New Florida Building Code in Effect March 15, 2012

Check out the recording called “2010 Building Code Questions and Answer Webinar held March 13, 2012 at:

Slide the audio progress bar over to minute 33:47 to hear the answer on the retrofit provision that affects windows. Ann Stanton, the energy technical adviser at the Florida Building Commission, explains the 30% rule. She said “energy code is not applicable” unless there is a major renovation that exceeds 30% of the assessed value of the structure.

Another question on the same topic came up at 42:15 in the call.

Important Information on the New Florida Building Codes

The new FBC energy codes go into March 15, 2012 for permits pulled on March 15 or after. Although the energy codes continue to get stronger, they are not as bad as some would want you to believe. Aluminum impact windows and doors meet the energy code and in most retrofit situations are not even subject to the new energy code.

New construction is a different matter.

The code has two formal paths for compliance, the Prescriptive path and the Performance path.

  1. Prescriptive Path– Section 402.1 – is the “EZ 1040” way of complying. This path requires a .30 SHGC and a .75 U Factor (for impact products). However, given a renovation carve out in the Florida Statutes (see below) we believe the Prescriptive Path won’t be used frequently. If used it will be mostly used for retrofit and required insulated glass with high performance Lo E coatings.
  2. Performance Path – Section 405 “the 1040 Long Form” way of complying. Today represents +/- 95% of new energy permits and is not expected to change. This is used mostly for new construction and requires the engineer to use Energy Gauge Software to calculate glass values, AC ratings, and other thermal properties of building materials. New provision in the code – SHGC coefficient now a maximum of 0.50 (gray monolithic glass in most applications will meet this, depending on trade-offs in the software).

Important footnote for window replacements on existing structures: Table 101.4.1 footnote “d” says that if the cost of renovations to an existing building is less than 30% of the assessed value of the structure, it is not subject to the code. So, for example if you are retrofitting a home that is worth $300,000, as long as the renovations do not exceed $90,000, the renovations are not subject to the FBC energy code. We have confirmed this with the staff of the Florida Building Commission, and it also came up in the FBC Webinar that was held yesterday. If you want to confirm any of this information, feel free to contact the staff at the Florida Building Commission at 850-488-0964.

Some Manufacturers are Trying to Mislead Building Departments and Customers Regarding the Renovation Provisions of the New FBC Energy Codes. 

One Major Florida Manufacturer Dealer Letter Says This (highlights added): 

“There also exists a Florida Statute that defines a renovation as construction that exceeds 30% of the assessed value of the property, meaning projects with a scope of work less than this value may not need to comply with the code.  (This may seem like a loop hole to some, but try to convince the local building department that you do not have to follow code on a window replacement and see where that gets you).  We offer a wide range of products that meet the requirements in table 402.1.1, however, before you order, we strongly recommend that you talk with your local building official about his/her plans for enforcement of this code.”

Fact: Renovations for most trades including window and doors that do not exceed 30% of the assessed value of the structure are not subject to the energy codes. This is Florida law and the Florida Building Code (Energy Code included) does not supersede Florida law.  The 553.906 Florida Statute provisions (where this 30% provision is located) were passed in 1979 by the Florida Legislature and are clear on this point.  The only way to amend this is to go back to the Florida Legislature.

(text by Laura Hernandez of The Companies of R&S)



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