Frequently Asked Questions Related to SB 4-D
Florida’s Senate Bill SB 4-D was passed in May 2022, making it mandatory for all Florida condominium and cooperative buildings, three stories or higher, to undergo milestone inspections, structural inspections, to no longer allow for the waiver or reduction in the funding of reserves, as well as submit specific building reporting information to the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes. Please see the below regarding some of the more frequently asked questions received by the Division. If the inquiry is within the Division’s regulatory jurisdiction, we have tried, to the best our ability, to provide an answer below.
Q: When will the building reporting form to submit the newly mandated association information be made available?
A: The form is available and posted on the Division’s website.
Q: When will the building reporting database be operational and searchable?
A: The Division will have the searchable, by county, database operational no later than January 1, 2023. Once available, the Division will post a banner on its website as well as the Department’s website for efficient access.
Q: Do condos that have fewer than 3 stories need to submit their building information as part of the new building reporting requirements?
A: No, the building reporting requirements are only applicable to condominiums and cooperatives that are 3 stories or higher.
Q: How is “on or before January 1, 2023, condominium associations existing on or before July 1, 2022, must provide the following information to the division . . .” being interpreted? Is it when the declaration of condominium is filed with clerk of court? Or does it mean when the filing to become a condominium is approved by the Division?
A: The Division considers the provision to mean from the date the certificate of occupancy was issued for the condominium by your local building department or enforcement agency.
Q: What if I have substantive questions or a complaint related to either the milestone inspection (MI) or the structural integrity reserve study (SIRS) requirements? For example, it’s unclear whether the architect who performed either inspection adequately assessed whether the floor is in good condition, or that the engineer performed an inspection of all of the major structural components of the building.
A: The Division of Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes oversees the procedural requirements related to the SIRS when under unit-owner control and the MI when under developer control.
Any complaints regarding architects or engineers related to the failure to properly perform the MI or SIRS inspections must be submitted to the Board of Architecture and Interior Design or the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, respectively.
As an important note, DBPR’s Division of Professions regulates building code administrators, inspectors, and plans examiners.
Q: What does the term “floor” mean?
A: Senate Bill 4-D, does not define the term “floor”, and it is unclear how the term was intended to be interpreted. The Florida Building Code does not define the term “floor”.
Q: How is the term “story” defined?
A: This term will be defined on a case by case basis and is determined by the local building code, as applied to the structure being evaluated. Your local enforcement agency or local building official will make that determination and should be able to provide guidance as it pertains to your specific condominium or cooperative association.
Q: How is the term “qualified” interpreted as it relates to who is determined by the association to be qualified to perform the SIRS?
A: A structural integrity reserve study (SIRS), as such term is defined under sections 718.103(25) and 719.103(24), Florida Statutes, may be performed by any person qualified to perform such study, but the visual inspection portion must be performed by a licensed professional engineer or licensed architect.
Q: Can an MI substitute for a re-certification inspection?
A: The substitution of one inspection for another is not addressed in Senate Bill 4-D. Any inquiries related to milestone inspections should be submitted to your local enforcement agency.
Q: What does the phrase “procedural review” of inspections mean and who performs this type of review?
A: If a complaint is received, the Division will perform this type of review, which is not a substantive review, and involves verifying whether the inspection was performed and whether it was performed by a Florida licensed engineer or architect.
Q: With regard to Senate Bill 4-D prohibiting the waiver of reserves, must an association’s reserve account have accumulated, by 2025, all of the funds necessary to account for the remaining useful life for each reserve component?
A: Whether the full amount has to be accumulated by 2025 will depend on the recommendation of the SIRS and the reserve needs of the association. This may or may not require full reserve funding by 2025.
Q: I live in a 2-story condominium. Is our association still permitted to waive reserves?
A: The Division does not consider this provision to base an association’s ability to waive reserves on the number of stories that an association’s buildings have.
Q: Is the pooling method of maintaining reserves still permissible?
Q: What if, after an inspection from a licensed engineer or architect, there is no problem noted with regard to a particular component? Will that component still need to be reserved for?
A: No, the Division will rely on the SIRS to determine the components for which there needs to be a reserve.
All requests for publications, documents, forms, applications for licenses, permits and other similar certifications can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.
Chevonne Christian, Director
Division of Florida Condominiums,
Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0791