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Engineer use tablets to inspect building structural integrity

Key Components in a Structural Integrity Reserve Study 

Prasse-Anderson Law July 12, 2023

Last year, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 4-D, signed into law on May 26, 2022, which requires condominium and cooperative associations to conduct milestone building structural inspections, ensure funding of reserves, and perform regular reserve studies.  

This entirely new form of a reserve study is called a Structural Integrity Reserve Study, or SIRS. As the laws evolve, the importance of legal counsel cannot be overstated. Our community association lawyer at Prasse-Anderson Law helps associations interpret the sometimes-unclear laws that might affect them.  

From our office in Tampa, Florida, we provide a full range of services to clients in the surrounding areas, including Pinellas County and Pasco County. Our clients include cooperative associations, condominium associations, property associations, cooperatives, and homeowner associations.  

What Is a Structural Integrity Reserve Study?

A Structural Integrity Reserve Study refers to a study of reserve funds required for any major repairs and/or replacement of the common elements. SIRS is basically a visual inspection of critical structural elements that affect the safety of a building.  

The reserve study, which was designed by Senate Bill 4-D, is meant to ensure that condominium and cooperative associations reserve funds for long-term maintenance, repairs, and replacement of critical structural elements.  

What Components Are Included?

Florida law requires condominium and cooperative associations to complete a Structural Integrity Reserve Study initially 25 years after the certificate of occupancy is first issued if the building is within 3 miles of the coast, and 30 years elsewhere, then every 10 years thereafter. The reserve study is required for each qualifying building on the association’s property. A building is considered qualifying if it is at least three stories in height. The SIRS must include an inspection of the following structural elements: 

  • Roof.

  • Structure, including load-bearing walls and other primary structural members and primary structural systems as those terms are defined in s. 627.706.

  • Fireproofing and fire protection systems.

  • Plumbing.

  • Electrical systems.

  • Waterproofing and exterior painting.

  • Windows and exterior doors.

  • Any other item that has a deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost that exceeds $10,000 and the failure to replace or maintain such item negatively affects the buildings structural integrity

  • Under the law, certain key components must be included in the reserve study. At a minimum, the SIRS must:  

  1. Identify which common areas are visually inspected; 

  1. Determine the estimated remaining useful life of the inspected areas as well as the estimated cost of replacement or deferred maintenance; and 

  1. Give recommendations regarding the annual reserve amount that would cover the estimated cost of the necessary replacement or deferred maintenance by the end of the remaining useful life of the inspected areas.  

There are repercussions for failing to complete a Structural Integrity Reserve Study in accordance with the law.

What Is the Purpose of the Structural Integrity Reserve Study?

The primary purpose of a Structural Integrity Reserve Study is to ensure that condominium and cooperative associations have sufficient funds reserved to pay for any future repairs and replacements of the elements that affect the building’s structural safety.  

Regular inspections of critical infrastructure are important because there are multiple unit owners who share condominium ownership, which means the cost of major repairs and replacements must also be shared among the unit owners. When there is not sufficient funding, the cost of repairs and replacement could fall on individual unit owners.  

The SIRS is designed to help associations plan for future estimated expenses and learn to prioritize repair/maintenance projects. Thanks to the findings of the Structural Integrity Reserve Study the association will be able to allocate funds to the future repairs or replacement of the elements that affect the structural safety of buildings.  

The Importance of the Structural Integrity Reserve Study

The importance of the SIRS cannot be overstated. First of all, regular inspections of critical infrastructure provide peace of mind for unit owners. Second of all, there will always be sufficient funds to pay for any major repairs or replacements. Third of all, associations will be able to plan for future expenses better and ensure that common areas are well-maintained for residents.  

How an Attorney Can Help

At Prasse-Anderson Law, we understand how important it is to conduct the Structural Integrity Reserve Study in compliance with Florida law. We also understand that some provisions of the law may seem unclear. Our community association law attorney helps associations interpret the provisions of the law and helps them navigate the process of conducting the SIRS.  

We are here to ensure that your association is compliant with all applicable funding requirements to avoid potential legal problems down the line. We also help resolve disputes that may arise within the association. With our guidance and reliable advocacy, you can rest assured knowing that your interests will always be protected.  

Put a Trusted Advisor in Your Corner

Condominium and cooperative associations should ensure they keep up with the ever-changing laws and compliance regulations. Having legal counsel can make all the difference. Our community association law attorney at Prasse-Anderson Law can advise you on a variety of legal issues that may affect your association, including everything related to the Structural Integrity Reserve Study. Reach out to our office today to book an appointment.