Citation
Top Ten Building Code Violations Found by Florida Building Officials

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Title:
Top Ten Building Code Violations Found by Florida Building Officials
Creator:
LIGATOR, JESSICA
Copyright Date:
2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Building codes ( jstor )
Continuing education ( jstor )
Counties ( jstor )
Fasteners ( jstor )
Hurricanes ( jstor )
Jurisdiction ( jstor )
Questionnaires ( jstor )
Recommendations ( jstor )
Roofs ( jstor )
Trusses ( jstor )
City of Gainesville ( local )

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Jessica Ligator. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
5/31/2007
Resource Identifier:
496802407 ( OCLC )

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TOP TEN BUILDING CODE VIOLATI ONS FOUND BY FLORIDA BUILDING OFFICIALS By JESSICA LIGATOR A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Jessica Ligator

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS There are many people I would like to tha nk for their contribution in making this thesis a reality. I thank Dr. Robert Cox and Dr. Raymond Issa for all their help, ideas, advice, and time. Also I would like to th ank everyone at BOAF and BASF who helped me with my data collection. I would like to thank mom, dad, Jennie, Jill, and Tyler, for all the motivation, support, and love that they have given me.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................vi LIST OF FIGURES..........................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................vi ii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Purpose........................................................................................................................ .2 Summary.......................................................................................................................2 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................................4 Purpose of Building Codes...........................................................................................4 History of Building Codes............................................................................................5 Building Codes in Florid a ............................................................................................5 Code Education and Compliance.................................................................................6 Code Violation Studies.................................................................................................8 Catawba County....................................................................................................8 International Code Council....................................................................................9 University of Florida.............................................................................................9 Forensic Engineering...........................................................................................10 Florida Building Commission.............................................................................11 Code Violation Books.........................................................................................11 Summary.....................................................................................................................12 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................13 Limitations..................................................................................................................13 Distribution.................................................................................................................13 Questionnaire Development.......................................................................................14 Discussion of Survey Categories................................................................................17 General Inspection...............................................................................................18 Foundation Inspection.........................................................................................18

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v Slab Inspection....................................................................................................19 Monolithic Slab Inspection..................................................................................19 Tie Beam/ Lintel Inspection................................................................................19 Sheathing Inspection...........................................................................................19 Framing Inspection..............................................................................................20 Roofing Inspection..............................................................................................20 Final Inspection...................................................................................................20 Building Officials Association of Florida...................................................................20 Summary.....................................................................................................................21 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS........................................................23 Typical Respondent....................................................................................................24 Data Analysis..............................................................................................................24 Top Ten Violations by Mean......................................................................................24 Discussion of Top Violations.....................................................................................26 Strapping..............................................................................................................26 Trusses.................................................................................................................27 Coastal Versus Inland Counties..................................................................................27 Discussion of Results..................................................................................................31 Additional Issues........................................................................................................32 Building without Permits.....................................................................................33 Not being Ready for Inspections.........................................................................33 Florida Accessibility Code..................................................................................33 Summary.....................................................................................................................34 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.....................................................36 Conclusions.................................................................................................................36 Current Continuing Education Programs....................................................................37 Suggested Improvements to Current Education.........................................................37 Recommendations for Future Research......................................................................38 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT............................................................................................40 B QUESTIONNAIRE....................................................................................................42 C INSPECTIONS BY COUNTY...................................................................................45 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................48 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................51

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vi LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1: Determination of Most Frequent Inspections by County..........................................15 4-1: Descriptive Statistics of Top Responses....................................................................25 4-2: Coastal versus In land Top Violations.........................................................................28 4-3: Responses by Location..............................................................................................30

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vii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1: Responding Counties (Shaded).................................................................................23 4-2: Top Ten Building Code Violations............................................................................25 4-3: Division of Flor ida into four areas.............................................................................29

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viii Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Bu ilding Construction TOP BUILDING CODE VIOLATIONS FOUND BY FLORIDA BUILDING OFFICIALS By Jessica Ligator May 2006 Chair: Robert Cox Cochair: Raymond Issa Major Department: Building Construction Since its creation in 1998, th e Florida Building Code is periodically updated. In order for designers and contract ors to keep up with these chan ges, a series of continuing education courses were instated. The purpose of this study was to determine the top ten code violations observed by Florida building officials during inspections an d to then use this information to make practical suggestions on ways to improve the continuing education courses, which in turn would reduce the frequency of these viola tions and improve the general welfare and safety of building occupants. A survey was se nt out to building officials in which they were asked to identify the occurrence rate of inspection violations. The surveys were analyzed statistically and the re sults demonstrated that the ma jority of the top violations occur in the framing process. This inform ation is useful in improving the current education programs.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION When Hurricane Andrew hit South Florid a, in August of 1992; thousands of homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed mainly due to high winds (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admini stration [NOAA], 2002). Hurricane Andrew caused billions of dollars in damage and reve aled a serious statewide problem: FloridaÂ’s antiquated system of locally-administered building codes and build ing code compliance and enforcement (Florida Departme nt of Community Affairs, 2004). In the aftermath of Hu rricane Andrew the Flor ida Building Codes Study Commission was established to evaluate the existing system and to recommend ways to improve or reform the system if this was n ecessary. During sixteen (16) months of study, the commission found a complex and confus ing patchwork system of codes and regulations, which were devel oped, amended, administered a nd enforced differently by more than 400 local jurisdictions and state ag encies. In the case of Hurricane Andrew, the problem was not weakness in the codes themse lves that contributed to the extensive storm damage, rather it was the inability to enforce and comply with the confusing system of multiple codes and administrative processes. It had become clear that Florida needed a single, statewide building code sy stem, and, in 1998, the Florida Building Code was created. This new code went into effect in March of 2001 and in order to improve the transition to the new code changes, a series of continuing educati on courses for building professionals were developed. Additionally to ensure compliance, penalties are instated

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2 to designers and contractors who are found to violate the ne w code standards (Florida Department of Community Affairs, 2004). Purpose The purpose of this study is to determine the current level of general understanding and application of the Florida Building Code by collecting data on common code violations as observed by building inspector s. Through this data collection it will be possible to determine the top ten (10) code violations reported by building inspectors. The results of this study will determine which areas of the building construction process need further or revised code related educa tion. It is hoped that th e improved continuing education courses will help reduce the number of violation occurrences . Additionally it is hoped that the results of th is study will serve to inform a nd educate the public about the most common code violations. Increased aw areness about the most frequent code violations could reduce the occu rrence rate of these infringe ments, which in turn would benefit the general public in several ways. Be nefits from code viol ation reduction include the reduction in costs associated with rework and time delays, the re duction of insurance rates, and the increased safety and health of the building occupants. In order to determine the top ten (10) building code violations, surveys will be conducted to code enforcement officials and th e responses will be st atistically analyzed. This study will be limited to code enforcement agencies in the state of Florida, and the results of this study are limited to the res ponding sample. Based on the level of response, the findings and results may vary. Summary In the next chapter (Chapter 2) the literature pertaining to the subject of codes and code violation studies will be reviewed. Th en in Chapter 3 the methodology for this study

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3 will be described, and the results of the study will be explained in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 will provide the reader with conclusions as well as with recommendations for future study.

