If you own any South Florida real estate, there’s something important that you need to know about commercial properties: the 40-year recertification requirement.
In Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, all buildings which are 40 years old from the date of the original Certification of Occupancy must be recertified by the Building Official every 10 years to ensure they are safe. Following the Surfside condo collapse in June of 2021 in which 98 people died when a 12-story building crumbled, changes were made to the inspection process and recertification requirements for 2022 and beyond.
A 40-year recertification requires buildings in Miami-Dade County and Broward County to be inspected to make sure they are structurally and electrically safe for continued use and occupancy.
The safety inspection must meet a set of specific requirements and be performed by a professional engineering company or architectural firm. If your building was built before 1982, once your building has had its 40-year recertification, you must get it recertified again every 10 years.
The city or county building authority will tell you if you need recertification through a Notice of Required Inspection. Once you receive the notice, you have 90 days upon receipt of the notice to comply. However, you are responsible for getting an inspection even if you don’t receive a notice.
There are only a few exceptions to recertification requirements: single-family homes, duplexes, and buildings with an occupancy load of 10 or fewer and a gross area of 2,000 square feet or less in Miami-Dade County and a gross area of 3,500 square feet or less in Broward County.
Recertification is actually an extensive process involving different types of inspections:
For the structural components, the inspector reviews the main structural elements that make the property sound, from the foundations and beams to the roof and columns. They’re looking for any signs of compromised structural integrity, such as cracks and signs of settlement. A good inspector knows the difference between a superficial crack and a more concerning one.
For the electrical components, the inspector goes to the electrical room to examine breakers, feeders, panels, gutters, the transformer, and more. As previously stated, buildings operating an electrical system greater than 400 amps now require additional thermal inspections by a certified Level II thermographer. BIS is on the the few companies with this certification.
If the inspector finds any areas that do not meet recertification requirements, you’re given 60 days to hire a contractor and complete the necessary improvements to the property.
As little as two days before the Champlain Towers South June 24, 2021 collapse, a pool contractor noticed water intrusion throughout the parking garage that had apparently originated from the condo’s pool.
The collapse further highlighted why 40-year building recertifications are so important and how they could be improved upon and used to prevent further tragedies. In the last year, the aftermath of Surfside has heavily influenced updated regulations for commercial building inspections and recertifications.
Built in 1981, Champlain Towers South isn’t exactly a historic building. At approximately 40 years old, you might even be tempted to think of the building recertification process as a mere formality, but building safety is something that should never be taken lightly, and governmental officials have clearly decided to err on the side of caution regarding 40 year recertification inspections.
Building inspections aren’t just a way to make money. They’re a tool building owners can use to make well-informed decisions regarding the safety and security of their investments.
And as we’ve seen, these decisions can save lives.
If your commercial property needs its 40-year recertification inspection or you are purchasing or just want to know the condition, you’ve come to the right place.
The quality of your inspection is only as good as the company you choose. At Thompson Exterior Services, we’re licensed general contractors and work with engineers and building inspectors
If you need an inspection, we’ll make sure you get it done right.
Don’t wait. Click here to request your inspection today.