With “a deafening roar, “ a corner of a downtown Miami building, housing the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, crashed to the ground in 1974, killing seven people. Because of that tragic event, Miami-Dade County as well as their neighbors in Broward County instituted that buildings must be inspected and recertified when they are 40 years old – and again every 10 years thereafter. When you consider the potential for loss from structural age, defects, or hurricanes (this is South Florida), this recertification becomes an important best practice.
Recertification Process Highlights
Building owners are responsible for recertifying the building when it reaches the 40-year milestone (and every 10 years thereafter.) Owners will receive a Notice of Required Inspection from either their city or county officials and must contract an architect or an engineer to inspect the property and sign off on a recertification form within 90 days of receiving the notice.
The architect or engineer hired must be licensed by the State of Florida, and should not be a city inspector. This state licensee will look for structural and electrical issues. Should repairs be needed, owners should make them promptly so the inspector can review the work and grant approval. Once the building is certified as safe for continued occupancy and its specific use, owners will not need to worry about this inspection again for another 10 years.
Are Any Buildings Exempt from the Recertification Process?
Single-family homes, duplexes and non-residential farm buildings.
All other buildings with an occupant load of ten (10) units or less and two thousand (2,000) square feet or less.
A Miami Community Association Board’s Responsibilities
You have a fiduciary responsibility to the homeowners in your building as an Association Board of Directors. These responsibilities include:
- Maintaining the building
- Managing the building
- Taking care of the day-to-day operations of the building
As a board, some of your top responsibilities are implementing proper maintenance programs as well as budgeting for unexpected repairs and capital improvements.
The importance of maintenance cannot be overstated. It preserves and protects the condition of your building, ensuring that inspections like these pass easily and don’t disrupt the association’s daily operations or budget. Required 40-year compliance repairs can be minimal, and the life of your building and its functions will be extended with a preventative maintenance program in place.
Boards often worry this means they need to bring the building current on all codes. Fortunately, they do not have to meet this threshold. Remember, the purpose of the 40 and 10 Year Recertification Program is to ensure your building passes so it is safe to occupy and is ready to survive hurricanes and other dramatic events.
Trident Management’s experience helping condominium associations and other HOAs through recertification helps prevent a straightforward process from escalating into an unpleasant ordeal.
“Our advice after being involved in dozens of recertifications,” says Trident partner Jason Schoenholtz, “is not to wait until the certification is due. Hire your expert well in advance, so you know what to expect and how to budget accordingly. Remember the engineer or architect is hired by the Association so the report they produce belongs to the Association and not the governing agency. The Association can utilize that report as a blueprint to properly plan and strategize for any necessary repairs well in advance of the recertification due date.”