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4 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This section summarizes the existing lit erature that was found on building codes and building code violations. This section wi ll cover the history and purpose of building codes, the Florida Building Code and previ ous studies that have been done regarding common code violations. Purpose of Building Codes The purpose of a building code is to esta blish minimum requirements necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare in the built environment. Model building codes provide protection from tragedy caused by fire, structural collapse and general deterioration. The primary application of a building code is to regulate new construction. Building codes usually only apply to an existing building if the building undergoes reconstruction, rehabilitation or alteration, or if the occupa ncy of the existing building changes to a new occupancy as defi ned by the building code (ICC, 2005A). Safe buildings are achieved through proper design and construction practices along with a code administration program that ensures compliance. Model codes keep construction costs down by establishing uniform ity in the construction industry. This uniformity permits building and materials ma nufacturers to do bus iness on a larger scale—statewide, regionally, nationally or internationally. Larger scale allows cost savings to be passed on to the consumer. Codes also help protect real estate investments by providing a minimum level of constr uction quality and safety (ICC, 2005A).

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5 History of Building Codes For thousands of years, building codes a nd regulations have protected the public. The earliest known code of law—the Code of Hammurabi, king of the Babylonian Empire, written in 2200 B.C.—assessed severe penalties, including d eath, if a building was not constructed safely (Encyclopedia Br ittanica, 1910). In the United States the modern building code’s development can be tr aced back to the early 1800’s. During the early 1900's, model building codes were written by code enforcement officials of various communities with assistance from all segmen ts of the building industry. In 1915, code enforcement officials met to discuss co mmon problems and concerns. Out of these meetings came the formation of three organiza tions of code enforcement officials. These organizations were: Building Officials and C ode Administrators (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), and Standard Building Code Congress International (SBCCI). In 1994 a ll three model code groups came together to develop a single set of codes without regional limitati ons and established th e International Code Council (ICC). Since its creati on 48 states have adapted the ICC unified code known as the International Build ing Code (ICC, 2005A). Building Codes in Florida The State of Florida first mandated stat ewide building codes during the 1970's. During the early 1990's a series of natura l disasters, includ ing Hurricane Andrew, together with the increasing complexity of building construction re gulations precipitated the comprehensive review of the state build ing code system (Florida Department of Community Affairs, 2004). Histor ically there have been several occasions in which a city code is reassessed after a majo r disaster. For example after both the Chicago Fire of 1871 and the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 the codes of these cities were revised to

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6 prevent future similar disasters. In Florid a, the study conducted af ter Hurricane Andrew, revealed that building code adoption and enforcement was inconsistent throughout the state, and that those local codes thought to be the str ongest proved inadequate when tested by major hurricane events. The conseque nces of an inadequate code system were devastation to lives and economies and a statewide property insurance crisis. The response was the reformation of the state build ing construction code system that placed emphasis on uniformity and accountability. Th e Florida Building Code, which became effective March 1, 2001, supersedes all local codes. When dist inctive local conditions are not specifically addressed or a jurisdiction believes that code provisions need to be updated, then amendments can be added. However these amendments will only be accepted if they are more stringent than th e existing codes (Florida Department of Community Affairs, 2004). In order to ensure that construction is in line with the Florida Building Code, building inspectors periodically visit each bu ilding or structure for which a permit has been issued. The inspections vary according to the different types of construction. After an inspection has been completed, an in spector will sign a permit card, which must remain onsite in an approved location (Pla ntation Building Department, 2005; City of Melbourne, 2005). The inspection process is admi nistered at the city or county level and may vary slightly across municipalities statewide. Code Education and Compliance T he Florida Building Code is updated by the Florida Building Commission every three (3) years. Designers and contractors must stay informed on all updates. In order to stay informed a series of education and tr aining courses were esta blished along with the code. Fourteen hours board-approved continui ng education is required each biennium

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7 prior to the renewal period for both certified an d registered contractors. Of these at least one hour must deal with workplace safet y, one hour on the subject of worker's compensation, one hour on the subject of bus iness practices and one hour on Florida Building Code advanced modules. Additionally under the new system, designers and contractors will be penalized for repeated violations of code requirements through assessment of quadrupled re-inspection or plan review fees for third violations of the same requirement. Also, violations of code re quirements that pose a si gnificant threat to the health or safety of building occupants or substantial degradation of a buildingÂ’s systems will subject licensed designers and contractors to fines of between $500 and $5,000, and to disciplinary acti on against their license. All fines and disciplinary action will be recorded on an automated information system for review by permitting jurisdictions (Florida Department of Community Affairs, 2000). Until recently, criminal liability did not come into play for building code violations. However, in March 2003, the Mi nnesota Court of A ppeals affirmed the criminal conviction of a construction comp any's CEO for violati ons of the Uniform Building Code in the State v. Arkell case. The CEO was sentenced to pay a fine, make restitution to condominium owners and serve 90 days in jail (with 80 days stayed pending compliance with sentencing conditions).The Arkell case is a landmark decision for construction industry participants. Even though this case was overturned in May, 2005 (Thelen Reid & Priest LLP, 2005), cons truction company owners, officers and shareholders need to be aware that they may face personal criminal liability for unremedied building code violations. Construc tion companies should ensure they have adequate controls and checks in place to addr ess any code violations that may arise and

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8 code violations should be promptly addre ssed, with all correctiv e action adequately documented. Code Violation Studies Few code violation studies have been c onducted in the United States or in other countries. An extensive search uncovered studies concerning common code violations for the following jurisdictions: Catawba C ounty, NC (Catawba County, 2004); Clayton County, GA; Fayette County, GA; Henry Count y, GA; Coweta County, GA (Discovery Inspections, 1999); Columbus, OH (Columbus , 2000). Additionally the International Code Council conducted a nationwide study (I CC, 2005B), and studies have been found that were performed in Florida. Two of these studies was statewide conducted by the University of Florida (McCollum, 2004; Cox, and Issa, 2005), and tw o other studies were performed following Hurricane Andrew. One was performed by Siddiq Khan and Associates (SKA, 2004) for Miami-Dade Count y, and the other was put together by the American Society of Civil Engineers (A SCE, 1994). Another related study was a construction practices/quali ty assessment report done by the Florida Building Commission (FBC, 2005). Catawba County The Catawba County Government Building Codes and Services Department developed a list of the top twenty violations , with five violations in each of four categories: building, plumbing, m echanical and electrical. In the building category the top violations were inadequate roof trusses, design pressure ratings missing on garage doors, missing anchor bolts, improperly installed doors and windows, and rafter to plate connections (Catawba County, 2004). Apart from this list there was no information about

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9 how the top violations were found nor was th ere information regarding the occurrence rate of each violation. International Code Council The most recent study found on building c ode violations was conducted by the International Code Council, which was done for the 2005 building safety week survey with the participation of more than 400 code officials (ICC, 2005B). This study was done with a nationwide survey and looked at ne w and existing home and building construction. In construction of new homes, code official s found the most common code violations to be: Structural and wood framing problem s (30%), grading, foundation, footing and concrete problems (24%), and exit (egress) was also noted (11%), especially problems with stairway handrails. In existing homes, the most common code violations were found to be: Electrical problems (15 %), structural and wood frami ng violations (14%), and exit problems and fire safety related issues ( 13%). The survey also looked at top code violations in new and exis ting buildings and found that in new buildings the top violations were structural and wood framing problems (24%), permit protocol violations (16%), and egress concerns (15%). In exis ting buildings the most common violations were: Egress concerns (21%), fire-related vi olations (17%), electr ical violations (12%) and administrative problems (12%). The study al so found that a large population of those surveyed is unfamiliar with al l the requirements for sprinklers in new and in existing homes and buildings (ICC, 2005B). University of Florida The University of Florida conducted a st udy to find the most common plan review and building inspection violati ons in Florida. From this study two publications were written (McCollum, K., 2004; Cox, R. and Issa, R., 2005). This study was performed by

