• Lee BIA Watchdog Report

  • City of Fort Myers

  • Building and Zoning Oversight Committee - This committee met today to receive reports from the many departments charged with oversight of our industry. The main point of discussion was the need for the city to fill many vacant positions within their departments. Most of the departments related to our industry’s regulation are not fully staffed and have interim directors. While no timetable was given on when these will be filled, the Lee BIA will push the city to have these positions filled so that an adequate level of service can be maintained.  Another issue addressed was the possibility of the city conducting a fee review with surrounding jurisdictions. While all agreed this might be needed, there were concerns that this will bog down staff further and waiting until they are fully staff would be better. The city is also moving forward with updating their software system. It is estimated that it would cost about 1.5 million to fully implement with 80% of the funding coming from the building reserves.  The fee study and approval of software update must be approved by city council.

  • Village of Estero

  • Comprehensive Plan Development - The village is currently in the early stages of developing a comprehensive plan. While its early and no specifics have been developed, the Lee BIA will be involved in this process. Watch soon as more information becomes available.

  • Lee County

  • Government Liaison Committee - Did you know that a monthly meeting is held for industry professionals to meet directly with local building officials from the county and surrounding jurisdictions? Join the discussion as it relates to staffing, plan review and field inspections. This is your opportunity to have a direct voice on issues that directly affect your business. (Representatives from the health department are also present). Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at the Lee County Public Works Building, first floor conference rooms at 7:30AM. If you can’t make it, a representative of your company is welcome and/or you can email Phillip Ford at the Lee BIA at phillip@bia.net to have an issue placed on the agenda.

  • Lee County School Construction Services Selection Process - On February 7, 2017, at 2:00 pm at the Lee County Public Education Center, the public is invited to attend the 2nd public review of our new Construction Services Selection Process. Please reply to JoniMA@LeeSchools.net if you plan to join attend and include the number of representatives that will be coming from your company.

    Management of the process for awarding construction services contracts transitioned from the Facility Development and Programming Services Department to the Procurement Services Department, effective January 1, 2017. The public was invited to review and respond to a draft process document in November. Responses have been reviewed, additional research is being conducted, and the final process document is anticipated to be posted on the Procurement website at www.leeschools.net/procurement no later than February 6, and reviewed publicly on February 7.

  • Comprehensive Plan Update - The county is working on updating its plan and amendments and the plan should be available in February. The Lee BIA Government Affairs Committee and staff will review and take the necessary action to voice our support, concerns and/or suggested changes to the plan as we move forward.

  • Accessory Dwelling Units - The Lee BIA is currently working on a draft ordinance to allow accessory dwelling units to be built within the county. Currently, only a small section of the City of Fort Myers allows these units to be built. With an aging society and more multigenerational families being formed, this is an important tool for builders to have. We hope to have a proposal approved soon by the Government Affairs Committee to present to Lee County and other municipalities. 

  • Residential Plan Review - The county has been running over 35 days behind on plan review. The Lee BIA has been in contact with staff and working with them to help reduce this number to a more reasonable rate of 7 to 10 days. While the staff is at full employment, many of them are new and it is taking time to get them up to speed. The county is working to use more outsourcing and other techniques to bring these times down. As of this week, they are at or near 15 days, which is great news! Again, we will continue to work with the county to ensure plan review times remain low.

  • Florida Home Builders Association State Issues

  • 2017 FHBA Legislative Priorities

    Workers’ Compensation Reform - The National Council on Compensation Insurance recently filed for a 20% rate increase stemming from State Supreme Court Cases rendering portions of previous reforms unconstitutional. Though FHBA will be active in public hearings and other venues educating regulators and rate setters on the impact of the 20% increase, real reform can only occur at the legislative level.

    Proposed FHBA Position: Support reform to the worker’s compensation program, which result in meaningful rate reduction.

    Building Code Development Process - The current method of adopting Florida’s Building Code

    requires Florida to adopt the latest version of the ICC in its entirety, then painstakingly identify and amend anything that does not apply to Florida, and finally readopting previous modifications to ICC provisions. The Florida Building Commission has done a yeoman’s job

    of identifying and modifying the ICC adopted code to fit Florida’s specific needs, but the process of adopting something in totality, then amending erroneous provisions lends itself to inaccuracies. The code should be modified in the same manner as other Florida laws and rules by identifying and reviewing each amendment and assessing their applicability to Florida prior to adoption.

    Proposed FHBA Position: Support legislation to modify the code development process, which establishes the sixth edition as the “Base Code” and all future changes to the base code are deliberated upon prior to adoption.

    Notice and Right to Cure - The Notice and Right to Cure statute was founded to encourage rehabilitation of construction defects before instituting tort actions. Unfortunately, the statute is not achieving the desired result. Attorney’s routinely advise clients to reject the offer to cure the defect, creating a tort action and often resulting in significantly greater attorney fees.

    Proposed FHBA Position: Support legislation that limits attorney fees if a reasonable offer to cure is rejected in advance of filing a suit.

    Statute of Repose – A court ruled within the past few years that the trigger which begins the tolling of the statute of repose and statute of limitations begins when final payment for the project is made. Establishing a more definitive timeline as to when the clock begins to toll would provide more certainty to the process.

    Proposed FHBA Position: Support legislation providing that a construction contract is considered complete on the last day that the contractor, architect, or engineer performs the services related to the contract.

    Workforce - The Workforce Taskforce established in last year’s code bill is expected to release a report in February. To the extent that contains legislative proposals, FHBA is postured to lead the lobbying efforts for proposals that positively impact growing Florida’s construction workforce.

    Proposed FHBA Position: FHBA continues to work with the Construction Workforce Taskforce and is prepared to aggressively lobby for resulting proposals that positively impact Florida’s construction workforce.

    Condominium Bulk Buyer - During the economic downturn, policymakers needed to encourage investments in distressed condos. Allowing bulk buyers to purchase units without assuming all of the liability of a developer proved to be a popular change that encouraged investment in Florida’s distressed properties. The Bulk Buyer exemption has historically been approved on an interim basis requiring FHBA and other proponents to revisit its extension every few years.

    Proposed FHBA Position: The FHBA supports legislation permanently adopting the bulk buyer exemption.

  • How can you help? - If you see an issue that needs our attention that was not mentioned in this report and has an impact on the overall building and development industry, please email Phillip Ford, Executive Vice President of the Lee BIA, at phillip@bia.net or call directly (239) 936-5525 ext. 102.