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Proposed Modification to the Florida Building Code


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									Proposed Modification to the Florida Building Code
Modification #:                          Section 553.73, Fla Stat

Name: Mike Moore on behalf of Dietrich Industries
Address: 3760 Tanglewood Lane, Davidsonville, MD 21035
E-mail: mmoore@newportpartnersllc.com
Phone: 301.889.0017
Fax: 301.889.0019
Code: Building
Section #: 1816.1 with related definition in 202

Text of Modification [additions underlined; deletions stricken]:

Chapter 18: Soils and Foundations
Section 1816: Termite Protection
1816.1 Termite Protection.
Termite protection shall be provided by registered termiticides, including soil applied
pesticides, baiting systems, and pesticides applied to wood, or other approved methods
of termite protection labeled for use as a preventative treatment to new construction.
See Section 202, Registered Termiticide.

In areas where Formosan termites have been identified, all structural members shall be
composed of termite resistant material. See Section 202, Termite Resistant Material.

Upon completion of the application of the termite protective treatment, a certificate of
compliance shall be issued to the building department by the licensed pest control
company that contains the following statement: “The building has received a complete
treatment for the prevention of subterranean termites. Treatment is in accordance with
rules and laws established by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer

Section 202 Definitions
TERMITE RESISTANT MATERIAL: pressure preservatively treated wood, heartwood of
redwood, eastern red cedar, masonry, steel, or other approved material.

Fiscal Impact Statement [Provide documentation of the costs and benefits of the
proposed modifications to the code for each of the following entities. Cost data
should be accompanied by a list of assumptions and supporting documentation.
Explain expected benefits.]:

A.    Impact to local entity relative to enforcement of code:

No additional inspections are required; therefore no resource or monetary impact should
be realized by the local entity. For reference purposes, the map below shows counties
where Formosan termites have been identified (highlighted in orange), according to the
University of Florida. This map is not submitted for inclusion to the code, but is
submitted here to give a general idea of those local jurisdictions whose building practice
could be affected by this proposed modification.

Official Form 9B-3.047-2004                     b7ebb135-4a2e-47fc-848d-7392c3d1e624.rtf
Figure 1: Map of Florida counties with counties of Formosan termite infestation
highlighted in orange as identified by the University of Florida. Map intended for
reference only, not for code inclusion.

B.    Impact to building and property owners relative to cost of compliance with

For Group R buildings in Formosan termite areas, building owners could expect to pay a
premium of two to four percent above a base case scenario of an untreated wood
structure.1 For those Group R buildings that are already being built with termite
resistant exterior walls, the cost could be even less. An article in Professional Builder
profiled a single family, detached residential builder based out of Stuart, Florida, who
began using termite resistant materials for all structural members in 2004. This Florida
builder was able to increase the termite protection and durability of his structure while
maintaining a construction cost of $70 - $80 per square foot.2

If anything, the incremental cost incurred to install termite resistant structural members
will likely be less for non-residential buildings, where construction crews have more
experience building with termite resistant structural members such as steel, concrete,
and masonry. So, most building and property owners will incur little (four percent or
Official Form 9B-3.047-2004                      b7ebb135-4a2e-47fc-848d-7392c3d1e624.rtf
less) to no additional costs above current costs if this proposed modification is adopted.

1. The two to four percent increase is based on two studies. The first study was conducted in September
2000 by the Louisiana Formosan Termite Initiative and is cited by the Southern Pine Council. This study
assumes a base case of a single family home with untreated wood structural members. No numbers for
multi-family dwellings or single family attached were available, but this study can be loosely applied
because the construction techniques and materials of Group R buildings do not differ substantially from
single family detached construction. The two to four percent increase cited by the study applies to steel
framing with pressure preservatively treated wood sheathing. Assumptions included construction costs of
$80-$100 per square foot and an average house size of 2021 square feet. This source can be found at
http://www.southernpine.com/termiteinfo3.shtml#comparative. A second study, which supplied data on
the premium incurred by using concrete termite resistant structural members instead of untreated wood,
was based on a field study of single family detached homes conducted by the NAHB Research Center.
This study showed a three percent premium for concrete. This figure does not include the premium
incurred by specifying termite resistant sheathing, which could bring the termite protection premium to
around four percent. Field study results were published by the Portland Cement Association and can be
found at: http://www.nahb.org/fileUpload_details.aspx?contentID=18475.
2. Stromberg, Meghan. “Frame It Fast, Frame It Strong.” Professional Builder, July, 2004. Available
online at: http://www.housingzone.com/topics/pb/build/pb04ga009.asp.

C.    Impact to industry relative to cost of compliance with code:

That portion of the building industry that would most likely see an increase in cost due to
this proposed modification would be builders of Group R, Type V structures who build in
areas containing the Formosan termite. As stated above, the cost of these structures, if
currently built completely of untreated wood, should increase by approximately two to
four percent. This cost premium would decrease depending on how many of the
structural elements are now being supplied with termite resistant material.