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10 sending out a survey to plan reviewers in the state of Florida and th en analyzing the data. Responses were received from 22 Florida coun ties. Results from this study determined the top ten violations and showed that the three most common code violations came from wind load and structural calculations ( 45.4%), from the Florida Accessibility Code (43.7%), and from not having revised plans on site (38.8%). This study received a 29% response rate that represente d 33% of Florida’s counties. Forensic Engineering In the aftermath of Hurr icane Andrew, Siddiq Khan and Associates (SKA), a forensic engineering firm, conducted a series of investigative studies on behalf of the Miami-Dade County Building Department and the County Manager's Task Force charged with the review and revision of the South Florida Building Code. Investigative studies included seven residential subdivisions: C ountry Walk, American Homes, Hampshire Homes, Deerwood Homes, Lakes by the Bay, Saga Bay and Naranja Lakes. The data gathered, along with the expertise provided by SKA resulted in the publication of a 10 volume report, titled "Identified Code Viol ations and Construction Deficiencies”. The investigated studies and subse quent reports became a basis for the revision of the South Florida Building Code (SKA, 2005). Another publication that resulted from Hurricane Andrew and helped shape the new Code was entitled “Hurri canes of 1992: Lessons Learne d and Implications for the Future” (ASCE, 1994). This publication resulted from the proceedings of a Symposium organized by the American Society of Ci vil Engineers (ASCE), which was held in Miami, Florida, December 1-3, 1993. This public ation features a broad range of subjects relating to hurricanes and wind storms am ong which are building code implementation and enforcement (ASCE, 1994).

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11 Florida Building Commission In January, 2005 the Florida Building Co mmission released a report entitled “Issues, Options, and Recommendations Re garding Construction and Inspection Practices” (Blair, 2005). Th is report summarizes the fi ndings of a study that was commissioned to Jeff Blair, the Commissi on facilitator with the Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium at Florida State Univ ersity, to address the following three key issues: Study the current practices of builders and inspectors and make recommendations that will maintain the quality of cons truction and the effectiveness of home inspections. Review procedures used by tract builders regarding the post c onstruction checklist, and the length of time for completing the list. Review current practices that inspectors use when doing home inspections as well as the number of inspectors that are available to conduct inspections. The assessment was done mostly thr ough phone interviews and by reviewing relevant construction and inspection documen ts. In relation to the building codes the study found that more education and coordina tion are needed. The study determined that there is a lack of coordina tion between the various profe ssions, trades, associations, industries, regulating and licensi ng entities, and educational e fforts related to construction and inspection practi ces (Blair, 2005). Code Violation Books In addition to code violation studies, a s earch was done to for books relating to this topic and it was found that few books have be en written to educate contractors about common code violations. The Code Check (Casey and Kardon, 2003) series of books and Common Code Violation s…and how to fix them (Underwood, 2004) are condensed guides to commonly cited code vi olations in residential cons truction and are based on the

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12 International Residential Code. Building Codes Illustrated (Ching and Winkel, 2003) is based on the International Building Code but is directed towards architects and is therefore not applicable to this study. No books regarding commercial construction code violations were found during the literature review. Summary Building codes have existed to protect the publicÂ’s welfare for thousands of years. In the United States the modern building code Â’s development can be traced back to the early 1800Â’s. Currently 48 of 50 states use the International Building Code. In Florida statewide building codes were first mandate d in the 1970Â’s. In 1992, after major damage from Hurricane Andrew, a comprehensive review of the state building code system was conducted and it was determined that a uniform statewide code was needed. The Florida Building Code went into effect in Marc h, 2001, and it supersedes all local codes. Compliance with the Florida Building Code is enforced through building inspections, continuing education courses, and violation pe nalties. However code violations still occur and it is the purpose of this study to determin e which violations are the most common and to then educate the population about these vi olations. Increased awareness about common code violations would reduce violation occurr ences and in turn increase the safety and welfare of a buildingÂ’s inhabitants and users. Few studies have been done about the most common code violations, which give s this study added importance. In Chapter 3, the methodology for this st udy will be laid out including how the survey was developed and its distribution. The results of this study will be discussed in Chapter 4 along with a discussion about wh at the implication of these results. Additionally in Chapter 5 conclusions a nd recommendations for future study will be given.

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13 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The objective of this study is to determine the most prevalent code violations observed by building officials during the existe nce of the current Fl orida Building Code. A survey was sent out to building depart ments statewide. The collected data was analyzed and the results of this analysis wi ll be used in making recommendations about the content and success of the existing con tinuing education courses. This section discusses the methodology used to develop the questionnaire. Limitations The results of this study are limited to th e responding building o fficials of the state of Florida. Additionally the survey does not specify if th e violations are specific to commercial or residential construction. Many violations may be exclusive to either residential or commercial cons truction and further study in this area could concentrate on making this distinction. This st udy is also limited to finding t op violations that occur only during the building inspection process and does not address violations that occur during the plan review process or a ny other types of violations. Distribution Once the questionnaire was finalized, it was sent to the University of FloridaÂ’s Institutional Review Board to get approval fo r distribution. A copy of this approved form can be found on the Building Consent Form located in Appendix A Once this approval was received the intention was to send out th e survey to all the bu ilding inspectors whose

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14 name appeared on a master list that wa s compiled by the Building a Safer Florida (BASF). Because of the low response rate received in the study entitled “Top Ten Building Code Violations” (McKollum, 2004) the help of the Building Officials Association of Florida (BOAF ) was enlisted to create more interest among the building officials in this study. Additionally the particip ation of the BOAF helped ensure that the respondents understood the importance of the su rvey and that they understood that the survey was not a performance evaluation in a ny way. It was felt that with the assurance of the BOAF the potential res pondents would feel more comfor table filling out the survey and hence the response rate w ould be higher than in previ ous studies. Additionally this study was commissioned by the Building a Safe r Florida (BASF). The BOAF compiled a list of all the building inspect ors of building departments in Florida along with their contact information and the survey was sent ou t to these individuals electronically as an attachment. Building inspectors were asked to complete the form and fax or email it back. The survey was also put online with the a ppropriate link sent out electronically to inspectors. Through this method the inspecto rs could click on the link and fill out a survey online. This alternate method was de veloped to give the inspectors various choices in methods of completing the surve y, as well as convenience to help promote responses. Questionnaire Development A survey was designed to obtain the quant itative data needed for statistical analysis. This survey entitled “Building C ode Violations Questionnaire” can be found in Appendix B. Section I of the questionnaire as ks for demographics data of the respondent, including government entity, name of res pondent, county/location, a nd professional title and if the inspector would like to receiv e a copy of the results . Section II of the

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15 questionnaire deals with identifying the occu rrence rate of the lis ted building inspection violations per 10 violations seen. During th is study a discussion arouse regarding whether the occurrence rate should be listed in reference to how often they occur per 10 inspections or how often they occur per 10 violations. It is noted that both possibilities would determine the same top violations howev er the occurrence rate for these violations would be expressed as a diffe rent number or percentage rat. Although most respondents did not seem to be confused with the wording of this surv ey, one building official in particular expressed confusion with regard s to the phrasing of the survey questions. Perhaps in future studies surveys could be written using a different set of wording to determine if a changed phrasing would have an impact on the final results of this type of study. The list of violations was identified fr om a statewide search of building inspection cards. This search turned up inspection cards from thirteen (13) Florida counties. Once the inspection cards were found, a spreadsheet was created to determine what the most common inspections were. This spreadsheet can be seen in its entirety in Appendix C. Additionally a section of this spreadsheet that shows the nine main inspection categories that were found appears in Table 3-1. Table 3-1: Determination of Most Frequent Inspections by County Charlote Alachua Hernanand Lake Orala Osceola Pinel.la Putnam Brevard Highland Jupiter Walton Escambia Total Site/ General 1 1 1 1 4 building framing 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 footer/ foundation 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13 mono slab 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 building slab 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13 wall sheathing 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 roof/sheathing 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 lintel 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 roof final 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 10 building final 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12

