Article Courtesy of News Service of Florida
Published February 1, 2018
Seven months after Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a similar
measure, a House panel Tuesday narrowly approved a bill that would ease
fire-protection requirements for older high-rise condominium buildings.
The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee voted 8-7 to
approve the bill (HB 1061), filed by Rep. George Moraitis,
Backers of the measure say it would help condominium owners
avoid facing potentially millions of dollars in costs to
retrofit older buildings with sprinkler systems.
But the bill is opposed by groups such as fire chiefs and
fire marshals, who argue that sprinklers and other safety
systems can prevent potentially catastrophic fires.
The bill deals with retrofitting condominium buildings that
are 75 feet or taller and were built before 1994. Buildings
constructed since 1994 have been required to include
Under current law, local governments are barred from requiring retrofitting
before the end of 2019.
Also, condominium residents can vote to opt out of retrofitting with
sprinklers but are not able to opt out of an alternative known as
“engineered life safety systems,” according to the House analysis.
Those systems involve a combination of fire-safety devices.
The bill, in part, would push the 2019 deadline back to 2022.
Also, it would allow condominium residents, by two-thirds votes, to opt out
of retrofitting with sprinklers and engineered life safety systems.
Lawmakers last year passed a similar measure with only one dissenting vote.
But Scott vetoed the measure in late June, citing a high-rise fire that
killed dozens of people in England.