building that

16         is the subject of the enclosed permit

17         application, as authorized by section 553.791,

18         Florida Statutes. I understand that the local

19         building official may not review the plans

20         submitted or perform the required building

21         inspections to determine compliance with the

22         applicable codes, except to the extent

23         specified in such law. Instead, plans review or

24         required building inspections will be performed

25         by licensed or certified personnel identified

26         in the application. The law requires minimum

27         insurance requirements for such personnel, but

28         I understand that I may require more insurance

29         to protect my interests. By executing this

30         form, I acknowledge that I have made inquiry

31         regarding the competence of the licensed or

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
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  1         certified personnel and the level of their

  2         insurance and am satisfied that my interests

  3         are adequately protected. I agree to indemnify,

  4         defend, and hold harmless the local government

  5         and the local building official for any and all

  6         claims arising from my use of these licensed or

  7         certified personnel to perform building code

  8         inspection services with respect to the

  9         building that is the subject of the enclosed

10         permit application.

11

12  The fee owner must, within 24 hours, update the notice if the

13  fee owner makes any changes to the listed private provider or

14  the services to be provided by those providers.

15         (5)  A private provider performing plans review under

16  this section shall review construction plans to determine

17  compliance with the applicable codes. Upon determining that

18  the plans reviewed comply with the applicable codes, the

19  private provider shall prepare an affidavit or affidavits on a

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

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

22  provider's knowledge and belief:

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

24  duly authorized to perform plans review pursuant to this

25  section and holds the appropriate license or certificate; and

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

27         (6)(a)  Upon receipt of a permit application, the local

28  building official has 30 business days after receipt either to

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

30  the permit applicant identifying the specific plan features

31  that do not comply with the applicable codes, as well as the

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
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  1  specific code chapters and sections. If the local building

  2  official does not provide a written notice of the plan

  3  deficiencies within the prescribed 30-day period, the permit

  4  application shall be deemed approved as a matter of law and

  5  the permit shall be issued by the local building official on

  6  the next business day.

  7         (b)  If the local business official provides a written

  8  notice of plan deficiencies to the permit applicant within the

  9  prescribed 30-day period, this 30-day period shall be tolled

10  pending resolution of the matter. To resolve the plan

11  deficiencies, the permit applicant may elect either to dispute

12  the deficiencies pursuant to subsection (12) or to submit

13  revisions to correct the deficiencies.

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

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

16  period, plus 5 business days, either to issue the requested

17  permit or to provide a second written notice to the permit

18  applicant stating which of the previously identified plan

19  features remain in noncompliance with the applicable codes,

20  with specific reference to the relevant code chapters and

21  sections. If the local building official does not provide the

22  second written notice within the prescribed time period, the

23  permit shall be issued by the local building official on the

24  next business day.

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

26  written notice of plan deficiencies to the permit applicant

27  within the prescribed time period, the permit applicant may

28  elect either to dispute the deficiencies pursuant to

29  subsection (12) or to submit additional revisions to correct

30  the deficiencies. For all revisions submitted after the first

31  revision, the local building official has an additional 5

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
    9-1200-02




  1  business days either to issue the requested permit or to

  2  provide a written notice to the permit applicant stating which

  3  of the previously identified plan features remain in

  4  noncompliance with the applicable codes, with specific

  5  reference to the relevant code chapters and sections.

  6         (7)  A private provider performing required inspections

  7  under this section shall inspect each phase of construction as

  8  required by the applicable codes. The private provider shall

  9  be permitted to send a duly authorized representative to the

10  building site to perform the required inspections, provided

11  that all required reports and certifications are prepared by

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

13  contractor's contractual or statutory obligations are not

14  relieved by any action of the private provider.

15         (8)  A private provider performing required inspections

16  under this section shall provide notice to the local building

17  official of the date and approximate time of any such

18  inspection no later than the business day before the scheduled

19  inspection. The local building official may visit the building

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

21  is performing all required inspections.

22         (9)  Upon completing the required inspections at each

23  applicable phase of construction, the private provider shall

24  record such inspections on a form acceptable to the local

25  building official. These inspection records shall reflect

26  those inspections required by the applicable codes of each

27  phase of construction for which permitting by a local

28  enforcement agency is required. The private provider, before

29  leaving the project site, shall post each completed inspection

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

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

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
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  1  Records of all required inspections completed to date shall be

  2  maintained at the building site at all times and made

  3  available for review by the local building official. The

  4  private provider shall report to the local enforcement agency

  5  any condition that poses an immediate threat to public safety

  6  and welfare.

