On August 5th 1974, a building leased by the DEA located at 1201 NE 2 Ave, Miami collapsed and killed 7 people and injured 16 others. At the time of the collapse the building was determined to be 40 years old, which is why on May 21, 1975, the Board of County Commissioners adopted and passed Ordinance No. 75-34, amending the South Florida Building Code to require that all buildings, except single family residences, duplexes and minor structures, 40 years old or older be recertified as to their structural safety. Subsequent recertifications were required at 10-year intervals.
The basic purpose of the building recertification program is to get a set of trained eyes to inspect and determine how the building is aging. As well to identify any structural distress or electrical issues. If any deficiencies are found, recommend repairs so the building can continue to serve its purpose.
Miami-Dade adopted a strengthened milestone inspection program that reduced the inspection cycle from 40 to 30 years, among other changes. Florida recently enacted a new law that created a milestone inspection program across the entire state; it is currently limited to condominium and cooperative association buildings 3-stories or taller. Some Condominium and Cooperative law changes include not being able to waive reserves and providing a reserve study every 10-year to set maintenance reserve amounts.
All buildings and structures are covered, except; single family residences and duplexes; or agricultural exempt buildings; or minor buildings 2,000 square feet or less and having an occupancy load of 10 or less based on the building code classification, both conditions must apply (size and occupants). Occupancy is based on the potential occupancy load for the use classification in the code.If recertification notice is received, it is the owner’s responsibility to request an exemption in writing from the Building Official.
Visual inspection, identify any structural distress, perform non-destructive and/or destructive testing, when necessary, and load testing, when necessary. Review engineering documents, if available and review prior building recertification reports, if applicable.
The structural elements inspected are foundation (signs of ground settling), masonry bearing walls (settlement cracks), main structural elements such as columns, beams, and slabs (spalling), wall, floor, and roof structural framing systems (spalling, overloading, cracks), roof covering (condition of roofing membrane), windows and doors (leaking), and building façade (cladding, appurtenances, other).
The electrical elements inspected are: visually inspecting and describing the electrical service equipment supplying the building, identifying branch circuits, evaluating wiring, evaluating conduits to be free of corrosion and dents, inspecting emergency lighting, exit signs, fire alarm system, where applicable. An infrared thermography inspection must be performed on electrical systems operating at 400 amps or greater.
Obtain plans and documents for the building, if available. The professional must review original engineering to understand how the building is designed. Building violations must be investigated, and the professional must determine if they affect the structural and/or electrical elements of the building. The building code under which the building was built must be investigated. Buildings undergoing recertification do not need to conform to current codes.
Ongoing maintenance to combat the effects of aging, environment, and building’s reaction to changing loads from wind and gravity includes visually inspect building regularly, periodic painting, roof maintenance, seal hairline cracks, maintain expansion joints, conduct minor repairs immediately. Don’t wait for the building recertification program notification to begin performing maintenance.
On the Miami-Dade County Recertification Data Portal, there is valuable information regarding properties and their recertification status. The status of a building recertification case from May 1996 to the present is made available on their website. You may find cases simply using address, folio number, case number or property owner name. It also allows you to access cases referred to in the Unsafe Structures Section. Lastly, you can also request documents through a public records request.
On the Miami-Dade County Building Recertification webpage you can find guides, forms, links, Q&A, and more. The portal to upload submissions and/or track recertifications is also accessible. Paying fees online is also made available via this website. You may also look up building violation cases. All these features allow professionals or property/future owners to be fully aware of the property’s history.
On or before January 1, 2023, condominium associations must provide the following to the division; number of buildings on the condominium property that are three stories or higher in height, the total number of units in all such buildings, the addresses of all such buildings, and the counties in which all such buildings are located. It was also announced that a county registry is in the works.
The New County Ordinance and State Law reformed the building recertification program. After such an amend, condominiums and other buildings over 3 stories or higher within three miles of the coastline must undergo the recertification process at 25 years. Also, every 10 years after that, the buildings must be assessed once again. All other inland buildings that don’t qualify under such circumstances have to be recertified once the property turns 30 years. The process proceeds the same as coastal buildings, recertification must be followed every 10 years thereafter.
Not to worry, buildings constructed before 1982 that required initial recertification under the previous 40-year recertification program will continue the ongoing process. The first recertification already in place, and possibly earlier recertifications, will remain valid. However, these buildings will require succeeding recertification ten years after the previous recertification date.
Buildings classified as transition years were constructed between 1983 and 1997 for coastal regions and between 1983 and 1992 for all other building types. These groups of buildings become due by December 31, 2024, because of the change from 40 years to 30 years to 25 years, therefore they are not skipped. Regardless of the year of construction, the recertification cycle for this range of buildings will be adjusted to 2024 in order to prevent repeated recertifications within the following ten years.
The structures that match the following requirements need their initial recertification by 2023. Starting with structures constructed in 1998 for condominium and cooperative structures three floors or taller within three miles of the shoreline that have turned 25 years old and every ten years after that. For all other structures that are aged 30 years or more, starting with those constructed in 1993, and then every 10 years after that.
Early notifications will also be implemented now in Miami-Dade. This is with the intent to allow property owners/managers to prepare accordingly. Advance announcements offer people more time to hire an engineer, carry out milestone inspections, etc. Also identify the necessary repairs if applicable, start looking for a contractor, obtain funds, and acquire repair permits. The first notification will be sent two years prior, then an additional notice will be sent a year before. This does not apply to the transition year properties, or for the first two years of the program. The final notice will be sent at the beginning of the year 90 days prior to the property being due. Both structural and electrical reports must be submitted within the 90-day period along with payment. Reports and payment can be mailed to, or delivered in person, to the Miami-Dade Recertification division. Payments and reports may also be filed on their website.
