While the State of Florida’s Fire Prevention Code (Code) is currently in process of its triennial statutory update, Eisinger Law is encouraging our association clients to research and evaluate their options in advance of an expected January 1, 2024 deadline that would require all condominiums to install either an ELSS (Emergency Life Safety System) or retrofit their building’s fire sprinkler system to comply with the updated Code.
Depending on which option a condo chooses, when the new Code is ultimately adopted, there would be further requirements and deadlines for the association to meet accordingly.
Following are the current Florida Safety Advisory Council recommendations on those requirements and deadlines, which were presented to the Florida State Fire Marshal and are being reviewed as part of the regular administrative process to update the Code once every three years:
For fire sprinkler systems:
· By January 1, 2025, the association shall retain a Florida Registered Professional Engineer to develop the engineered design criteria for the fire sprinkler system and submit the engineered design criteria to the AHJ for review and approval.
· By January 1, 2026, the association’s fire sprinkler contractor shall have applied for and received a permit for the installation of the fire sprinkler system by the AHJ.
· The installation of the fire sprinkler system shall be completed, as demonstrated by passing the final inspections of the AHJ by January 1, 2027.
· By January 1, 2025, the association shall retain a Florida Registered Professional Engineer to conduct an evaluation of the building to develop an ELSS and submit the ELSS design to the AHJ for review and approval.
· By January 1, 2026, the association’s contractors shall have applied for and received a permit for the installation of all improvements associated with the ELSS.
· The installation of the ELSS shall be completed, as demonstrated, by passing the final inspections of the AHJ by January 1, 2027.
These deadlines have not yet been formally approved by the office of the State Fire Marshal, which is part of the Florida Department of Financial Services.
What Happens Next?
By law, the State Fire Marshal must adopt the Florida Fire Prevention Code, which references all fire safety laws and rules pertaining to and governing the design, construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, and demolition of public and private buildings, structures, and facilities in Florida. The Fire Prevention Code also provides for the enforcement of fire safety laws and rules.
As part of its duties, the Florida Fire Code Advisory Council provides recommendations to the State Fire Marshal on statutory uniform fire safety standards, as well as those portions of the Fire Prevention Code that could conflict with building construction standards. To view the roster of Council members, click here.
Administrative procedures to review and adopt these standards are provided by Rule 69A-3.012, F.A.C., entitled “Standards of the National Fire Protection Association and Other Standards Adopted.” The most recent hearing on the Rule was an April 6, 2023 workshop at which proposed amendments to the Rule were reviewed that would adopt the most recent editions of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards 1 and 101, along with new Florida-specific amendments to NFPA 1 and 101.
Eisinger Law anticipates additional hearings on the proposed Rule, with the final hearing expected to be scheduled for July 2023. Once the amended Rule is finally adopted, its effective date will likely be December 31, 2023.
We will monitor this regulatory process as it progresses and keep you informed on developments.
Eisinger Law is a multi-practice Florida law firm focused on community association law, real estate law, developer representation, civil and commercial litigation, and insurance law. For more information, visit eisingerlaw.com or call (954) 894-8000.