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

  8  private provider shall prepare a certificate of compliance on

  9  a form acceptable to the local building official, summarizing

10  the inspections performed and including a written

11  representation, under oath, that the stated inspections have

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

13  knowledge and belief, the building construction inspected

14  complies with the approved plans and applicable codes. The

15  statement required of the private provider shall be

16  substantially in the following form:

17

18         "To the best of my knowledge and belief, the

19         building components and site improvements,

20         outlined herein and inspected under my

21         authority, have been completed in conformance

22         with the approved plans and the applicable

23         codes."

24

25         (11)  Upon receipt of a request for certificate of

26  occupancy or certificate of completion and upon presentation

27  of certificate of compliance and approval of all other

28  governmental approvals required by law, the local building

29  official has 2 business days after receipt either to issue the

30  certificate of occupancy or completion or to provide a notice

31  to the applicant identifying the specific deficiencies, as

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
    9-1200-02




  1  well as the specific code chapters and sections. If the local

  2  building official does not provide notice of the deficiencies

  3  within the prescribed 2-day period, the request for

  4  certificate of occupancy or completion shall be deemed granted

  5  and the certificate of occupancy or certificate of completion

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

  7  business day. To resolve any identified deficiencies, the

  8  applicant may elect either to dispute the deficiencies

  9  pursuant to subsection (12) or to submit a corrected request

10  for certificate of occupancy or completion.

11         (12)  If the local building official determines that

12  the building construction or plans do not comply with the

13  applicable codes, the building official may deny the permit or

14  request for a certificate of occupancy or completion, as

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

16  or any portion thereof, if it determines that such

17  noncompliance poses a threat to public safety and welfare,

18  subject to the following:

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

20  meet with the private provider within 2 business days after

21  issuing a stop-work order or providing notice to the applicant

22  denying a permit or request for certificate of occupancy or

23  completion to resolve any dispute.

24         (b)  If the local building official and private

25  provider are unable to resolve the dispute, the matter must be

26  referred to the local enforcement agency's board of appeals,

27  if one exists, which must consider the matter at its next

28  scheduled meeting or sooner. Any decision by the local

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

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

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

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
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  1         (c)  Notwithstanding any provision of this section to

  2  the contrary, any decision regarding the issuance of a

  3  building permit, certificate of occupancy, or certificate of

  4  completion may be reviewed by the local enforcement agency's

  5  board of appeals, if one exists. Any decision by the local

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

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

  8  pursuant to s. 553.77(1)(h) to the commission, which must

  9  consider the matter at its next scheduled meeting.

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

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

12  be provided to the person or entity when successfully

13  transmitted to the facsimile number listed for that person or

14  entity in the permit application, or a revised permit

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

16  actually received by that person or entity.

17         (14)  No local enforcement agency, local building

18  official, or local government may adopt or enforce any law,

19  rule, procedure, or standard that is more stringent than those

20  prescribed by this section.

21         (15)  A private provider may perform building code

22  inspection services under this section only if the private

23  provider maintains insurance for professional and

24  comprehensive general liability with minimum policy limits of

25  $1 million per occurrence relating to all services performed

26  as a private provider, and including tail coverage for a

27  minimum of 5 years subsequent to the performance of building

28  code inspection services.

29         (16)  When performing building code inspection

30  services, an inspector is subject to the disciplinary

31  guidelines of the applicable professional board with

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
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  1  jurisdiction over his or her license or certification under

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

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

  4  private provider's performance of building code inspection

  5  services shall be conducted by the applicable professional

  6  board.

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

  8  jurisdiction of a local enforcement agency that the commission

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

10  private provider to provide building code inspection services

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

12  local enforcement agency as exempt from this section if the

13  local enforcement agency demonstrates that it routinely

14  performs building code inspection services within the time

15  frames established in this section and that a majority of the

16  following local entities consent to the exemption:

17         (a)  The local chapter of the Associated General

18  Contractors;

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

20  American Institute of Architects; and

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

22  Association.

23

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

25  year and must be renewed annually.

26         (18)  Each local building code enforcement agency shall

27  develop and maintain a quality-assurance process to audit

28  construction projects in which privatized plan reviews and

29  inspections were used. These audits will track performance of

30  building code inspection services by private providers

31

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    Florida Senate - 2002                                  SB 2078
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  1  operating within the local jurisdiction to conduct such

  2  services within their jurisdiction.

  3         Section 2.  This act shall take effect October 1, 2002.

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