FHBA State Legislative Session Update
• HB 297, Statute of Repose: Passed the Committee on Civil Justice with an amendment clarifying effective date issues. The bill addresses a court case which, for the purposes of tolling the clock for the statute of repose, declared a construction contract complete when both parties met their contractual obligations (the contractor completed the work and final payment received). This bill provides that a construction contract is considered complete on the last day that the contractor, architect, or engineer performs services related to the contract. The practical effect is to start the statute of repose clock sooner.
• SB 582, Public Corruption: A vote on this bill was temporarily postponed by the Committee on General Government Oversight and Accountability. Members of the committee expressed concerns that potential unintended consequences could interfere with normal business activity. We expect the bill to return with more language to address these concerns.
• HB 535, Building Code Bill: After a series of amendments, the bill passed out of the Business and Professions Subcommittee with one “No” vote. That no vote by Rep. Geller (D-Dania Beach) was based on his opposition to the provision exempting employees of apartment communities with 100 or more units from contractor licensing requirements if making minor repairs to existing electric water heaters or existing electric HVAC systems, if they meet certain training and experience criteria and the repair involves parts costing under $500. Testimony provided by a lobbyist representing SkyeTec spoke in opposition to the provisions prohibiting mandatory blower door testing and mechanical ventilation.
Included in the adopted amendments were:
o Revising the definition of fire separation distance for zero lot line, consistent with the Florida Specific Amendment that was inadvertently left out of the Florida Building Code;
o Fire-resistive construction exception that was included in the previous building code that exempts the 1-hour fire rating on overhangs; and
o Allowing the Alternative Performance Path, Energy Rating Index, of the 2015 IECC, energy efficiency issue that allows solar and appliances to be included in efficiency calculations;
o A provision that that a local government may not require the payment of any additional fees, charges, or expenses associated with: providing proof of licensure, recording or filing of a license, providing evidence of workers’ compensation coverage or recording or filing evidence of workers’ compensation coverage.
At its next committee stop, additional amendments to be considered will include language to begin moving towards a 6 year building code cycle.
• FBC – The Florida Building Commission will be meeting in Gainesville on December 14 and 15. This is a routine meeting in preparation for the upcoming code cycle. Revisions to the process will be incorporated in the FHBA work plan. FHBA staff will be in attendance.
• RRAC – The Research Review & Advisory Committee will be meeting on December 10th in Orlando. The purpose of the meeting is to review the final report to the Legislature of the Nitrogen Reduction Study. FHBA staff will be in attendance.