Much recent attention has been on Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis’ signing of extensive property insurance law changes in Florida. But on May 26, the governor also signed Senate Bill 4. While SB 4 primarily deals with condominium inspections and safety, the bill also changes part of the state law that enacts and governs Florida’s Building Code and changes the amount of a roof that must be brought up to current codes in the event of damage and repair. In essence, if 25 percent or more of a roof is damaged, then only the repaired part of the roof must be constructed pursuant to the current code.
Sections 553.70 - 553.898, Florida Statutes, are known as Florida’s Building Code Act. Section 553.844, Florida Statutes, in the middle of the Act, deals with windstorm loss mitigation and requirements for roofs and opening protection. The statute is primarily focused on requiring Florida’s Building Code Commission to evaluate and develop the best ways for homes built under prior building codes to be repaired in the event they are damaged by a hurricane or other storm.
SB 4 adds the following language into this statute:
“(5) Notwithstanding any provision in the Florida Building Code to the contrary, if an existing roofing system or roof section was built, repaired, or replaced in compliance with the requirements of the 2007 Florida Building Code, or any subsequent editions of the Florida Building Code, and 25 percent or more of such roofing system or roof section is being repaired, replaced, or recovered, only the repaired, replaced, or recovered portion is required to be constructed in accordance with the Florida Building Code in effect, as applicable. The Florida Building Commission shall adopt this exception by rule and incorporate it in the Florida Building Code. Notwithstanding s. 553.73(4), a local government may not adopt by ordinance an administrative or technical amendment to this exception.
This statute is going to have a dramatic impact on insurance coverage for roof repairs or replacements, because it appears that roofers will no longer have to bring the entire roof up to code when making event-significant repairs. Further, roofing contractors may possibly be faced with the prospect of salvaging undamaged roofing sections to sister together with new construction.