SIRS & Milestone Inspections

At Florida 360 Property Management, we prioritize the safety and compliance of the properties we manage. This detailed summary provides an overview of SB-4D, known as the Condo Safety Act, a crucial piece of legislation aimed at enhancing the structural integrity and safety of condominium and cooperative buildings in Florida.

Background of the Condo Safety Act (SB-4D)

In response to the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida, SB-4D was enacted to address the urgent need for improved building safety standards. Signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on May 26, 2022, this legislation mandates regular structural assessments and reserve studies to prevent future disasters.

Key Requirements of SB-4D

The Condo Safety Act introduces mandatory Milestone Inspections and Structural Integrity Reserve Studies (SIRS) for certain buildings to ensure ongoing structural safety and integrity.

Milestone Inspections

Milestone Inspections are thorough evaluations of a building’s structural integrity, conducted by licensed architects or engineers. These inspections are required for condominium and cooperative buildings that are three stories or higher. Buildings must undergo their first Milestone Inspection once they reach 30 years of age, or 25 years if the building is located within three miles of a coastline. Subsequent inspections are required every 10 years. The inspection must include a detailed evaluation of the building’s structural components, such as the foundation, load-bearing walls, and roofing systems, with the goal of identifying any signs of structural deterioration or potential hazards. The findings of the Milestone Inspection must be documented in a report submitted to the local building official and made available to the building’s association and residents, outlining any necessary repairs or maintenance required to ensure the building’s safety.

Milestone Structural Inspection (MSI) Procedure

The Milestone Structural Inspection (MSI) procedure is divided into four phases: Pre-Assessment Phase, Visual Inspection Phase, Creation of MSI Reports, and Meeting with Association Board/Management.

In the Pre-Assessment Phase, the process begins with an interview with the property manager and/or maintenance team, where a written interview questionnaire and document request list are provided prior to the interview. The inspector will review all available and pertinent documentation regarding the property to understand the original design criteria and performance of the structural systems. This includes architectural, structural, and site plans, past repair/renovation project lists, previous engineering reports, and other relevant documents.

The Visual Inspection Phase involves the assessment of existing conditions. The inspector will inspect accessible areas of the exterior façade, foundation walls, interior load-bearing walls, floor systems, and slabs on grade. Approximately 100% of residential units will be evaluated. The scope of inspections will include identifying deterioration of materials, construction defects, and conditions of balconies, windows, doors, and balcony railings.

In the Creation of Milestone Structural Inspection Reports phase, the inspector will prepare Phase 1 Milestone Structural Inspection Reports (one report per building), including findings and recommendations for necessary repairs or maintenance.

Finally, in the Meeting with Association Board/Management phase, a meeting will be held with the association board or management to review the inspection reports, discuss findings, and plan for necessary actions.

Phase 2 of the Milestone Inspection

If substantial deterioration is found during Phase 1, Phase 2 may involve destructive or non-destructive testing at the inspector’s discretion. This additional inspection may be as extensive or limited as necessary to fully assess areas of distress. Phase 2 aims to thoroughly investigate any identified issues to determine the extent of the damage and recommend the necessary repairs or maintenance actions. This phase ensures a comprehensive understanding of the building’s structural health and addresses all potential safety concerns.

Passing the Milestone Inspection

To pass the Milestone Inspection, the association must ensure that the building’s structural components meet safety standards and do not exhibit signs of significant deterioration or potential hazards. The inspection report must show that the building’s foundation, load-bearing walls, roofing systems, and other critical elements are in good condition. Any identified issues must be addressed promptly, with necessary repairs completed to maintain the building’s safety and compliance with regulatory standards. Associations should also ensure that they have adequate reserves to fund these repairs as recommended by the SIRS

Report Submission

Once the Milestone Inspection is complete, the findings must be documented in a report that is submitted to the local building official. Additionally, this report should be made available to the building’s association and residents. The report outlines any necessary repairs or maintenance required to ensure the building’s safety and helps inform future planning and budgeting for maintenance and repairs.

Structural Integrity Reserve Studies (SIRS)

The Condo Safety Act mandates that condominium and cooperative associations conduct Structural Integrity Reserve Studies (SIRS) to ensure that adequate funds are reserved for future repairs and maintenance of critical structural components. Associations must complete a SIRS at least every 10 years. The SIRS must include a detailed analysis of the building’s structural components, including the roof, load-bearing walls, foundation, and other significant elements. The study should estimate the remaining useful life of these components and project the cost of necessary repairs or replacements. Based on the findings of the SIRS, associations are required to budget and allocate reserves to cover future maintenance and repairs. This proactive financial planning helps prevent unexpected financial burdens on property owners and ensures the building’s long-term safety and stability.

Common Elements Included in SIRS

The SIRS covers several critical elements of the building, including roofing systems, the structure (such as foundation, floors, and load-bearing walls), fireproofing and fire safety, exterior painting and waterproofing, plumbing systems, electrical systems, HVAC systems, windows and exterior doors, and pavements. Additionally, it includes other elements over $10,000 that impact the structural integrity of the building, such as handrails, elevators, swimming pools, seawalls, docks, water features, and more.

The Scope of Work for SIRS

The scope of work for a SIRS includes the inspection of all components and systems valued over $10,000. It involves a visual inspection of the property components as required by the governing municipality. The SIRS must be prepared by a licensed architect or engineer authorized to practice in Florida. The licensed architect or engineer and their team will review the visual examination of all habitable and uninhabitable areas of a building, including major components. Access to the inside of the structure, all units, and mechanical rooms is required at the time of inspection.

Requirements for Inspectors

The professionals conducting Milestone Inspections and SIRS must meet specific qualifications to ensure thorough and accurate evaluations. These requirements include:

  • Licensing: Inspectors must be licensed architects or engineers authorized to practice in the state of Florida.
  • Experience: They should have extensive experience in structural assessments and building inspections, with a strong understanding of building codes and safety standards.
  • Professional Standards: Inspectors must adhere to professional standards and ethical guidelines, ensuring unbiased and accurate reporting.
  • Continued Education: They should engage in ongoing education to stay updated on the latest building technologies, safety protocols, and regulatory changes.

Relevant Florida Statutes

Florida Statute 718.112(2)(f) mandates a reserve study for all buildings three stories or more in height, covering major components and requiring a structural integrity reserve study at least every 10 years. Florida Statute 718.301 requires developers to conduct milestone inspections for buildings three stories or more to ensure safety and structural integrity. Florida Statute 719.106(1)(k) mandates cooperative associations to maintain property and conduct milestone inspections for buildings three stories or more. SB-4D, the Condo Safety Act, requires condominium and cooperative associations to perform periodic Milestone Inspections and SIRS for buildings three stories or higher, with initial inspections by December 31, 2024, for existing buildings reaching 30 years of age.