Code Requirements for Residential Building Additions
Daniel F. Ardito, PE has completed this report to inform owners and builders of the permitting process for
building additions and/or alterations within the State of Florida.  This report focuses on the requirements of
“Citrus County”.  Other counties have similar requirements but may differ or have other specific requirements
not addressed in this report.

As of March-2002 all new Building Construction and Alterations within the State of Florida must be constructed
to be in compliance with the Florida Building Code (FBC).  Each County also has a “Land Development
Code” (LDC) to mandate additional requirements for building construction.  The Building Department, Health
Department, Fire Prevention, and possibly SWFWMD, DEP, FEMA, and FDOT will all be involved in the
review and approval process.

It has been my experience that most owner/builders are not aware of all requirements for the construction and
permitting process and will underestimate the costs to complete their project.

Daniel F. Ardito, PE as the Engineer/Architect does not include all items discussed within this report in my
quoted price.  My price will only include the price of the “Construction Plans”.  The following items are also
required and are usually not included in the contract price:

  • HVAC Design: Energy Sheets, HVAC Evaluation
  • Electrical Load Calculations and Panel Schedules
  • Plumbing Design
  • Septic and Well Evaluation
  • Site Plan
  • Tree Counts
  • Surveying
  • Wet Land Delineation
  • Flood Elevation Certificates
  • Soil Borings

I can direct the client to the appropriate design professional, but no cost shall be accepted by my firm.  All
additional work by my firm shall be invoiced in addition to contract price.

Listed below is a description of the most common code requirements.  Great care has been taken to list all
requirements, but I in no way certify that all requirements have been listed.

Much of the older buildings are exempt from the current building code requirements due to the fact that they
are “Existing”.  Many wish to build similar to how they have seen their neighbor’s buildings.  Florida Building
Code and the Building Departments in most cases do not require upgrading existing buildings to new code

Some of the existing buildings may have also been built without permits and were not designed by an
engineer or architect and were never reviewed or inspected by the building department.

In either case your new construction is subject to the Florida Building Code requirements.

Being a state licensed Professional Engineer it is my responsibility to ensure your building plans meet “all”
building code requirements.  Most projects require an “Engineer of Record” or “Architect” to take responsibility
for the “entire” project.  On occasion I get the luxury of being a “Subordinate Engineer” and can design and
certify specific elements for the Engineer of Record or Architect.  But with most home additions I am the
Engineer of Record.  I am usually responsible for the following items:

  • Structural Design
  • Foundation Design
  • Fire Codes and Egress
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Flood Zone Requirements
  • Stairway, Handrail, and Guardrail Requirements

The days of using standard details and allowing the builder/contractor to figure out how to piece the structure
together are fading fast.  Chapter 471 of the Florida Statues requires engineer certified plans to address “all”
details for construction.  I have been called to many projects that have failed inspections due to the
owner/builder constructing with inadequate details within the engineered plans.  Many engineers have been
disciplined, fined, licenses revoked, etc by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers for certifying
inadequate plans.  It is not my intention to have this happen to me.  Modern engineered plans are complex and
contain many structural and non-structural details for full compliance with the building codes.  Please review my
website “Drawing” page for many examples of complete
engineered plans.

Every part of the “New” Structure (Addition) must be constructed in compliance with the Florida Building Code
(Current Addition).  Citrus County currently requires a 140 mph design wind speed.  Engineer or Architect
approved (signed & sealed) construction plans must be submitted to Building Department for review and
approval.  In addition to structural details for the new structure, the complete existing structure must be drawn
to scale to show the required exit doors. (Some jurisdictions may require the entire interior floor plan be shown
as well for bedroom and bathroom locations)  The HVAC contractor will also need the existing & proposed
structures dimensions to evaluate the existing HVAC system.

A site visit will be required by me to evaluate the existing building.  I will not approve plans drawn by
owner/builder unless the plans are of professional quality and include all structural details and requirements of
the Florida Building Code.  I will mark up professionally drawn plans to be corrected by owner’s draftsman.

The foundation system for the new structure must be of adequate size to resist all Downward, Lateral, and
Uplift forces due to Wind, Live, and Dead loadings.  The use of existing slabs and/or foundations may not be
possible.  I have encountered the following problems with using existing slabs.

  • Most existing slabs are 3" to 4" thick (usually un-reinforced) which makes them very light with respect to
    the uplift loads imposed at the load bearing walls.  Contrary to popular belief the load bearing wall will not
    “pick up the entire slab”.  The American Concrete Institute (ACI) requires that all concrete be considered
    as “cracked”, this requires that steel must be present to hold slab together (ACI does not currently
    recognize Fibermesh concrete as having structural reinforcing).  If your slab does have standard steel wire
    mesh, this is usually not adequate for the imposed loads.  Usually a new footing will need to be installed
    beneath the existing slab.  This will require drilling through existing slab and extending new anchor bolts or
    rebar to new footing.

  • All wood and other veneers must be a minimum or 6" above finished grade for termite inspection
    requirements.  This makes using a 4" slab impossible without additional concrete installed below.

As of July-2004 Building Components subject to wind loading such as: Steel Connectors, Windows, Doors,
Siding, Shingles, Lintels, Manufactured Beams, etc. must have a valid Florida Product Approval Number
which must be listed on the Building Department’s Product Approval Sheets to obtain a building permit.

  • Existing components will not be able to be relocated or reused within the exterior walls of the new
    structure without a valid Product Approval Number.  Existing components may also be approved by
    Engineer or Architect.  It is my policy to approve structural items only, such as Steel Connectors, Lintels,
    Beams, etc. if found to be adequate, but I will not approve windows, doors, shingles, siding, etc.