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16 In the development of this spreadsheet th irteen building cards were consulted and therefore a frequency of four (4) is equal to a frequenc y of 31% with the highest frequency being that of a thir teen (13) or 100%. This spr eadsheet determined that the most common inspections can be categorized in to nine (9) inspection types, these being: general, footing, slab, monolithic slab, tie beam/ lintel, sheathing, framing, roof, and final. The number of subcategories within those categories totaled up to 48. All these categories were put into the survey that was sent out to building o fficials. Additionally within each category, one sub category named “other” was ad ded for the respondent to add any other common violations experienced in their jurisdic tion, along with their occurrence rate, that were not in cluded in the questionnaire. Section II of the questionnaire uses a seven point Likert Scale with possible answers being: “0”, “1-2”, “3-4”, “5”, “6-7”, “8-9”, “10”. The online version of this survey separates the categories into individual numbers, crea ting eleven possible answers, instead of seven. In terms of frequency, a res ponse of “1-2” indicates a violation is seen in 10-20% of the inspections, while a “10” w ould indicate that the violation is observed 100% of the time. At the end of this section of the questionnaire the pa rticipant is asked if there are any other violations th at do not fit into any of the categories listed, if there is historical data backing up th e inspectors perceptions regarding code viol ations and if so how access to this data can be gained. The last question asks if there is any other information that the respondent would like to add that woul d be relevant to the study. Another tool that was used in the developmen t of the survey was the survey used in the study done by the University of Florida (McK ollum, 2004). This was used as a baseline to determine the format of the survey as we ll as what questions regarding demographics

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17 needed to be asked. In additi on to the content of the surve y, the length of the survey as well as the possible responses was different for both surveys. In the survey from the University of Florida study, possible responses ranged from one (1) through ten (10), and leaving the survey blank at any question was counted as a response of zero (0). In the survey done for this study, zero (0) was a possi ble response, and leaving the survey blank at any question was not counted, that is to say it was seen as a non response to the question. The length of this survey was longer than the previous survey. This was due to the fact that there were time limitations for this study and onl y one survey could be sent out. In an ideal situa tion, one long survey would be se nt out to determine the most common violations and then a shorter survey would be sent out that would contain the top violations that were found in the firs t survey along with some randomly chosen violations. A shorter survey could increase the amount of re sponses, since some officials might be reluctant to answer a long survey. Discussion of Survey Categories The information about building inspections available to the public varied greatly from county to county. With regards to the necessary inspec tions, most building departments had websites but some websites did not mention anything about inspections while other websites provided lists that were detailed and gave a thorough explanation for each inspection item. For example for one inspection named monolithic slab the following are some of the different descriptions that were found for this item: 1010 Monolithic Footing/ Slab (Osceola County, 2006). Monolithic Footing/ Slab (222) Descrip tion: To be made after trenches are excavated, organic debris is removed and forms erected with all steel in place, supported and secured, and any required va por barrier is inst alled and required termite protection is provided (Putnam County, 2006).

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18 Monolithic Slab Inspection: Verify depth and width of footing, ditches must be square, clean, and dry. Verify that wire mesh is in place and lapped properly. If fiber mesh is to be used, inspector will make a notation on the blue card and in the computer (Escambia County, 2006). There were also discrepancies among th e amount of inspections required in each county. This discrepancy might be due to th e fact that some counties include various inspections under one general li sting while other counties br eak the inspection down into smaller components. Additionally it can be infe rred that some counties are more stringent with their inspections than other counties, and this is an item that would be useful to study in future research. As seen in Table 3-1 there was nine (9) main categories of inspections with forty eight ( 48) subcategories that were in cluded in the survey. A list of the inspection items covered in the survey along with a brief description about what each inspection entails is given in the following pages. General Inspection The general category refers to items that must be completed before construction even begins. Among this list are having the a pproved plans on site, the building card posted, and sanitary facilities on site. Foundation Inspection This category was found on 100% of th e referenced inspection cards. The subcategories within this category that were most common include the depth and width of the foundations, verification of the finished floor height, step dow ns and grade stakes. According to explanations given in various building inspection car ds, the grade stake inspection is to demonstrate that the survey stakes for the proposed grading work have been placed according to the approved plan. Th e verification of finish floor height is to determine if vertical steel w ill be required. The step-down inspection should verify that

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19 step downs are properly squared off and the depth and width inspecti on should also verify that ditches are square, clean and dry. Slab Inspection The Slab category was also found in 100% of the inspection cards. Among the subcategories under this item are verificati on of the vapor barrier being in place, verification of soil (t ermite) treatment being completed, verification that soil has been compacted properly, verification of grade beam s in place, and verification of the slab depth. One explanation reported that the slab depth should not go under 3.5 inches in any part of the slab (Escambia County, 2006). A dditionally at this tim e all the underground plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and gas must be in place to be inspected and approved. Monolithic Slab Inspection This category was listed 62% of the time . One reason for this lower occurrence might be that many counties consider the slab inspection to include this category as well. Among the subcategories under this item were ve rification of depth and width as well as verification of reinfo rcing (wire mesh). Tie Beam/ Lintel Inspection This category also occurred in 62% of th e inspection cards viewed. This inspection must be made before the placement of any concre te and it is done to ensure that all forms and steel are in place and properly tied a nd supported. Additionally one subcategory that refers to cleanouts requires that all vertical downpours are according to plan and clean. Sheathing Inspection Among the inspection cards two separate categories were found for this category one was wall sheathing and one was roof sh eathing. No general category called just sheathing was found but this was used as a cate gory to be able to group together these

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20 important sub-categories. Wall sheathing was mentioned in 69% of the inspection cards and roof sheathing was mentioned in 62% of the cases. Framing Inspection Framing was observed in 92% of the insp ection cards but was listed under several names, some inspection cards called it frami ng, some called it structural framing. This category is the one that has the most subcateg ories. The subcategorie s listed are top/sole plate attachments, attic access, fire bloc king, fireplace and chimne y, windows and doors, connectors, wind braces, trusses, strapping, weat herproofing (house wrap), as well as all the MEP rough ins. Roofing Inspection Roofing was observed in 77% of the inspec tion cards, and different components of roofing were listed as well in a high per centage of the cards. Among the most common roofing components were flashi ng, fasteners and felt/paper. Final Inspection A final inspection was observed in 92% of the cases. Some inspection cards explained what the final inspection entailed whil e other ones just listed it as final. Some of the components that are a part of the fina l inspection and were included in this section are address, smoke detectors, guardrails/handra ils/stairs, and all the final inspections for electrical, plumbing, mechanical and gas. Building Officials Asso ciation of Florida The Building Officials Associ ation of Florida (BOAF) is a professional, non-profit, state-wide volunteer organization comp rised of code officials and industry representatives from nearly every jurisdiction in Florida. Since it's inception in 1953, the Building Officials Association of Florida (BOAF) has been dedicated to the building

