October 15, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2009 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 553
BUILDING CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS
View Entire Chapter
Section 553.842, Florida Statutes 2009

553.842  Product evaluation and approval.--

(1)  The commission shall adopt rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to develop and implement a product evaluation and approval system that applies statewide to operate in coordination with the Florida Building Code. The commission may enter into contracts to provide for administration of the product evaluation and approval system. The product evaluation and approval system shall provide:

(a)  Appropriate promotion of innovation and new technologies.

(b)  Processing submittals of products from manufacturers in a timely manner.

(c)  Independent, third-party qualified and accredited testing and laboratory facilities, product evaluation entities, quality assurance agencies, certification agencies, and validation entities.

(d)  An easily accessible product acceptance list to entities subject to the Florida Building Code.

(e)  Development of stringent but reasonable testing criteria based upon existing consensus standards, when available, for products.

(f)  Long-term approvals, where feasible. State and local approvals will be valid until the requirements of the code on which the approval is based change, the product changes in a manner affecting its performance as required by the code, or the approval is revoked.

(g)  Criteria for revocation of a product approval.

(h)  Cost-effectiveness.

(2)  The product evaluation and approval system shall rely on national and international consensus standards, whenever adopted by the Florida Building Code, for demonstrating compliance with code standards. Other standards which meet or exceed established state requirements shall also be considered.

(3)  Products or methods or systems of construction that require approval under s. 553.77, that have standardized testing or comparative or rational analysis methods established by the code, and that are certified by an approved product evaluation entity, testing laboratory, or certification agency as complying with the standards specified by the code shall be approved for statewide use. Products required to be approved for statewide use shall be approved by one of the methods established in subsection (5) without further evaluation.

(4)  Products or methods or systems of construction requiring approval under s. 553.77 must be approved by one of the methods established in subsection (5) before their use in construction in this state. Products may be approved by the commission for statewide use. Notwithstanding a local government's authority to amend the Florida Building Code as provided in this act, statewide approval shall preclude local jurisdictions from requiring further testing, evaluation, or submission of other evidence as a condition of using the product so long as the product is being used consistent with the conditions of its approval.

(5)  Statewide approval of products, methods, or systems of construction may be achieved by one of the following methods. One of these methods must be used by the commission to approve the following categories of products: panel walls, exterior doors, roofing, skylights, windows, shutters, and structural components as established by the commission by rule.

(a)  Products for which the code establishes standardized testing or comparative or rational analysis methods shall be approved by submittal and validation of one of the following reports or listings indicating that the product or method or system of construction was evaluated to be in compliance with the Florida Building Code and that the product or method or system of construction is, for the purpose intended, at least equivalent to that required by the Florida Building Code:

1.  A certification mark or listing of an approved certification agency, which may be used only for products for which the code designates standardized testing;

2.  A test report from an approved testing laboratory;

3.  A product evaluation report based upon testing or comparative or rational analysis, or a combination thereof, from an approved product evaluation entity; or

4.  A product evaluation report based upon testing or comparative or rational analysis, or a combination thereof, developed and signed and sealed by a professional engineer or architect, licensed in this state.

A product evaluation report or a certification mark or listing of an approved certification agency which demonstrates that the product or method or system of construction complies with the Florida Building Code for the purpose intended shall be equivalent to a test report and test procedure as referenced in the Florida Building Code.

(b)  Products, methods, or systems of construction for which there are no specific standardized testing or comparative or rational analysis methods established in the code may be approved by submittal and validation of one of the following:

1.  A product evaluation report based upon testing or comparative or rational analysis, or a combination thereof, from an approved product evaluation entity indicating that the product or method or system of construction was evaluated to be in compliance with the intent of the Florida Building Code and that the product or method or system of construction is, for the purpose intended, at least equivalent to that required by the Florida Building Code; or

2.  A product evaluation report based upon testing or comparative or rational analysis, or a combination thereof, developed and signed and sealed by a professional engineer or architect, licensed in this state, who certifies that the product or method or system of construction is, for the purpose intended, at least equivalent to that required by the Florida Building Code.

(6)  The commission shall ensure that product manufacturers that obtain statewide product approval operate quality assurance programs for all approved products. The commission shall adopt by rule criteria for operation of the quality assurance programs.