  • I will provide product approval numbers for structural items such as Steel Connectors, Lintels, Beams, etc.
    that I specify in my plans, but will not provide product approval numbers for windows, doors, shingles,
    siding, etc. due to the vast variety of types and manufacturers of such items. (I am not shopping for you)
    Product Approval Numbers are provided at the following website:

If any part of the new structure was to actually increase the loading or create new loading to any part of the
existing structure, that portion of the existing structure will need to be brought into full compliance with the FBC
(all the way to the foundation).

  • This is usually caused by attaching a new roof system to the existing roof system as in a room addition.  
    The Rearrangement of existing roof support columns such as in an open porch/carport will also require the
    existing foundations be brought into compliance.  Sometimes it may be best (cheaper) to frame the new
    walls around the exiting porch/carport support columns so upgrades to the existing foundation system will
    not required.

  • To certify the existing structure for increased loadings will require some knowledge of the existing
    construction.  Wood frame structures are usually the hardest to certify due to the fact that most of the
    structural items are hidden with drywall and exterior finish.  Older block buildings without vertical steel will
    not be adequate in this situation.  I have had luck with installing a new load bearing wall in front of the
    existing wall complete with a new footing.  Otherwise the entire existing construction must be exposed for
    Engineer/Architect to evaluate.  The building department inspectors will also need to view all upgrades to
    existing walls.

  • If the building addition exceeds the size limit, the entire building must be brought into full structural
    compliance with current Florida Building Code.

The Health Department will also be evaluating the existing Septic and Water Supply systems.  A large
increase in floor area or the addition of a new bedroom may require a larger Septic and Well.  Older structures
may not have adequate systems per current standards and may be required to install new systems. (This
becomes increasingly difficult if the subject property has a high water table)   If Health Department does not
have records of the current systems, you may be required to have the existing systems measured by a
certified septic or well installer.  At the very least the Health Department may require that the current septic
system be pumped.

Large building additions may require that your electrical system/panel be upgraded to handle the increased
electrical loads per National Electric Code (NEC).  If the value of the proposed improvements exceeds 25% of
the value of the existing structure, GFI’s and smoke detectors will need to be installed within the existing
structure in required locations.

Residential and light commercial projects falling within specific parameters of size and cost may have the
electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems designed by a licensed contractor for each trade.  If the owner/builder
chooses to install these items without a licensed contractor, the design details will need to be provided by the
engineer.  Most engineering quotes do not include provisions for design of these items and extra costs can be
expected.  It is also my experience that a licensed contractor will not design your system for you without
performing the work themselves.

All new enclosed additions will need to be constructed in compliance with the Florida Energy Efficiency Code.  
This will require that Energy Sheets be completed by certified HVAC installer.  The existing HVAC system will
also need to be evaluated and upgraded if necessary.

A Site Plan is required for all new construction.  Currently residential construction does not require
Engineer/Surveyor certification.  Site Plan must be to scale and must locate existing structures, well, and
septic.  Setbacks from property lines and ROW must also be shown.  If you have a survey of the subject
property, this will be adequate for the Site Plan.  Simply sketch in all items required (to scale).

Citrus County has a tree count requirement and may require you to plant trees.

Certain properties are also subject to Deed restrictions and may require approval from a Home Owners

Structures located within Flood Zone “A” and “V” must also be constructed to FEMA regulations.

  • All new structures must have the bottom of the lowest horizontal floor supporting member or the top of
    concrete slab set above the flood elevation.  This may require a step between the existing and new
    structure.  Raising the elevation of existing floor to match new floor may not be possible do to head room
    requirements. (Raising the roof will require upgrading all items below roof due to load increases.  See
    similar discussion in item B below.)

  • If the value of “improvements” exceeds 50% of the value of the existing structure the entire existing
    structure must be raised above flood elevation.  This usually requires a new or upgraded foundation
    system.  Raising the structural will in fact increase the loads to the foundations system due to lateral wind
    loads and will require that the existing foundation system be brought into full compliance with FBC. (The
    50% is in reference to value of “building” only, not the property or accessory structures such as detached

  • A flood elevation certificate listing flood elevation, existing floor elevation, and existing ground elevations
    will also be required to be completed by a Licensed surveyor.

  • Properties in Flood Zones A & V are likely to be located near wetlands.  These may have to be located in
    the form of a survey.

  • The problems associated with Structures located within a “V” Flood Zone are complicated and expensive
    due to the introduction of wave loading, break-a-way slab, and finished grade requirements. “V-Zone”
    construction is beyond the scope of this report.

  • Structures located near certain waterways (usually near the coast) may require a berm and swale to catch
    1/2" or 1" of stormwater runoff before entering the subject waterways.  Certain properties may require
    topographic surveys to properly design such a system.
Read PDF of
This Report:
Daniel F. Ardito, PE
Professional Engineer
5644 S Plantain Pt
Lecanto, FL 34461
Pics To
Code Requirements - Building Additions
More Involved Than What Most People Expect
Snake in Fence
Tower Face
** email: **
Ph: (352)-621-4915
Call Today to Discuss Your
Project Design Needs
*** SKYPE Callers - Please Leave Message or Use Email ***
I Will Not Answer Calls With "No Caller ID" or "Vague Caller ID" Due to the High Volume of
Telemarketing Calls in Recent Years.  Leave a Message With Name, Number, and Message.  Thankyou