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21 code enforcement profession. The goal of th is association is to foster communication between all groups associated with the construction industry, and to provide for the safety, health and welfare of the citizens of the State of Florida; through the education, development, maintenance and enforcem ent of building codes (BOAF, 2006). Building A Safer Florida, Inc. is a not-fo r-profit corporation formed in 2001 that is comprised by several other organizations including BOAF, Florida AIA, Florida Engineering Society (FES), Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA), Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), Florida AGC Council, and Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors (FRSA). This corporation was formed to encourage, promote, and achieve coordination between i ndustry associations to achieve compliance with Florida's building codes; to reach out to Florida licensees required to comply with Florida Building Codes training requirements and construction standa rds; to serve as a clearinghouse for training and other informati on relating to construction standards, best practices, innovative techniques, and other associated matters; to serve as a resource for information relating to construction sta ndards in Florida (BOAF, 2006). Additionally both the BOAF and the BASF have websites that offer information for code officials such as code interpretations, discussion groups, a nd continuing education information as well as other useful links for both buildin g officials and the general public. Summary A questionnaire was developed to dete rmine the top building code inspection violations in the state of Florida. This questionnaire was then sent out to an email list of building inspectors, which was compiled by the Building Officials Association of Florida. In this questionnaire the respondent s were asked to answer questions regarding demographics, identify the occurr ence rate of code violations for close to 50 inspections;

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22 list any other common violations that were not listed; and add any comments that could be useful to the study. The questionnaire data was collected and anal yzed and details of this analysis will be discussed in Chapter 4. Any conclusions r eached will be used to analyze the content and success of the current Florida Building CodeÂ’s continuing education programs for contractors. Once the current programÂ’s effectiveness is kno wn and the areas that need improvement are identified, it will be possibl e to devise a more effective continuing education program.

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23 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS Thirty six (36) surveys were received, out of these all but one was received thru the internet, one was received by ma il. Three of these surveys were thrown out because they did not provide any information, that is to say it was sent back to us without being filled out. Additionally one survey was used but did not have the jurisdiction location and could not be used for other analysis. Because there were several respondents from various counties, the valid thirty thr ee (33) surveys used in this study represent on ly twenty one (21) of sixty seven (67) Fl orida counties or 31%. Figure 4-1 represents the counties whose responses were used in the analysis. Figure 4-1: Responding Counties (Shaded)

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24 Additionally Figure 4-1 demonstrates the broad range of locations from which responses were received, including several inland as well as coas tal counties, and the apparent lack of response from counties on the west coast of Florida. Typical Respondent The typical respondent was a Building Offi cial (36%), a Chief or Deputy Building Official (16%), or a Building Inspector (26 %). Most respondents ma intain authority over cities, townships or towns (72%), and some maintain authority over counties (26%). Data Analysis Once all the surveys were received, the responses were entered into an excel spreadsheet for analysis and the descriptiv e statistics function was used to gather information from the responses. The statistics used in the analysis of the responses were mean, standard error, median, mode, standard deviation, and range. At the conclusion of this analysis the top ten violations were determined. Additionally other information was determined such as top violations for each category and if there were any location correlations. Top Ten Violations by Mean After the initial analysis the top ten violations were determined. Figure 4-2 demonstrates the top ten violations with their respective occurrence rate. The top violations reported in order of occurrence with their respecti ve occurrence rate were as follows: Strapping (39.7%), Trusses (39.6%), Connectors (36.9%), Roof Sheathing (36.1%), Fire Blocking (33.6%), Windows a nd Doors (32.9%), Electrical Rough-in (31.0%), Wind Braces (29.0%), Fasteners (28.0 %), and Stairs and Handrails (27.7%). From the above list of violations 7 are from the framing category: strapping, trusses, connectors, fire blocking, windows and doors, electrical rough-in and wind braces. The

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25 remaining three violations are from the sheathing category (roof sheathing), roofing category (fasteners), and final category (stairs and handrails ) respectively. Top Ten Violations0.00 0.50 1.00 1.50 2.00 2.50 3.00 3.50 4.00 4.50 StrappingTrussesConnectorsRoof Sheathing Fire BlockingWindows & Doors Rough-in Electrical Wind BracesFastenersStairs & Handrails Violation TypeOccurrence Rate per 10 Figure 4-2: Top Ten Build ing Code Violations The top ten violations were chosen accord ing to their mean rank. Further analysis was also done and Table 4-1 shows the complete statistical analysis of the top violations. Table 4-1: Descriptive St atistics of Top Responses Strapping Trusses Connectors Roof Sheathing Fire Blocking Windows & Doors Rough-in Electrical Wind Braces Fasteners Stairs & Handrails Mean 3.97 3.95 3.69 3.61 3. 36 3.29 3.10 2.90 2.80 2.77 Standard Error 0.47 0.49 0.47 0.40 0.47 0.35 0.43 0.41 0.44 0.51 Median 3.00 3.00 3.00 4.00 2.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 2.00 2.00 Mode 3.00 1.00 3.00 1.00 2. 00 5.00 1.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 Standard Dev. 2.56 2.59 2.52 2.13 2.53 1.90 2.34 2.23 2.29 2.69 Range 8.00 8.00 9.00 8.00 8.00 7.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 10 Minimum 1.00 1.00 0.00 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0 Maximum 9.00 9.00 9.00 9.00 8.00 7.00 8.00 8.00 8.00 10 Sum 115.00 110.50 107.00 101.00 97. 50 95.50 90.00 84.00 75.50 77.5 Count 29 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28 28

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26 The findings of this statistical analysis will be discussed for better understanding of Table 4-1. The Mean number is out of a maxi mum of ten (10) so in no case could the mean be higher than ten. The highest mean was 3.97, which signifies that out of ten observed violations 3.97 strappi ng violations were observed, and this translates into a frequency of 39.7%. The highest possible range was also that of a ten (10), and was observed only once for stairs and handrails. This range means that the occurrence rate chosen by each respondent for this category varied from zero to ten. The lowest range seen was that of a seven (7) and occurred in the doors and windows category. Overall the ranges were very high, which is not an ideal occurrence in statisti cal analysis. However this range variation caused a more detaile d study at the responses by location, and the results of this study will be discussed later on in this chapter. Because thirty three (33) surveys were used in this study, this was the highest count numb er that could be achieved. However since respondents had the choice of not responding to each question, in no instance was the maximum response ach ieved. Instead the highest count was of 29, which occurred in one instance while a count of 28 occurred in all other instances. Because of the composition of the questions an swers of zero (0) were also included in the count. Discussion of Top Violations When the survey responses were analy zed statistically a nd ranked by mean to determine which violations occurred most fre quently the top two violations were found to occur during the strapping and truss inspect ions. Following is a brief discussion and description about these inspection categories.