Depends on the building; any building which is 3-stories or less, or 50 feet or less in height that is not classified as a threshold building can be inspected by any Florida licensed architect or engineer. Any building 4-stories or taller and other buildings classified as a threshold building must be inspected by a Florida licensed structural engineer and the electrical system must be inspected by an electrical engineer.
Any engineer or architect who performs an inspection of an existing building or structure has a duty to report to the Building Official any findings that, if left unaddressed, would endanger life or property no later than ten (10) days after informing the building owner of such findings. However, if such engineer or architect finds that there are conditions in the building or structure causing an actual or immediate danger of the failure or collapse of a building or structure, or there is a health, windstorm or fire hazard, such engineer or architect shall report such conditions to the Building Official within twenty-four (24) hours of the time of discovery.
Condo ownership generally spans between the surfaces of finished walls, floor and ceiling. Balconies are generally listed as limited common elements and may need to be accessed from the unit for the structural inspection. BORA interpreted that the visual examination must be conducted throughout all habitable and non-habitable areas of the building, as deemed necessary by the inspecting professional. The Thermographic inspection is not required of the dwelling unit electrical panel; hence the unit’s electrical components are not part of the inspection.
Given advanced notifications, extensions of time should not become necessary, however if needed these are the parameters; if additional time is needed to submit reports or obtain repair permits, an extension up to 60 days can be requested by the design professional. Provided an affidavit, as a result of a recent site inspection, affirms that the building can continue to be occupied during the process of recertification. Recertification cases must be under an approved extension of time once reports become past due. Extension fees may be applied.
If repairs are required and permit has been obtained to perform building repairs that satisfy the recertification: an extension up to 180 days can be requested by the design professional that performed the recertification inspection under a valid repair permit. Provided with an affidavit, as a result of a recent site inspection, affirming that the building can continue to be occupied during the repair process. Extensions of time or affidavits from the design professional are not required when submitting reports within the advance noticing period, prior to reports becoming past due.
Inspections may result in repairs needed, however submit the reports immediately (do not wait). Do not start repairs to satisfy the report results before submitting it, as repair permits are needed prior to commencing repairs. Obtaining a repair permit will afford additional time to complete recertification. After repairs have been completed, an updated report must be submitted to finalize recertification.
Repercussions of not complying with recertification include electrical disconnection as determined by the building official, rendering the building uninhabitable. Not complying with recertification may even result in demolition order as determined by the Unsafe Structures Board. All unit owners must be notified by the association regarding the unsafe conditions and the building is placard, in these cases. Failure to submit the report may result in the issuance of a Civil Violation Notice or ticket without further notice.
Once reports are complete, even if repairs are required, submit them via the upload portal with initial fee. Structural and electrical reports are reviewed by the County, they review the entire report for noted conditions of the building and electrical components. Confirm if repairs are required and review the parking lot lighting and safeguards for abutting the water body report. As well as review affidavits in compliance with MDC Ordinance 8C-3 and 8C-6.
If no repairs are required (clean bill of health) and all building components are reported to be safe and sound, meaning the recertification for structural and electrical are approved, then no further steps are needed to be taken until the next recertification cycle in 10 years from the date of original notification. However, if the County Official deems that repairs are required, the applicant must hire a design professional to create plans and specifications for the repairs, as well as hire a contractor to perform repair work. The applicant must also acquire a repair permit and complete the work. The applicant must also mend the recertification report indicating a clean bill of health for the building and resubmit the recertification report for re-review (fees apply). Once recertification for structural and electrical is approved the next recertification is 10 years from the date of original notification.
Quality Control inspections are performed by the County. They include all threshold buildings and a percentage of all other buildings (separate fee due). The purpose is to confirm compliance with the ordinance and that the report correlates with the physical building. The Building Official can revoke recertification during inspection or upon future complaint. If the report is discovered to have been misrepresented, the Building Official can revoke the recertification, require corrections, or refer the building to the Unsafe Structures Board.
A structural integrity reserve study must be completed by December 31, 2024, the study is used to set the reserve amount. The study is conducted every 10 years for condo/coop buildings that are 3 stories or higher. The purpose is to determine the remaining useful life of various common building components for budgeting replacement. Components included are roof, load-bearing walls or other primary structural member, floor, foundation, fireproofing and fire protection systems, plumbing, electrical systems, waterproofing and exterior painting, windows and any other item that cost more than $10,000.
As of December 31, 2024, associations may not elect to waive reserves or have less reserves than required to cover the items in the structural integrity reserve study. The condo or cooperative association is responsible for ensuring that a milestone inspection is conducted. The association must distribute a copy of the milestone inspection report to each unit owner. The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes is responsible for enforcing compliance with complaints related to the procedural completion of the milestone inspection as well as the structural integrity reserve study.
Eastern Engineering Group has a long history conducting 25 year milestone inspections, 30 year recertifications, 40 year recertifications, and all types of building recertifications. We have worked closely with various clients to complete over 500 inspections required by Miami-Dade County and Broward County. Once you schedule an appointment, one of our Professional Engineers will arrive at the site of inspection and carry out the procedure. We perform recertification inspections with the highest legal and ethical standards, making sure to inspect every structure thoroughly.
3401 NW 82nd Ave, Suite 370
Doral, Fl 33122
P: (305) 599-8133