(7)  For state approvals, validation shall be performed by validation entities approved by the commission. The commission shall adopt by rule criteria for approval of validation entities, which shall be third-party entities independent of the product's manufacturer and which shall certify to the commission the product's compliance with the code. The commission may adopt by rule a schedule of penalties to be imposed against approved validation entities that validate product applications in violation of this section or rules adopted under this section.

(8)  The commission may adopt rules to approve the following types of entities that produce information on which product approvals are based. All of the following entities, including engineers and architects, must comply with a nationally recognized standard demonstrating independence or no conflict of interest:

(a)  Evaluation entities that meet the criteria for approval adopted by the commission by rule. The commission shall specifically approve the National Evaluation Service, the International Conference of Building Officials Evaluation Services, the International Code Council Evaluation Services, the Building Officials and Code Administrators International Evaluation Services, the Southern Building Code Congress International Evaluation Services, and the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office Product Control. Architects and engineers licensed in this state are also approved to conduct product evaluations as provided in subsection (5).

(b)  Testing laboratories accredited by national organizations, such as A2LA and the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, laboratories accredited by evaluation entities approved under paragraph (a), and laboratories that comply with other guidelines for testing laboratories selected by the commission and adopted by rule.

(c)  Quality assurance entities approved by evaluation entities approved under paragraph (a) and by certification agencies approved under paragraph (d) and other quality assurance entities that comply with guidelines selected by the commission and adopted by rule.

(d)  Certification agencies accredited by nationally recognized accreditors and other certification agencies that comply with guidelines selected by the commission and adopted by rule.

(e)  Validation entities that comply with accreditation standards established by the commission by rule.

(9)  A building official may deny the local application of a product or method or system of construction which has received statewide approval, based upon a written report signed by the official that concludes the product application is inconsistent with the statewide approval and that states the reasons the application is inconsistent. Such denial is subject to the provisions of s. 553.77 governing appeal of the building official's interpretation of the code.

(10)  Products, other than manufactured buildings, which are custom fabricated or assembled shall not require separate approval under this section provided the component parts have been approved for the fabricated or assembled product's use and the components meet the standards and requirements of the Florida Building Code which applies to the product's intended use.

(11)  A building official may appeal the required approval for local use of a product or method or system of construction to the commission. The commission shall conduct a hearing under chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure and shall handle such appeals in an expedited manner.

(12)  The decisions of local building officials shall be appealable to the local board of appeals, if such board exists, and then to the commission, which shall conduct a hearing under chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure. Decisions of the commission regarding statewide product approvals and appeals of local product approval shall be subject to judicial review pursuant to s. 120.68.

(13)  The commission shall maintain a list of the state-approved products, product evaluation entities, testing laboratories, quality assurance agencies, certification agencies, and validation entities and make such lists available in the most cost-effective manner. The commission shall establish reasonable timeframes associated with the product approval process and availability of the lists.

(14)  The commission shall by rule establish criteria for revocation of product approvals as well as revocation of approvals of product evaluation entities, testing laboratories, quality assurance entities, certification agencies, and validation entities. Revocation is governed by s. 120.60 and the uniform rules of procedure.

(15)  The commission may adopt a rule listing the prescriptive, material standards and alternative means by which products subject to those standards may demonstrate compliance with the code.

(16)  The commission may adopt a rule that identifies standards that are equivalent to or more stringent than those specifically adopted by the code, thereby allowing the use in this state of the products that comply with the equivalent standard.

(17)(a)  The Florida Building Commission shall review the list of evaluation entities in subsection (8) and, in the annual report required under s. 553.77, shall either recommend amendments to the list to add evaluation entities the commission determines should be authorized to perform product evaluations or shall report on the criteria adopted by rule or to be adopted by rule allowing the commission to approve evaluation entities that use the commission's product evaluation process. If the commission adopts criteria by rule, the rulemaking process must be completed by July 1, 2009.

(b)  Notwithstanding paragraph (8)(a), the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials Evaluation Services is approved as an evaluation entity until October 1, 2009. If the association does not obtain permanent approval by the commission as an evaluation entity by October 1, 2009, products approved on the basis of an association evaluation must be substituted by an alternative, approved entity by December 31, 2009, and on January 1, 2010, any product approval issued by the commission based on an association evaluation is void.

History.--s. 54, ch. 98-287; s. 90, ch. 2000-141; s. 30, ch. 2001-186; s. 18, ch. 2002-293; s. 16, ch. 2005-147; s. 65, ch. 2006-1; s. 8, ch. 2007-187; s. 16, ch. 2008-191.

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