When people receive a notification about their 40/50 year recertification, time and the right assistance are paramount to prevent hefty fees. It’s well-known that throughout the years’ buildings undergo changes, and most of the time, they take a toll that can compromise the structure. The 40/50 recertification inspection program helps prevent these buildings from becoming too dangerous for those who live in them and everyone nearby.
What’s the 40/50 Year Building Inspection Program?
The 40-Year or Older Building Safety Program was established in the mid-1970s in Miami; then, it expanded to Broward County around 2005. Currently, these are the only two counties that require these inspections, but that will most likely change as the discussion for a statewide requirement has been buzzing for a while. Under the Florida Building Code of 2001, the 40-Year or Older Building Safety Program requires commercial and specific residential properties, 40 years old or older to undergo a property assessment by a professional engineer. The main objective is to ensure all buildings reaching 40 years of age are still “safe” in terms of their structural and electrical systems.
While most buildings meet the requirements for this inspection, there are some exemptions including:
- One- and two-family dwellings
- US government buildings
- Buildings owned by the State of Florida
- Schools under the jurisdiction of the country school board
- Buildings built on Indian reservations
- All buildings under 3,500 square feet
- Minor structures with an occupancy load of 10 or less
- Non-residential farm buildings on farms
Why Do I Need a 40/50 Year Inspection?
As the property owner or manager, it is your responsibility to acquire a professional service company to perform the 40-Year Recertification, once you have received the “Notice of Required Inspection” from the city’s code compliance section.
Failure to submit the Recertification Report results in a Civil Violation Notice without notice and referral of the issue to the Unsafe Structures Unit to initiate condemnation proceedings. Not seeking your Recertification Report makes you liable for a hefty fine and all costs incurred by the department once the enforcement proceedings start. Finally, in most extreme cases, if your building receives an issuance of an unsafe structure Notice of Violation, the building must be vacated, and you may have to demolish the building.
Most commercial real estate property owners are aware of the importance of this inspection. However, the same applies to homeowner association managers and anyone in charge of a qualifying building.
What Are the Mandatory Inspections?
These inspections are enforced to keep buildings safe. Within each inspection, there’s a list of specific items the county requests to investigate and check. Of course, inspectors are looking for serious structural damage, faulty electrical systems, and other life-threatening items that need to be addressed to ensure the building’s safety.
The first portion is structural Recertification. At this stage, the purpose is to determine the general structural condition of the building. The condition of the structure to the extent of any part, material, or assembly which affects the safety of such buildings. The report includes a statement explaining if the building is structurally safe, unsafe, safe with qualifications, or has been deemed safe by restrictive interpretations. The structural recertification analyses:
- Roofing systems
- Masonry bearing walls
- Steel framing systems
- Floor and roof systems
- Concrete framing systems
- Wood framing
The electrical recertification confirms that both the building or structure, as well as habitable and non-habitable areas, are safe for continued use under present occupancy. Under the electrical recertification inspection, engineers will look at:
- Electric services
- Branch circuits
- Conduit raceways
- Emergency lighting
- Electrical panels
- Grounding of equipment
- Service conductor and cables
- Types of wiring methods
- Feeder conductors
- Parking illumination
How’s the 40/50 Year Recertification Process?
The 40/50 Year Recertification process is relatively straightforward. Miami-Dade and Broward County have a set schedule to start ruling out these notices to notify building owners and managers about the recertification requirements.
Notice of Required Inspection
The moment a qualifying property hits the 40-year-old threshold, the owner will be sent a “Notice of Required Inspection” by the county where the property is located. From that point forward, the owner has 90 days to find a certified structural engineer to conduct the inspection and provide a “40-Year Certification Report” for the relevant country government office.
The report gives a complete overview of the state of the property and identifies anything that needs repairs or replacement. If the engineer suggests repairs, the owner has up to 180 days to complete the work. After all repairs and replacements are complete, the engineer must reinspect the property and issue a new report confirming all the necessary work to categorize the building as safe has been done.
If everything is in order, then the recertification submittal is sent to the country, and the property is recertified as meeting all the safety requirements. Another inspection and Recertification will need to take place in ten years, to be followed by a new one each decade after that.
Remember, failure to submit the Recertification can result in several financial and legal penalties, which will also be attached to the property’s public record.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although 40-Year or Older Building Safety Recertification is a straightforward process, you need a qualified and expert professional to ensure everything is addressed according to code guidelines. People still have questions regarding the 40/50 Recertification Inspections.
Do I need to bring the building up to today’s code?
No. The safety inspection is done on the current condition of the building’s structure and electrical system. The idea is to determine if the existing structure remains safe. However, if your building needs repairs, it will have to meet the current code.
How long does it take to get the recertification?
Recertifications are reasonably quick, with most taking approximately two weeks. However, you must submit your request for Recertification within 90 days of receiving the notice.
Do I need a permit for repairs?
It depends. General maintenance repairs that exceed $1,500 or more often require a permit. However, your professional engineer should be able to assist you with this assessment.
Get Your 40/50 Recertification Today
Have you received a “Notice of Required Inspection?” Don’t wait until the very last minute to request an inspection. At DOP Engineering, we can help you with your building’s safety inspection to get your 40/50 recertification. To get started, contact us today and speak with our representatives.