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January 26, 2024

As we welcome the new year, we are also looking to start a new Florida Building Code (FBC) cycle. Effective January 1, 2024, the 8th Edition or 2023 FBC took effect. That means any project submitted to a jurisdiction in the State of Florida on or after this date (Jan. 1, 2024) will have to conform to the new 2024 code.

Of course, as with anything new or revised, there are changes associated between the new code (2023) and the previous version (2020). As such, we at Cuhaci Peterson are always on the lookout for changes that impact project scope and/or create additional costs for our business and potentially, our clients.

One area we frequently encounter when either designing new retail buildings or dealing with existing facilities, involves changing tenants that, due to the nature of their business and operation, may present a change in use and occupancy for the applicable space and/or building.

Touching on this issue, one of the changes in the new code is found in Chapter 2 “Definitions” of the FBC where a revision was made to the definition for the term, “Change of Occupancy.”

The previous version framed the definition in terms of “a change in the use of a building or portion of a building” while the latest version talks about “any change in the purpose or level of activity.” Therefore, a new tenant’s purpose, or goal in their business and/or operation of a building or portion thereof, could potentially result in a change in the occupancy type and/or group within an occupancy type.

This in turn could result in requirements for “a greater degree of safety, accessibility, structural strength, fire protection, means of egress, ventilation or sanitation than is existing in the current building or structure.”

Thus, this gives building officials greater latitude to determine if any changes in occupancy classification, and subsequent building upgrades, are mandated based on the proposed purpose or applicable change in level of activity represented by the new tenant.

You can identify all the changes in the new code version from the previous one by visiting the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation’s website as revisions can be identified by their red font color.

By Chris Renegar, Director of Architecture

About Cuhaci Peterson®
Cuhaci Peterson is a nationally recognized architecture, engineering and planning firm specializing in end-to-end commercial design solutions. Headquartered in Central Florida, the firm has representatives throughout the United States and is licensed in all 50 states. Cuhaci Peterson’s mission of transforming ideas into a value is enhanced by a staff of experts who collaborate with clients to translate visions into designs that elevate brands.

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Kraig Koelsch
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Cuhaci Peterson Maitland (HQ)


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