As the registered agent for a Broward County association with a building that recently turned 40 years old, I just received its official "Notice of Required Building Safety Inspection" (aka 40-year certification) from the city of Fort Lauderdale's Building Department.
What does this mean for this particular association?
1. Within 90 days from the receipt of the Notice, a Florida Registered Architect or Engineer must inspect the property and submit a sealed Building Safety Inspection Certification Form to the City;
2. The submitted package must include 1 structural package, 1 electrical package, a permit application and the correct box checked indicating either "Repairs Required" or "No Repairs Needed";
3. The report must be physically dropped off at the City with a $200.00 payment (mailed in reports are not accepted);
4. If the building is determined to be safe, the association will not be required to have another Building Safety Inspection for ten years. If the report indicates there are structural or electrical deficiencies, the association will have 180 days to obtain the necessary permits and complete the necessary repairs;
5. If the association fails to submit the required recertification form, a Notice of Violation and a Notice of Hearing will be issued and significant penalties may ensue; and
6. Extensions can be granted and approved on a case-by-case basis.
Even if you did a complete interior demolition and renovation of your building, you are still not exempt from the 40 year Building Safety Program. Only if your entire building had been demolished would the inspection be waived. The city does not send out an inspector to your property. The city's review is totally based on the architect's report; the architect's seal certifies the integrity of the report and any necessary repairs stated by the Architect will be required by the city.
In Broward County, you can obtain a copy of the Building Safety Inspection guidelines and related forms for the Structural and Electrical Recertification at http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/building_services/40year.htm.
Sooner or later your building will hit its milestone 40th birthday and need to undergo this process.