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What you can do about your own house
Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 27, 1999
Go to the city or county building department where your house plans are filed.
Get a copy of the plans. (In most building departments, copies of blueprints cost $5 per page. There may be as many as 10 pages.)
Then you have two options:
You can hire an engineer to review the plans. (A thorough review of a house plan can cost up to $1,000.)
You can get a list of structural engineers by writing the Florida Engineering Society (the engineers' trade association), 125 S Gadsden St., Tallahassee, FL 32301 or by calling the association at (850) 224-7121.
Your second option is to involve state regulators. To determine if an engineer or architect sealed your plans, look on the plan for the signature and raised seal of an engineer or architect.
If the plans are sealed by an engineer, and if you are concerned they do not meet code, you may contact the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, 1208 Hays St., Tallahassee, FL 32301 or call (850) 521-0500.
"We don't know who's got these plans out there," said Barton, the Engineering Board executive. "People would have to bring the signed-and-sealed plans to us. They would have to make the allegation, ÔWe don't believe the plans meet the codes and specifications.'
"They don't have to give us chapter and verse on why it doesn't, they just have to suspect it doesn't."
You also may contact the Engineering Board through its Web site: www.fbpe.org
If the plans are sealed by an architect, you may contact Suzanne Lee, Division of Regulation -- Consumer Complaints, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Northwood Center, 1940 N Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0782. Or call the Architectural Licensing Board at (850) 488-6685.
If the plans are not sealed by a design professional, but are built according to the construction manuals, you may contact Lee at the above address, or call the Construction Industry Licensing Board at (904) 727-6530.
Finally, if any of those boards determine your home does not meet code, you may file a complaint against the local building official, plans examiner and building inspector who permitted your home and checked its construction. To speak with a representative of the Building Code Administrators and Inspectors licensing board, call (850) 921-4789. Or you can contact Lee at the Division of Regulation.
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