(c) The commission shall review decisions of local building officials and local enforcement agencies regarding interpretations of the Florida Building Code after the local board of appeals has considered the decision, if such board exists, and if such appeals process is concluded within 25 business days.
1. The commission shall coordinate with the Building Officials Association of Florida, Inc., to designate panels composed of five members to hear requests to review decisions of local building officials. The members must be licensed as building code administrators under part XII of chapter 468 and must have experience interpreting and enforcing provisions of the Florida Building Code.
2. Requests to review a decision of a local building official interpreting provisions of the Florida Building Code may be initiated by any substantially affected person, including an owner or builder subject to a decision of a local building official or an association of owners or builders having members who are subject to a decision of a local building official. In order to initiate review, the substantially affected person must file a petition with the commission. The commission shall adopt a form for the petition, which shall be published on the Building Code Information System. The form shall, at a minimum, require the following:
a. The name and address of the county or municipality in which provisions of the Florida Building Code are being interpreted.
b. The name and address of the local building official who has made the interpretation being appealed.
c. The name, address, and telephone number of the petitioner; the name, address, and telephone number of the petitioner’s representative, if any; and an explanation of how the petitioner’s substantial interests are being affected by the local interpretation of the Florida Building Code.
d. A statement of the provisions of the Florida Building Code which are being interpreted by the local building official.
e. A statement of the interpretation given to provisions of the Florida Building Code by the local building official and the manner in which the interpretation was rendered.
f. A statement of the interpretation that the petitioner contends should be given to the provisions of the Florida Building Code and a statement supporting the petitioner’s interpretation.
g. Space for the local building official to respond in writing. The space shall, at a minimum, require the local building official to respond by providing a statement admitting or denying the statements contained in the petition and a statement of the interpretation of the provisions of the Florida Building Code which the local jurisdiction or the local building official contends is correct, including the basis for the interpretation.
3. The petitioner shall submit the petition to the local building official, who shall place the date of receipt on the petition. The local building official shall respond to the petition in accordance with the form and shall return the petition along with his or her response to the petitioner within 5 days after receipt, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The petitioner may file the petition with the commission at any time after the local building official provides a response. If no response is provided by the local building official, the petitioner may file the petition with the commission 10 days after submission of the petition to the local building official and shall note that the local building official did not respond.
4. Upon receipt of a petition that meets the requirements of subparagraph 2., the commission shall immediately provide copies of the petition to a panel, and the commission shall publish the petition, including any response submitted by the local building official, on the Building Code Information System in a manner that allows interested persons to address the issues by posting comments.
5. The panel shall conduct proceedings as necessary to resolve the issues; shall give due regard to the petitions, the response, and to comments posed on the Building Code Information System; and shall issue an interpretation regarding the provisions of the Florida Building Code within 21 days after the filing of the petition. The panel shall render a determination based upon the Florida Building Code or, if the code is ambiguous, the intent of the code. The panel’s interpretation shall be provided to the commission, which shall publish the interpretation on the Building Code Information System and in the Florida Administrative Weekly. The interpretation shall be considered an interpretation entered by the commission, and shall be binding upon the parties and upon all jurisdictions subject to the Florida Building Code, unless it is superseded by a declaratory statement issued by the Florida Building Commission or by a final order entered after an appeal proceeding conducted in accordance with subparagraph 7.
6. It is the intent of the Legislature that review proceedings be completed within 21 days after the date that a petition seeking review is filed with the commission, and the time periods set forth in this paragraph may be waived only upon consent of all parties.
7. Any substantially affected person may appeal an interpretation rendered by a hearing officer panel by filing a petition with the commission. Such appeals shall be initiated in accordance with chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure and must be filed within 30 days after publication of the interpretation on the Building Code Information System or in the Florida Administrative Weekly. Hearings shall be conducted pursuant to chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure. Decisions of the commission are subject to judicial review pursuant to s. 120.68. The final order of the commission is binding upon the parties and upon all jurisdictions subject to the Florida Building Code.
8. The burden of proof in any proceeding initiated in accordance with subparagraph 7. is on the party who initiated the appeal.
9. In any review proceeding initiated in accordance with this paragraph, including any proceeding initiated in accordance with subparagraph 7., the fact that an owner or builder has proceeded with construction may not be grounds for determining an issue to be moot if the issue is one that is likely to arise in the future.
This paragraph provides the exclusive remedy for addressing requests to review local interpretations of the code and appeals from review proceedings.