Group R, Type V construction represents just two percent of groups and types of
construction covered by the code; there are eleven groups and five types, representing
55 combinations of groups and types. That part of the building industry that does not
build Group R, Type V currently uses termite resistant materials for the majority of their
building’s structural members.3 This part of the industry should see minimal to no cost
increase above their current practice.

3. According to the Steel Framing Alliance, steel alone accounts for 47% of exterior walls and 81% of
interior walls of non-residential construction across America. Data from the Steel Framing Alliance.
Available online at: http://www.steelframingalliance.com/mc/page.do?sitePageId=1083.

Rationale [Provide an explanation of why you would like this Proposed
Modification to the Florida Building Code.]:

Requiring that buildings have termite resistant structural members when located in
areas of Formosan termite infestation, would significantly improve the durability of
structures in the areas most susceptible to termite damage.

This built-in termite resistance would reduce the chance of future repair costs of
property and building owners, which represents a great savings for Floridians.
According to the USDA, Formosan termites account for one billion dollars of damage
and control measures annually. Because insurance does not cover termite damage,
this expense is generally absorbed by building owners, whose structures would be
Official Form 9B-3.047-2004                              b7ebb135-4a2e-47fc-848d-7392c3d1e624.rtf
protected under this proposed modification. If building owners do incur extra initial
costs when buying a building with termite resistant structural members, these costs will
likely be offset by savings in insurance and repairs.4 Building owners win by reduced
damage and possibly reduced insurance costs, builders win by constructing more
durable structures at minimal (if any) cost increase, and building material manufacturers
and suppliers win because the definition of termite resistant material is broad enough to
include a very wide spectrum of traditional and innovative types of building material.
4. Though insurance companies do not cover termite damage, if the building owner chooses concrete or
masonry as the termite resistant structural material, some insurance companies will offer a discount due
to this material’s high durability and resistance to high wind.

Please explain how the proposed modification meets the following requirements:
1. Has a reasonable and substantial connection with the health, safety, and
    welfare of the general public:

This proposed modification would improve the structural integrity of buildings, making
buildings more durable and resistant to Florida’s natural enemies such as termites,
decay, and hurricanes. Buildings built to this proposed modification will be stronger,
safer, and less of a future cost liability to building owners who bear the brunt of
expenses incurred from termite damage.

2.    Strengthens or improves the code, and provides equivalent or better
      products, methods, or systems of construction:

This code language will ensure the continued structural integrity of buildings constructed
within Formosan termite zones. It is necessary to single out the Formosan termite from
other termite species for the following reasons:
       A Formosan termite colony can consume up to 1,000 pounds of wood per year,
       over 140 times a typical termite colony’s annual consumption of 7 pounds.5
    2. Formosan termite colonies generally have 10 million or more termites, 30 times
       the size of domestic subterranean termite colonies.6
    3. Formosan termites are known to continually test chemical barriers until they find
       a way around or through the termiticide.
    4. Unlike domestic subterranean termites, Formosan termites are especially
       destructive because of their ability to venture above soil-applied termiticides to
       form “aerial colonies.” In fact, the University of Florida conducted a survey that
       showed aerial colonies accounted for more than 25 percent of infestations in
       urban southeastern Florida.7
    5. Once around the soil-applied termiticide and inside the building envelope, a
       Formosan termite colony can eat a dwelling’s entire structure within two years, if
       that structure is not composed of termite resistant materials.8

The code currently requires termite protection through termiticide application, yet the
Formosan termite and its threat to buildings continue to spread across the state. This
highly aggressive pest requires an aggressive code change to provide building owners
with the protection they need.
5. Mississippi State University, Southern Climatic Housing Research.
6. Louisiana State University, AgCenter.
7. Su N-Y, Scheffrahn RH. 1987. “Current status of the Formosan subterranean termite in Florida,” pp.

Official Form 9B-3.047-2004                             b7ebb135-4a2e-47fc-848d-7392c3d1e624.rtf
27-31. In: M. Tamashiro and N.-Y. Su [eds.], Biology and control of the Formosan subterranean termite.
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI.
8. University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

3.    Does not discriminate against materials, products, methods, or systems of
      construction of demonstrated capabilities:

This proposed modification allows the builder to choose from a wide variety of products
– pressure preservatively treated wood, naturally termite resistant wood, masonry,
concrete, steel, or other approved material, when specifying structural members.

4.    Does not degrade the effectiveness of the code:

This proposed modification does not reduce the level of termite protection currently
prescribed within the code. Rather, it effectively and efficiently increases the amount of
termite protection in those areas in which the Formosan termite has been identified.

Section for DCA Only

Committee Action:

Committee Reason:

Commission Action:

Commission Reason:

Official Form 9B-3.047-2004                             b7ebb135-4a2e-47fc-848d-7392c3d1e624.rtf

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