Changes Are Coming to South Florida’s 40-Year Recertification: Here’s What You Need to Know

09 May 2022
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Understand key elements of South Florida’s 40-Year Recertification Program, and how it affects your property.


The 40-Year (and older) Building Safety Inspection Program was created in 2005 by Miami Dade County, based on a program established in the mid-1970s and replicated in Broward County shortly after. The recertification program calls for safety inspections for buildings that are 40 years old and again every 10 years thereafter. It is intended to ensure buildings are structurally, mechanically, and electrically safe as it ages. Miami Dade County and building officials require commercial building owners to be compliant for buildings over 2,000 sf and Broward County mandates any commercial building over 3,500 sf within each respectable county. Our firm works with building owners, property managers, and HOAs and provides assessment reports to fulfill requirements for the 40-year and older recertifications.

What are the benefits?

The benefit is to reduce the risk of structural, electrical, and mechanical failure and mitigate exorbitant maintenance costs in the future. Obtaining a 40-, 50- or 60-year recertification from a qualified engineering firm helps owners and property managers understand, prevent, and plan for current and future repair and maintenance costs that prolong the useful service life of the building.

Why is the program changing?

Property owners should receive a letter from the county when recertification is required and have 90 days to complete the inspection and submit the required reporting documentation. Participating counties are mandating changes to the program in response to an increase in unsafe building assessments. The clearest changes we have seen so far are happening in Miami Dade County.

In February 2022, Miami Dade County commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance that revises procedures and bolsters the existing building recertification code, providing an increased layer of safety to condo residents. This motion includes the following:

  1. A 30-year inspection (rather than the county’s current 40-year mark), and every 10 years after
  2. A two-year notice before the structure is to be inspected
  3. Provision for an electrical disconnect if the building is declared unsafe

In November 2021, the Miami Dade County Board of Rules and Appeals approved the revision to this program with the following changes:

  1. Adding an Infrared Thermography Inspection for electrical systems operating at 400 amps or greater, performed by a Level II or higher certified infrared thermographer who is qualified and trained to recognize and document thermal anomalies in electrical systems and possesses over seven years of experience in commercial inspections.
  2. Adding a new category for building facade assessment, examining the entire exterior facade of a building ensure that various components adhered or mechanically attached do not come loose and fall. This new category considers many miscellaneous building components that the previous program did not include.
  3. Adding inspection for structural glazing of curtain wall systems at six-month intervals for the first year after installation. Subsequent inspections shall be performed at least once every five years at regular intervals for structurally glazed curtain wall systems installed on threshold buildings.
  4. Assessing any building facade appurtenances on an exterior wall, meaning any cladding material, precast appliques, exterior fixtures, ladders to rooftops, flagpoles, signs, railings, copings, guardrails, curtain walls, balcony and terrace enclosures, window guards, window air conditioners, flower boxes, satellite dishes, antennae, cell phone towers, and any equipment protruding from the facade that is mechanically and/or adhesive attached.
  5. Investigating any historical documents and permitting that might be filed with the local jurisdiction. The idea is that this could assist with the overall inspection of the building. Understanding the structural system, building components, and intended design may guide the design professional to investigate certain critical areas of the structure.

How does this affect South Florida?

With new regulations for facilities to obtain their 40, 50, and 60+ year recertifications, South Florida building owners may see slower response times or higher costs for these assessments. Only engineering firms with the technical capacity and experience—including Level II Infrared Thermography—are qualified to guide the building owner through this process. If the property owner fails to obtain the recertification within the timeframe required, the property is referred to the Unsafe Structures Section and an enforcement case is opened. With an increase in demand and response times, South Florida can prepare for these assessments to save money and prevent issues down the road.

What is coming next from the state government?

The Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on February 24, 2022, that would require statewide recertification of any condo building above three stories high. The bill encompasses both residential and commercial buildings and requires recertification after 30 years, or 25 years if the building is within three miles (five kilometers) of the coast, and every 10 years thereafter.

After an initial public hearing, the ordinance passed under Memorandum dated May 3, 2022, and will affect all building jurisdictions throughout Miami Dade. This includes all 34 municipalities that will adopt this county’s administrative procedures to address Unsafe Structures pursuant to Section 8-5(a) of the code.

How can we help?

Walter P Moore’s structural engineers located in Orlando and Miami are experienced in the entire recertification process.

Submit our 40-year recertification request to learn more about how we can help you.

Walter P Moore is compliant with the mandated changes in Miami Dade and Broward Counties for the 40-year recertification program. Our team has decades of structural engineering experience, including rehabilitation, restoration, repair, and assessments on structures of all types. We provide our clients with comprehensive structural evaluations for new, existing, and historic structures, and can deliver prioritized recommendations as well.

We can also assist you in the process of requesting extensions. These are limited to 60 days and include an engineer’s letter certifying that the buildings may be safely occupied while reports are being completed. And the process for handling extended repair timeframes. When repair work requires extended time frames, we can help you process those extensions in six-month increments.

Also, we develop structural and protective systems designs, repair documents for bidding, and provide construction administration services, supporting building owners with local code requirements and safe report filings.

Furthermore, because of the updated Miami Dade requirements, Walter P Moore has gone through training to be a leader in the 40-year recertification program. Our local, in-house, Level II thermographer engineer is available to assist you in compliance with the new November 2021 requirements. In addition, we have many longstanding partnerships with high-quality electrical engineers across South Florida who also specialize in 40-year recertification programs.

We are ready to help you plan your next steps for the current or changing 40-Year Building Safety Inspection program and to answer any questions you have about how this affects your portfolio. Our team is eager to support your code compliance on your timeline and within your budget.

Submit our 40-year recertification request to learn more about how we can help you.

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