What’s Changed in Florida’s Building Codes for 2021?

Explore the changes you’ll see in the latest edition of the Florida Building Code.

The Florida Building Commission is required by law to update the Florida Building Code every three years, and 2020 saw many meetings, multiple code modification proposals, and a slew of comments from the public to arrive at The Florida Building Code, 7th Edition (2020). The new codes took effect on January 1st, 2021. Explore an overview of the changes made—some of them quite significant—to The Florida Building Code.

Changes to The Florida Building Code
The Florida Building Code sets minimum standards concerning the design, construction, compliance, and regulations that aim to ensure buildings are safe and secure. Changes that were made to the code in the last update include:

  • Roofing requirements – building, residential, and existing building. Changes include roof assembly requirements aimed at improving wind damage resistance and minimizing water infiltration. These include changes to the underlayment, wind loads, mitigation for roofs, soffits, and certain wiring methods.
  • Wind loads – building and residential. The new code updated wind criteria to align with ASCE 7-16 (Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures), which has important changes concerning wind load provisions, including criteria for rooftop solar panels, higher design wind pressures on roofs of buildings with a mean roof height of under 60 feet, and for attached canopies. There is also a new wind speed map for Risk Category IV for High-Velocity Hurricane Zones.
  • Energy conservation volumes – residential and commercial. There are significant new residential provision changes, such as prohibition on electric resistance space heating for prescriptive projects in Climate Zone 2, new minimum equipment efficiencies, a minimum fan efficacy stipulation for heat recovery ventilation for energy recovery ventilation for whole-house mechanical ventilation, and more. Changes to the code concerning commercial provisions include changes to a variety of control requirements for various commercial buildings.

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