Section 553.77, Florida Statutes 2001
553.77 Specific powers of the commission.--
(1) The commission shall:
(a) Adopt and update the Florida Building Code or amendments thereto, pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54.
(b) Make a continual study of the operation of the Florida Building Code and other laws relating to the design, construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, or demolition of public or private buildings, structures, and facilities, including manufactured buildings, and code enforcement, to ascertain their effect upon the cost of building construction and determine the effectiveness of their provisions. Upon updating the Florida Building Code every 3 years, the commission shall review existing provisions of law and make recommendations to the Legislature for the next regular session of the Legislature regarding provisions of law that should be revised or repealed to ensure consistency with the Florida Building Code at the point the update goes into effect. State agencies and local jurisdictions shall provide such information as requested by the commission for evaluation of and recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the system of building code laws for reporting to the Legislature annually. Failure to comply with this or other requirements of this act must be reported to the Legislature for further action. Any proposed legislation providing for the revision or repeal of existing laws and rules relating to technical requirements applicable to building structures or facilities should expressly state that such legislation is not intended to imply any repeal or sunset of existing general or special laws governing any special district that are not specifically identified in the legislation.
(c) Upon written application by any substantially affected person or a local enforcement agency, issue declaratory statements pursuant to s. 120.565 relating to new technologies, techniques, and materials which have been tested where necessary and found to meet the objectives of the Florida Building Code. This paragraph does not apply to the types of products, materials, devices, or methods of construction required to be approved under paragraph (i).
(d) Upon written application by any substantially affected person, state agency, or a local enforcement agency, issue declaratory statements pursuant to s. 120.565 relating to the enforcement or administration by local governments of the Florida Building Code. Paragraph (h) provides the exclusive remedy for addressing local interpretations of the code.
(e) When requested in writing by any substantially affected person, state agency, or a local enforcing agency, shall issue declaratory statements pursuant to s. 120.565 relating to this part and ss. 515.25, 515.27, 515.29, and 515.37. Actions of the commission are subject to judicial review pursuant to s. 120.68.
(f) Make recommendations to, and provide assistance upon the request of, the Florida Commission on Human Relations regarding rules relating to accessibility for persons with disabilities.
(g) Participate with the Florida Fire Code Advisory Council created under s. 633.72, to provide assistance and recommendations relating to firesafety code interpretations. The administrative staff of the commission shall attend meetings of the Florida Fire Code Advisory Council and coordinate efforts to provide consistency between the Florida Building Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code.
(h) Hear appeals of the decisions of local boards of appeal regarding interpretation decisions of local building officials, or if no local board exists, hear appeals of decisions of the building officials regarding interpretations of the code. For such appeals:
1. Local decisions declaring structures to be unsafe and subject to repair or demolition shall not be appealable to the commission if the local governing body finds there is an immediate danger to the health and safety of its citizens.
2. All appeals shall be heard in the county of the jurisdiction defending the appeal.
3. Hearings shall be conducted pursuant to chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure, and decisions of the commission are subject to judicial review pursuant to s. 120.68.
(i) Determine the types of products requiring approval for local or statewide use and shall provide for the evaluation and approval of such products, materials, devices, and method of construction for statewide use. The commission may prescribe by rule a schedule of reasonable fees to provide for evaluation and approval of products, materials, devices, and methods of construction. Evaluation and approval shall be by action of the commission or delegated pursuant to s. 553.842. This paragraph does not apply to products approved by the State Fire Marshal.
(j) Appoint experts, consultants, technical advisers, and advisory committees for assistance and recommendations relating to the major areas addressed in the Florida Building Code.
(k) Establish and maintain a mutual aid program, organized through the department, to provide an efficient supply of various levels of code enforcement personnel, design professionals, commercial property owners, and construction industry individuals, to assist in the rebuilding effort in an area which has been hit with disaster. The program shall include provisions for:
1. Minimum postdisaster structural, electrical, and plumbing inspections and procedures.
2. Emergency permitting and inspection procedures.
3. Establishing contact with emergency management personnel and other state and federal agencies.
(l) Maintain a list of interested parties for noticing rulemaking workshops and hearings, disseminating information on code adoption, revisions, amendments, and all other such actions which are the responsibility of the commission.
(m) Coordinate with the state and local governments, industry, and other affected stakeholders in the examination of legislative provisions and make recommendations to fulfill the responsibility to develop a consistent, single code.
(n) Provide technical assistance to local building departments in order to implement policies, procedures, and practices which would produce the most cost-effective property insurance ratings.
(o) Develop recommendations for local governments to use when pursuing partial or full privatization of building department functions. The recommendations shall include, but not be limited to, provisions relating to equivalency of service, conflict of interest, requirements for competency, liability, insurance, and long-term accountability.
(2) Upon written application by any substantially affected person, the commission shall issue a declaratory statement pursuant to s. 120.565 relating to a state agency's interpretation and enforcement of the specific provisions of the Florida Building Code the agency is authorized to enforce. The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to provide any powers, other than advisory, to the commission with respect to any decision of the State Fire Marshal made pursuant to the provisions of chapter 633.
(3) The commission may designate a commission member with demonstrated expertise in interpreting building plans to attend each meeting of the advisory council created in s. 553.512. The commission member may vary from meeting to meeting, shall serve on the council in a nonvoting capacity, and shall receive per diem and expenses as provided in s. 553.74(3).
(4) For educational and public information purposes, the commission shall develop and publish an informational and explanatory document which contains descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of the licensed design professional, residential designer, contractor, and local building and fire code officials. The State Fire Marshal shall be responsible for developing and specifying roles and responsibilities for fire code officials. Such document may also contain descriptions of roles and responsibilities of other participants involved in the building codes system.
(5) The commission may provide by rule for plans review and approval of prototype buildings owned by public and private entities to be replicated throughout the state. The rule must allow for review and approval of plans for prototype buildings to be performed by a public or private entity with oversight by the commission. The department may charge reasonable fees to cover the administrative costs of the program. Such approved plans or prototype buildings shall be exempt from further review required by s. 553.79(2), except changes to the prototype design, site plans, and other site-related items. As provided in s. 553.73, prototype buildings are exempt from any locally adopted amendment to any part of the Florida Building Code. Construction or erection of such prototype buildings is subject to local permitting and inspections pursuant to this part.
(6) The commission may produce and distribute a commentary document to accompany the Florida Building Code. The commentary must be limited in effect to providing technical assistance and must not have the effect of binding interpretations of the code document itself.
History.--s. 8, ch. 74-167; s. 4, ch. 75-85; s. 4, ch. 75-111; s. 3, ch. 77-365; s. 4, ch. 78-323; ss. 5, 8, ch. 79-152; ss. 3, 4, ch. 81-7; ss. 1, 4, ch. 82-46; s. 9, ch. 83-160; s. 2, ch. 83-265; s. 2, ch. 84-365; s. 1, ch. 86-135; s. 1, ch. 88-81; s. 9, ch. 89-139; s. 11, ch. 89-321; ss. 4, 5, 6, ch. 91-172; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 311, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 28, ch. 93-166; s. 51, ch. 95-196; ss. 45, 46, ch. 98-287; ss. 77, 78, 79, ch. 2000-141; ss. 26, 34, 35, ch. 2001-186.