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27 Strapping Hurricane straps are joints of galvanized steel that secure a building’s roof to its walls; they can also be used to attach to window sills, wall inte rsections, and upper and lower floor wall studs. There are a variety of styles of hurrican e straps that are available to fit the type of construction of a building. Hurricane straps resist the natural structural movement of buildings in hurricanes, torn adoes, and earthquakes, and when installed correctly, they increase the st rength of a building’s constr uction significantly and are required by code officials and insurance comp anies. Strapping was cited as being the most common violation. The specific violati ons regarding strapping were not addressed in the survey, but typical infrac tions could be not lack of stra ps, improper use of straps, or incorrectly placed and installed straps. Furthe r studies in this area should be done to obtain information on the specific vi olations in this category. Trusses Trusses are used to frame the roof of a bu ilding and to carry th e roof load to the exterior walls of a structure. A previous st udy by the University of Florida (McKollum, 2004) found that during plan re view truss layout is one of the top ten violations. Additionally this study found th at trusses were the second most common violation during building inspections. Typical violations for tr usses could be imprope r layout, slope, size, spacing, and load bearing capacity. Additional research should be done to identify the specific violations in this category. Coastal Versus Inland Counties Once the top ten violations were determin ed according to their mean rank, further studies of the available data were done. This further analysis was done to determine if there was a difference between the respons es received between coastal and inland

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28 counties. This additionally analysis was also do ne to determine if the high range reported in the statistical analysis could be attri buted to the different locations from which responses were received. Table 4-2: Coastal versus Inland Top Violations Rank Inland MeanCoastal Mean 1 Trusses 5.2 Strapping 3.78 2 Connectors 5 Roof Sheathing 3.7 3 Stairs & Handrails 4.25 Trusses 3.52 4 Strapping 4.2 Connectors 3.21 5 Windows & Doors 4 Fire Blocking 3.07 6 Weatherproofing 4 Windows & Doors 3.07 7 Fasteners 4 Rough in Electrical 2.87 8 Address 4 Wall Sheathing 2.61 9 Fire Blocking 3.8 Wind Braces 2.56 10 Wind Braces 3.8 Stairs & Handrails 2.54 Of the surveys that were received six (6 ) were from inland counties and the rest from coastal counties. A comparison of means was done to see if there was any noticeable difference between the top viola tions in inland counties versus coastal counties. Table 4-2 demonstrates the top ten violations for inland and coastal counties. Seven violations were common to both categ ories while the remaining ones, shown in bold in Table 4-2 were different. It is important to note that although the top violations in inland counties were very similar to those in coastal c ounties, the mean was very different. In Coastal counties the highest mean was 3.78, which is lower than the lowest mean for inland counties, which was 3.8. This difference demonstrates that in general there are more violation occurrences in inland counties than in coastal counties. Th is variation could be due to the fact that

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29 coastal counties have suffered more damage due to hurricanes and are more interested in adhering to the building codes to reduce or mi nimize damage from natural disasters. In addition to the comparison between in land and coastal responses, a comparison was done to determine which counties consiste ntly had the highest and lowest violation occurrence rates, and if there was any relati onship between the geogr aphical location of a county and their mean frequency. The counties were organized according to their location into one of four possible groups: West Florida, North Florida, Central Florida, and South Florida. The separation of the state into thes e four areas did not adhere to any current standards, but were created by the author for this study. Figure 4-3 demonstrates the division of Florida into four basic areas and which counties repr esent each location. Figure 4-3: Division of Fl orida into four areas.

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30 Once this was done the response rate of each county in regards to the top ten violations was listed and a mean was calculate d. In this analysis, the two counties with the highest mean violation occu rrence rate were Volusia and Br evard. It is interesting to note that both these counties are located near each other in the area that the author has named Central Florida. Table 4-3: Responses by Location. West Fl. Strapping Trusses Connector Roof Sheathing Fire blocking Windows and Doors Rough in electrical Wind Braces Fasteners Stairs, handrails, guardrails Mean Escambia 4 3 2 5 4 6 0 4 2 6 3.6 Bay 2 1 3 2 2 2 2 1 2 1.89 Santa Rosa 2 4 3 4 1 2 2 0 4 1 2.3 Walton 2 7 2 2 3 4 1 2 1 4 2.8 Okaloosa 4 1 4 1 1 3 3 2 1 2 2.2 North Fl. Leon 5 3.5 5 5 6.5 6.5 5 5 6.5 6.5 5.45 Lafayette 3 2 1 4 2 1 3 3 2 2 2.3 Alachua 5 9 4 6 7 3 4 3 2 4.78 Nassau 3 3 5 4 6 4 2 3 2 3 3.5 Duval 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Central Fl. Volusia 9 7 9 3 8 4 8 8 6 8 7 Pinellas 1 1 0 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 0.7 Brevard 7 7 8 4 8 5 7 7 3 2 5.8 Polk 5.5 4.5 6 5.5 4.5 2 4 4 4 4 4.4 Lake 1 4 3 2 0 1 2 3 2 1 1.9 Orange 4 3.5 4 1.5 1. 5 3.5 4 3.5 1.5 0 2.91 South Fl. Broward 3 3 6 5 5 5 1 3 6 4 4.1 Palm Beach 6 5.25 4.25 4.5 3.5 4.25 4.5 3.25 4.25 2 4.18 Hardee 3 3 6 2 3 3 3 1 3 Monroe 2 1 0 1 2 1 1 1 0 1 1 Indian River 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 2 1 1 2.4 The three counties with the lowest mean vi olation occurrence rate were Pinellas, and Duval and Monroe both had the same m ean of 10%. No locat ion relationship was

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31 found between these occurrences, however in ge neral the ranges were less varied when the results were viewed in this manner. Tabl e 4-3 demonstrates the responses of the top ten violations by county. When more than one response was receive d from the same county, the average of these responses was used. The counties that had the most responses were Palm Beach, Orange and Polk counties, while other count ies had no responses, future studies might concentrate on the reason why some countie s were more willing to participate than others. Discussion of Results Although there was a low response rate, which could inhibit accurate results, comparisons done with the results from the study done by the International Construction Council study (ICC, 2005) demonstrated many similarities in the results and supported the validity of this study. The ICC found that structural and wood framing problems were the most predominant at 30% of all viola tions. This study found that of the top ten violations seven (7) were from the framing cat egory, these results coin cide with those of the ICC. It is also importa nt to note that a study on t op violations done in Catawba County, NC also listed many framing probl ems among the most frequent violations (Catawba County, 2004).The ICC also found that problems with stairs and handrails were predominant and occur 11% of the time, while this study found that stair and handrail violations are responsible for 27% of all violations. In comparing the results of this study to the results of the study entitled “Top Ten Building Code Violations in Florida” sim ilarities were also found. The most common violation that appeared in both studies was related to trusses. Truss violations in the plan review process are most commonly related to the layout of the trusses, while truss

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32 violations during the inspection process are according to speculation, most commonly dealing with the means of attachment of tru sses to other framing members. In the study by the University of Florida vi olations with the Florida Acce ssibility Code were found to have a high frequency. In this study, even t hough the Florida Accessibility Code was not an item included in the survey, it continuously appeared as an item that had frequent violations because when respondents were aske d to name any other violation not listed on the survey they answered problems with the Accessibility Code. Additionally the comparison of these two studies resulted in a discussion about whether problems during building inspections are being overlooked dur ing the plan review process, and that perhaps there should be a more detailed le vel of examination during the plan review process, to reduce violations that occur late r on in the building process. For example there could be a requirement to have detailed framing drawings reviewed during plan examination and this might reduce the fre quency of framing violations during the building inspection process because contractor s would have more information regarding the requirements for framing. When comparing the results to this study to all previous studie s it is determined that framing violations and stair and handr ail violations are a consistent problem throughout the state of Florida as well as nati onwide. With regards to roof fasteners and roof sheathing no previous studies were found that determined that these were areas where frequent violations occurred. Additional Issues The respondents had the opportunity to lis t problems that the survey may have overlooked. Among the comments there were th ree topics that consistently were

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33 addressed. These comments were buildi ng without permits, no t being ready for inspection, and accessibility issues. Building without Permits Florida Building Code Section 104.1 requi res that a building permit be obtained prior to construction, a lterations, repairs, and relocations . A property owner or contractor who starts work without first obtaining a perm it could be subject to a penalty of 100% of the usual permit fee. Projects started without a building permit can result in greatly increased costs, delays, and even removal of structures. Most contractors are aware when a permit is required and failure to obtain a perm it is not considered an issue that needs to be improved with continuing education. It is important however to find a way to educate owners about the need for permits and a bout the need to hire only professional contractors who will not try to skirt around the requirements. Not being Ready for Inspections Many contractors schedule inspections wh en they are not ready for inspections. This may occur because the project falls be hind schedule or because the contractor is unsure of what the specific in spection that needs to be done . Existing reinspection fees are in place to reduce this occurrence. Howe ver a uniform statewide inspection process would help to further reduce the incidences buildings not being ready for inspections. Florida Accessibility Code The Florida Accessibility Code incorporates the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) into the Florida Building Code. It is noted that this study did not consider accessibility as an issue that comes up during building inspections but as an issue that must be addressed during plan review, how ever it was brought up during this study that perhaps accessibility had to be checked during building inspections as well. In a previous

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34 study on top violations during the plan revi ew, violations deali ng with the Florida Accessibility Code were one of the most fre quently listed violations (McKollum, 2004). Summary Building Officials throughout Florida were asked to answ er a survey regarding top code violations. Thirty three (33) responses were received and used for statistical analysis. The responses from these surveys we re entered into an excel spreadsheet and descriptive statistics were performed. From th e statistical analysis the top ten violations were determined. Among the t op ten violations, seven violat ions were from the framing category. The top two violations are strapping an d trusses. The responses were then divided into two groups, t hose belonging to inland counties and those belonging to coastal count ies and the top violations were once again determined to see if there were any significan t differences. Out of the top ten violations, seven were present in both the coastal and inland counties. The three remaining categories were different with the inla nd counties having more violations with weatherproofing, fasteners and final addr ess and the coastal counties having more violations with sheathing a nd electrical rough-in. The top two violations for inland counties were trusses and connectors, while the top two violations for coastal counties were strapping and roof sheathing. In genera l inland counties had a higher occurrence rate of violations than coastal counties; this difference could be attributed to the fact that coastal counties are more willing to follow building codes to minimize the effects of natural disasters. The results were then separated into f our groups, each one representing a different location within Florida: West , North, Central, and South. The different response rates were compared to see if there were any no ticeable differences between the responses of

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35 the different areas. When the responses were di vided into four groups, the range of values for each response became significantly reduced. The results were also compared to tw o previous studies done about the most common violations to determine if there were any similarities. It was determined that in previous studies, framing issues were also c ited as being an area were frequent violations occur. The same was true for violations with stairs and handrails. The similarities between this study and previous ones help support this study but also demonstrate the need for increased awareness in these areas. Increased awareness about the top violations should reduce their frequency as well as pr omote safer and healthier buildings. In the next chapter (Chapter 5) a summary of this study will be given with the appropriate conclusions as we ll as recommendations for future studies in this area of research.

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36 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS A literature review for building code viola tions and the effectiveness of continuing education courses in construction found no info rmation specific to the state of Florida. Only one study was found that dealt with the top violations in Florida and this study dealt primarily with plan review violations. To th e extent of our knowledge this is the first study that looks at frequent violations in the inspection process within the entire state of Florida. This study along with the one c onducted on plan inspection violations should provide a good point of departure for th e reforms that will be preformed on the continuing education process. The top two violations reporte d through this survey were strapping and trusses and both these categories were part of the frami ng category. Additionally seven out of the ten top violations were from the framing cat egory. When analysis was done comparing inland versus coastal jurisdictions, similar results were achieved. Conclusions The primary purpose of this study was to identify the top viol ations that occur during the inspection process in the state of Florida. The pur pose of identifying these top violations was to then use th is information to make the ap propriate additions and changes to the current continuing education process. Fr om the results of this survey it is evident that more education is needed in the area of framing, specifically strapping and trusses.

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37 Current Continuing Education Programs Currently all designers and contractors mu st stay informed on all updates to the Florida Building Code through a series of edu cation and training cour ses. Fourteen hours board-approved continuing education is required each biennium prior to the renewal period for both certified and registered contract ors. Of these at least one hour must deal with workplace safety, one hour on the subjec t of worker's compensation, one hour on the subject of business practices and one hour on Florida Building Code advanced modules. The Department of Business and Profe ssional Regulation, through the Construction Industry Licensing Board, is in charge of regulating that contractors meet the requirements needed to obtain and retain their license. This department maintains a list of approved providers of education courses. Pr oviders are approved through a three tiered process and once approved courses are valid for two years. The current approved list contains more than one hundred (100) provi ders. If a contractor does not fulfill the continuing education course each renewal period, they will get a deficiency letter, if after receipt they still fail to co mplete the required courses, their license will be revoked (Division of Business and Pr ofessional Regulation, 2006). Suggested Improvements to Current Education It is suggested that under the required hours for continuing ed ucation, it should be mandatory to take at least one hour on a special ty topic that relates to the most frequent violations. Furthermore a study similar to th is one should be pref ormed every three to four years to keep abreast of what the comm on violations are and c ontinuously update the education program. Because framing issues ar e the most frequent violations at this moment, it is recommended that a mandatory framing class be added to the core requirements.

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38 moment, it is recommended that a mandatory framing class be added to the core requirements. Additionally in order to pr omote learning and awareness more hours of education could be required and the cla ss listing could be expanded to include more topics, so that contractors are continuo usly learning and not repeating th e same classes year after year. This research did not address the current co st of continuing educa tion classes or their location but perhaps these are two issues that could be addressed with regards to the current education program to determine if a ny changes to cost or location are needed. Additionally one important step that the st ate of Florida can ta ke to reduce code violations is to standardize the inspecti on process across the state. Currently the inspection process and required inspections va ry widely from county to county, so if a contractor builds in more than one county th ey may be faced with inspection violations for items that they were unaware of. Sta ndardization of the in spection process will strengthen the success of the Florida Building Code and of the continuing education program. Recommendations for Future Research This study is just the beginning of what could be a very long yet rewarding investigation. Because of the low response ra te, future studies s hould try to achieve a higher response to cover most of the state of Florida. Gathering more information from the missing areas of Florida in regards to building inspection violations would yield a more complete study, which in conjunction with the study done on plan review violations would result in a very good starting point for assessing the curren t understanding of the Florida Building Code. Future studies should go into a greater detail about the exact nature of violations. For example now that it is known that strappi ng violations are the

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39 most common, it would be good to know exactly what type of strapping violations are occurring. For example is the contractor leaving out the strapping, not installing it correctly or perhaps there is another type of violation. This type of study would give an even better idea about the speci fic areas where education cour ses need to be altered. Additionally, studies should focus on whet her the violations are occurring during new or existing construction and whether they are part of house or commercial building. There could be significant diffe rences between these areas th at could lead to important insight. Also studies should be done on the num ber of inspectors in a jurisdiction with regard to that areas population or to that areas building permit. This in addition to knowing the amount of violations in one area could lead to important findings on what the ratio of building inspector s to buildings should be.

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40 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT Dear Building Official, On behalf of the Florida Building Co mmission, the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida is conducting a statewide study concerning the most prevalen t code violations observed during the current Florida Building CodeÂ’s existence. We are asking you to participate in this survey due to your significant position in the construction industry. The purpose is to analyze your and other building departmentsÂ’ data concerning observed buildi ng code violations since Ma rch 1, 2001 (effective date of present Florida Building Code). The results will assist us in pr oviding recommendations for training to contractors and with your he lp reduce the occurrence of code violations. The results of this study should make your job easier by helping to prevent consumer harm. The survey will take you approximately 10 minutes to complete. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this survey. However, upon your participation, you wi ll be provided with a summary report of the study following its completion. At all times , your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. You are also free to withdraw your consen t to participate and may discontinue your participation in the surv ey at any time without consequence. If you have any questions about th is research protocol, pleas e contact me at 904-891-7277 or my faculty supervisor Dr. Robert Cox, at 352-273-1153. Questions or concerns about

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41 your rights as a participant may be directed to the UFIRB office, Un iversity of Florida, Box 11225, Gainesville, Fl. 32611; Ph: 352-392-0433. By filling out the provided survey, you give me the permission to report your re sponses anonymously in the final manuscript to be submitted to the University Scholars Program as part of my research. Sincerely, Jessica Ligator Research Assistant University of Florida No, I do not wish to participate in th is survey ________________________ Signature Date

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42 APPENDIX B QUESTIONNAIRE Section 1: Demographics Name of Government Entity:____________________________________________ County/ Jurisdiction:_________________________________________________ Name of Respondent:__________________________________________________ Job Title:____________________________________________________________ Phone or other form of contact (optional):_________________________________ Email Address (if you wish to re ceive a copy of the results):____________________ Section 2: Code Violations Based on your best judgment, please identify th e occurrence rate per 10 violations for each of the following violations within your juri sdiction since March 1, 2001 (effective date of current Florida Building Code). ______Per 10 observed violations________ General 1. Approved plans on site 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Building card posted 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 3. Sanitary Facilities 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 4. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 Footing 1. Depth and Width 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Step downs 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 3. Grade Stakes 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 4. Finish floor height 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 5. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 Slab 1. Soil Compaction 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Termite Treatment 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 3. Vapor Barrier 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 4. Slab depth 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 5. Grade Beams 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 6. Underground electrical 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 7. Underground plumbing 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 8. Underground gas 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 9. Underground mechanical 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 10. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 Monolithic Slab 1. Depth and Width 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Wire Mesh 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10

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43 3. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 Tie Beam/ Lintel 1. Cleanouts (per plans & clean) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Formwork 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 3. Bracing 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 4. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 Sheathing 1. Wall Sheathing 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Roof Sheathing 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 3. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 Framing 1. Sole/Top plate attachments 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Attic access 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 3. Fire blocking 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 4. Fireplace and chimney 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 5. Windows and Doors 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 6. Connectors 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 7. Wind Braces 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 8. Trusses 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 9. Strapping 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 10. Weatherproofing (house wrap) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 11. Rough in electrical 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 12. Rough in mechanical 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 13. Rough in plumbing 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 14. Rough in gas 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 15. Hurricane Clips 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 16. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 Roofing 1. Flashing 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Fasteners 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 3. Felt/ Paper 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 4. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 Final 1. Address 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 2. Smoke Detectors 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 3. Stairs, handrails, guardrails 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 4. Final Electrical 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 5. Final Plumbing 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 6. Final Mechanical 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 7. Final Gas 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10 8. Other (please specify) 0 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-9 10

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44 If any other violations that are commonly observed in your juri sdiction that do not fit into the categories provided above please list them along w ith their occu rrence rate. ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ Is there historical data available regard ing code violation occurrences within your jurisdiction? Y/N If yes, how can we gain access to this data?_______________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ Please provide comments about the above statem ents or anything else you think would be helpful for us to know (Optional)._______________________________________

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45 APPENDIX C INSPECTIONS BY COUNTY

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46

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47

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48 LIST OF REFERENCES Alachua County Department of Growth Ma nagement (2003). “Code Enforcement: What are Building Codes.” Alachua C ounty, Florida, (Dec., 2005) Blair, Jeff (2005). “Issues, Options, and R ecommendations regarding Construction and Inspection Practices.” Florida Building Commission, Florida, (Dec, 2005) Building Officials Associat ion of Florida (BOAF)(2006). (February, 2006) Casey, M., Hansen, D., and Kardon, R. (2003). Code Check 4th edition, New York, New York: Taunton Press. Catawba County Government (2004). “Top Twen ty Code Violations.” Catawba County, North Carolina, < http://www.catawbac ountync.gov/depts/u&e/ violations.asp> (Dec, 2005). Ching, F.and Winkel, S. (2003) Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the International Building Code , Hoboken, New Jersey:Wiley. City of Melbourne, Florida (2005). “Inspect ion Procedures.” Melbourne, Florida, < http://www.melbourneflorida.org/ code/inspection.htm> (Dec. 2005) “Code of Hammurabi.” Encyclopedia Brittanica . Ed. Hugh Chisholm. 11th ed. Vol. 29. Edinburgh: Adam & Charles Black., 1910. Columbus Department of Development (2000). “Neighborhood Serv ices: Common Code Violations.” Columbus, Ohio, (Dec., 2005) Cook, R. and Sotani, M. “Hurricanes of 1992: Lessons Learned and Implications for the Future.” New York, New York: ASCE, 1994. Cox, R. and Issa, R. (2005). “Determinati on Of The Most Frequently Found Florida Building Code Violations By Plan Reviewers And Building Inspectors.” Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida.

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49 Discovery Inspections (1999). Most Common Code Violati ons in New Home Construction.” Discovery Inspections L.L.C., (Dec., 2005) Escambia County (2006). “Building Insp ections.” Escambia County, Florida, (January, 2006) Florida Department of Community Affairs (2004). “The Florida Building Code First Edition.” State of Florida, (Dec, 2005) International Code Council (I CC) (2005A). “Setting the Standard for Building Safety.” International Code Council, (Dec, 2005) International Code Council (ICC) (2005B). Building Safety Week Survey.” International Code Council, < http://www.iccsafe.org/news/nr/ 2005/0506BSW_facts.html> (Dec, 2005) McKollum, K. (2004). “Top Ten Building Code Violations in Florida.” Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administ ration (NOAA) (2002). “H urricane Andrew --10th Anniversary.” National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, (Dec, 2005) Osceola County (2006). “Interactive Voice Re sponse System.” Osceola County Building Department, (Jan, 2006) Plantation Building Department (2005). “Buildi ng Inspections.” Plantation, Florida, < http://www.plantation.org/build ing/inspections> (Dec, 2005) Putnam County (2006). “Required Insp ections.” Putnam County, Florida, (Jan, 2006) Siddiq Khan and Associates (2004). “Ser vices.” Siddiq Khan and Associates < http://www.ska-engineering.com /Services.html > (Dec, 2005) Thelen Reid & Priest LLP (2005) “Developer’s Criminal Conviction for Violating Building Code Overturned by Minnesota Supreme Court.” Thelen Reid & Priest LLP < http://www.constructionweblinks.com/Res ources/Industry_Repor ts__Newsletters/ Mar_21_2005/deve.html> (Dec, 2005) Town of Marana Building Services (2004). “A History of Building Codes.” Town of Marana, Arizona, (Dec, 2005)

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50 Underwood, L. (2004). Common Code ViolationsÂ…and How to Fix them . Lenexa, Kansas: Bookmark Inc.

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51 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jessica Rand Ligator was born in San Jose, Costa Rica, on March 5th of 1979. She is the middle child of three children born to Jamie and Anita Ligator. After graduating high school in 1996 Jessica attended Tulane Un iversity in New Or leans and obtained a degree in architecture. After working in th e architectural field for two years, Jessica decided to attend the University of Florid a to obtain a masterÂ’s degree in building construction. While at the University of Flor ida Jessica worked as a teaching assistant for graphic communications and was a member of the construction honor society: Sigma Lambda Chi. Upon graduation Jessica wishes to move to Jacksonville and pursue a career in the construction industry w ith a focus on design-build.