There are a lot of confusion surrounding deadlines for commercial and multifamily property owners in the state of Florida, regarding dates to be compliant by legislation. Florida statute requires buildings over 10 stories must outfit their properties with a code-compliant Emergency Responder Radio Coverage System, otherwise known as a Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA) with a Distributed Antenna System (DAS). Originally, Section 25. Subsection (18) of section 633.202 required commercial buildings to be compliant by December 31, 2019, and apartments/condos by December 31, 2022. However, There was an amendment in bill HB1209 to Section 25. Subsection (18) of section 633.202 and was signed into effect on July 1, 2021, which extends the compliance dates to January 1, 2025, for both classes of buildings.
The amendment to the statute is listed below:
Section 25. Subsection (18) of section 633.202, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 633.202 Florida Fire Prevention Code.— (18) The authority having jurisdiction shall determine the minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications in all new high-rise and existing high-rise buildings. Existing buildings are not required to comply with minimum radio strength for fire department communications and two-way radio system enhancement communications as required by the Florida Fire Prevention Code until January 1, 2025
2022. However, by January 1, 2024 December 31, 2019, an existing building that is not in compliance with the requirements for minimum radio strength for fire department communications must apply for an appropriate permit for the required installation with the local government agency having jurisdiction and must demonstrate that the building will become compliant by January 1, 2025. Existing apartment buildings are not required to comply until January 1, 2025. However, existing apartment buildings are required to apply for the appropriate permit for the required communications installation by January 1, 2024 December 31, 2022.
Summary and impact
The amendment requires commercial and apartments/condos to be in permit and plan check by January 1, 2024, and compliant by January 1, 2025. Although the extension helps, there is still not enough time to get thousands of buildings compliant. There are very few competent contractors that specialize in this sector, and fewer that will be able to deliver your project in time. This is a very complex build and requires acumen that incudes; RF engineering, construction, electrical, Integration, commissioning Fire Life Safety Integration, and maintenance and monitoring. Furthermore, the remediation requires an FCC license and an Electrical Contractors license.
As a CEO of a national leader in ERRCS engineering and integration, I urge property owners to get out in front of this now! Do not wait until 2024 to address this or you will clearly miss the mark for compliance. There will be a rush for the door and not enough time nor qualified contractors to build thousands of these systems to meet these deadlines.
Will Washburn, is the CEO of Combined Operations for Digitechx Wireless Inc., a national provider of ERRCS Systems and Cellular iDAS solutions.