Systems, rules, and regulations foster consistency and uniformity for organizations, including the construction and building industry.
Florida law and the Florida Building Commission have created several criteria to guide the industry and ensure the safety and durability of the components being used in Florida building constructions, including a product approval system which ensures:
“Accountability; a higher standard of practice for product evaluations; and uniformity and consistency of enforcement statewide. Evaluations of products covered by the Commission’s rule can only be conducted by nationally accredited and state approved entities or by state licensed engineers and architects. These entities must meet national standards for independence from the manufacturers whose products they evaluate. Manufacturers of covered products must also maintain third party monitored quality assurance programs to verify continued compliance of approved products. In return, building departments must accept Florida Building Commission approved products evaluated by approved entities or Florida P.E.’s and R.A.’s without requiring further testing, evaluation or documentation. Building officials can appeal the required acceptance to the Commission, but must accept the evaluation until the Commission rules on the appeal.” - Florida Building
9 Asked & Answered Florida Product Approved FAQ’s
The following selection of FAQs has been produced by Florida Building Committees to clarify how the Florida Product Approval system works for the building construction industry. To see the full FAQ sheet, click here.
Q: Are all evaluations accepted by the building department?
Answer: “No. Products for which the Code does not establish standard evaluation methods (for instance a standardized test) must still be evaluated by state approved entities or Florida P.E’s or R.A.’s. The building official can question such evaluations for local product approval.”
Q: What products are covered by the law and Commission rule?
Answer: “The covered products all affect the structural integrity of buildings during hurricanes. These categories of products must be approved either by the local building department for local use or by the Florida Building Commission for statewide use. The categories of products includes:
New and innovative building envelope products”
Q: Can a local building department require a manufacturer to get state approval by the Florida Building Commission for their product?
Answer: “No. There is no mandate for state product approval in the law or the rule. Local building officials must offer local product approval to a manufacturer when requested. The manufacturer has the “OPTION” of getting approval by the state.
Applications for state approval by the Florida Building Commission must be made online at www.floridabuilding.org. Once the Commission approves a product, it must be accepted by local jurisdictions.”
Q: What must be done for local approval?
Answer: “The manufacturer must have the product evaluated for compliance with standards established by the Code by a Commission approved entity or Florida licensed P.E. or R.A.
The manufacturer must also contract with a Commission approved quality assurance entity to monitor manufacturing production or have the product listed and labeled by a Commission approved certification program.
The manufacturer must submit: (1) documentation on the evaluation to the building department demonstrating compliance, (2) demonstration of active monitoring of production by an approved QA entity, and (3) the installation instructions.”
Q: What must the local building official verify/validate?
Answer: “That the product evaluation was conducted by a Commission approved entity or Florida licensed P.E. or R.A.; that the manufacturer has a QA program in place monitored by a state approved QA entity or that the product is listed under a Commission approved certification program; and that installation instructions are provided consistent with the evaluation document.”
Q: What must be done for “OPTIONAL” state approval of a product?
Answer: “The requirements for “OPTIONAL” state approval of the manufacturer’s product are the same as for local approval. The product must be evaluated by a Commission approved entity or Florida licensed P.E. or R.A.
The manufacturer must have a QA program in place monitored by a state approved QA entity or the product must be listed under a Commission approved certification program. The manufacturer must submit installation instructions that are consistent with the evaluation document.
A Commission approved validator must review the application and documentation and certify compliance with the Code. Remember, approval of a product by the Commission means that the product may only be used within its limits or conditions of use. The local building department must still approve the product’s use in site specific building projects.”
Q: What documentation is required to demonstrate a product’s compliance with standards adopted by the Code?
Answer: “Where the Code adopts a standard method of evaluating a product’s compliance with the Code, documentation may be: A test report from an approved laboratory; A listing or label from an approved certification agency; or An evaluation report from an approved evaluation entity or Florida licensed P.E. or R.A.
Where the Code does not adopt a standard method of evaluating a product’s compliance with the Code, documentation may be: An evaluation report prepared by an approved evaluation entity or Florida licensed P.E. or R.A.”
Q: When can the building official question the product evaluation from an approved entity or state licensed P.E. or R.A.?
Answer: “Only when: An evaluation is not conducted by a standard method adopted by the Code. There is a request for local product approval.”
Q: Is there an advantage to using the state approval option vs. the local approval?
Answer: “Yes. State approval by the Florida Building Commission shows builders, architects, building officials and inspectors that your products have completed rigorous testing requirements and meet the standards specified in the Florida Building Code. No further documentation is required. However, the local approval option requires the same level of documentation and the local approval is good in that local jurisdiction only.”
Florida Building Code & Florida Product Approval
To see the complete list of FAQs created by the Florida Building Committee, click here, or if you’d like to learn more about Florida Building Code and find state approved products and product entities, go to floridabuilding.com.
We’ve also listed a few quick reads to help you better understand Florida Building Codes and Florida Product Approvals: