Coastal real estate in Florida, both commercial and residential, is highly coveted due to its prime location along a scenic coastline that continues for 8,436 miles. However, building on Florida’s coastline presents contractors with an array of unique challenges. Since coastal building is classified under “special construction” in the 2017 Florida Building Codes, contractors must be extra diligent to ensure that they are complying with all relevant building codes and possess the proper permits; otherwise, they could find themselves in violation.
In part one, a Boca Raton construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law briefly introduced Florida’s Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL). In this article, we will cover this topic in detail before providing an overview of the recommended building practices for residential contractors working on coastal construction projects in the State of Florida.
Important Facts about Florida’s CCCL
Florida is the only state in the United States with a proposed “coastal construction control line” written into law. Although building codes related to coastal construction in other states exist, Florida’s fragile coastal environment warrants special considerations.
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the purpose of the CCCL program is to regulate “structures and activities which can cause beach erosion, destabilize dunes, damage upland properties, or interfere with public access.” Some important facts about CCCL include:
- The CCCL Program is a component of the Florida Beach and Shore Preservation Act.
- Control lines are determined through exhaustive monitoring of current and historical weather data to develop a “100-Year Storm Report.”
- The CCCL doesn’t bar contractors from engaging in coastal building projects. However, it does limit the types of buildings that can be constructed and typically calls for additional building code compliance to ensure that Florida’s coastline remains intact.
- Not all construction projects require a permit seaward of the control line.
- Permits are required for most projects that fall within the CCCL.
Recommended Coastal Building Practices for Residential Contractors
Residential contractors who plan to engage in coastal development projects should consider utilizing the building practices recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some of these recommendations include:
- Residences should be constructed in coastal zones that do not suffer from eroding shorelines or high-hazard conditions.
- Homes should be built with flat or low-sloped porch roofs (4/12 to 6/12), overhangs, and gable ends to account for high winds as opposed to tall, narrow homes prone to overturning.
- Establish the lowest horizontal structural member above the Design Flood Elevation (DFE). Utilize “freeboard” to reinforce the base and decrease flood insurance premiums.
- Construct the home on an open foundation.
- Reinforce roof sheathing, roof-to-wall, wall-to-wall, and walls-to-foundation connections.
- All materials being used below the DFE should be flood resistant while all exposed materials should be moisture and decay resistant.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.