Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS)
A structural integrity reserve study, or "SIRS" as it is sometimes referred to, is a specialized type of reserve study required for certain Florida condominiums and co-ops. It was a creation of Florida Lawmakers in 2022 and was recently amended in 2023.
What is a structural integrity reserve study (SIRS)?
This was a response by the Florida Lawmakers to the horrific collapse of Champlain Towers, a 12-story condo building in Surfside, Florida on June 24, 2021, which killed 98 people. In the aftermath of the collapse, it was learned that the condo association had waived reserve funding for most of its' 40-year existence and the lack of sufficient reserve funds contributed to the delay in addressing the critical structural integrity issues it was faced with.
Why was the SIRS created?
Any Florida condominium or co-op building that is three stories or higher in height (as determined by the Florida Building Code) is required to have a SIRS done. Florida condominium or co-ops buildings less than three stories in height; single-family, two-family, or three-family dwellings with three or fewer habitable stories above ground are not required to a SIRS.
Who is required to do a SIRS?
It's more complex than you think. The code definition of a story depends on variables such as the grade plane, vertical distances between floors, ceilings, beams, roof rafters and whether a mezzanine or loft level exists. This video does a good job explaining it. If you have what may be considered a typical 3 or 4 story building that has a full or partial basement type bottom level and/or a mezzanine/loft level, this information may determine whether your building is required to do a SIRS and Milestone inspection.
What is the definition of a three-story building as defined in the Florida Building Code?
Structure, including load-bearing walls and or other primary structural members and primary structural systems as those terms are defined in s. 627.706
Fireproofing and fire protection systems
Waterproofing and exterior painting
Windows and exterior doors (only those that the association is responsible for replacement)
Any other item that has a deferred maintenance expense or replacement cost that exceeds $10,000 and the failure to replace or maintain such item negatively affects the items listed in sub-subparagraphs a.-g., as determined by the visual inspection portion of the structural integrity reserve study
At a minimum, a structural integrity reserve study must identify each item of the condominium property being visually inspected, state the estimated remaining useful life and the estimated replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense of each item of the condominium property being visually inspected, and provide a reserve funding schedule with a recommended annual reserve amount that achieves the estimated replacement cost or deferred maintenance expense of each item of condominium property being visually inspected by the end of the estimated remaining useful life of the item. The structural integrity reserve study may recommend that reserves do not need to be maintained for any item for which an estimate of useful life and an estimate of replacement cost cannot be determined, or the study may recommend a deferred maintenance expense amount for such item. The structural integrity reserve study may recommend that reserves for replacement costs do not need to be maintained for any item with an estimated remaining useful life of greater than 25 years, but the study may recommend a deferred maintenance expense amount for such item.
What is required to be included in a SIRS?
No. This specialized type of reserve study was developed by Florida Lawmakers in 2022 and never existed before. Florida is the only State that requires a SIRS.
Does our current reserve study fulfill the requirement for a SIRS?
No. The long-established reserve requirements still remain. They include roof replacement, building painting, pavement resurfacing and any item whose cost exceeds $10,000.
Did the SIRS requirements replace the old reserve requirements?
A structural integrity reserve study may be performed by any person qualified to perform such a study. However, the visual inspection portion of the structural integrity reserve study must be performed or verified by an engineer licensed under chapter 471, an architect licensed under chapter 481, or a person certified as a reserve specialist or professional reserve analyst by the Community Associations Institute or the Association of Professional Reserve Analysts.
Who is qualified to do a SIRS?
For most associations mandatory SIRS funding will begin with their 2026 budget. For associations whose fiscal year does not start on January 1st, they will begin funding at the start of their 2025 fiscal year. SB 154 states "For a budget adopted on or after December 31, 2024, the members of a unit-owner-controlled association that must obtain a structural integrity reserve study may not determine to provide no reserves or less reserves than required by this subsection for items listed in paragraph (g), except that members of an association operating a multicondominium may determine to provide no reserves or less reserves than required by this subsection if an alternative funding method has been approved by the division."
When are associations required to begin funding the amount stated in the SIRS?
Yes, but only for budgets adopted before December 31, 2024. Budgets adopted after that date must be funded according to the SIRS.
Can an association waive or partially fund the SIRS?
Florida's Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) has jurisdiction for the SIRS. They will check procedural requirements only (whether it has been done) and verify the association is following the SIRS funding amount. DBPR will not review the content of the SIRS.
Who is overseeing that associations are in compliance with the SIRS requirements?
December 31, 2024. There is a conditional one-year extension for buildings turning 30 years old between July 1, 2022 and December 31, 2024. If the building turns 30 during this period, the association can delay doing a Milestone inspection and SIRS simultaneously until 2025. By doing so their SIRS deadline would then become December 31, 2025.
What is the deadline for completing a SIRS?
A Milestone inspection is the structural inspection of a building performed by a licensed architect or engineer. The purpose is to ensure a building’s safety through an assessment of its structural components and general structural condition. It is required when the building turns 30 years old.
What is a Milestone inspection?
No. They are different reports, with different information, different reporting requirements, and different deadlines.
Is the Milestone inspection and the SIRS the same thing?
Can an association waive or partially fund non-SIRS reserves?
Yes, you are still required to present a fully funded reserve plan to the membership as part of your annual budget. It must include roof replacement, building painting, pavement resurfacing and any item whose cost is $10,000 or greater.
If my Florida condo or co-op association is not required to have a SIRS, are there any other reserve requirements that we have to follow?
In 2023 the waiving or part funding of reserves requirement changed from requiring a majority of a quorum to a majority of all voting interests.
What is the requirement for waiving or partially funding non-SIRS reserves?
Yes. Florida's Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) answered this on their website under the Reserves section of their frequently asked questions.
Is the pooled cash flow funding plan method allowed in the SIRS?
The State has provided no language or guidance on this matter. Your SIRS provider should be able to make recommendations for optimal fund allocation through various modeling and calculations.
How do we determine what amount of our existing pooled reserve funds should be allocated to the SIRS plan and how much to the non-SIRS plan?
Can an association vote to move reserve funds out from their SIRS account?
If the officers or directors of an association willfully and knowingly fail to complete a SIRS, such failure is a breach of an officer’s and director’s fiduciary relationship to the unit owners.
What happens if our association does not get a SIRS completed by the deadline?
Every 10 years.
How often is an association required to complete a SIRS?
Yes. It must be accessible and maintained as an official record.
Is the SIRS an official record of the association?
Any determination of whether assessments exceed 115 percent of assessments for the prior fiscal year shall exclude any authorized provision for reasonable reserves for repair or replacement of the property.
What is our SIRS funding requirement exceeds our Declaration's 115% budget assessment increase limit?
No. The SIRS requirements only apply to certain Florida condominiums and co-ops.No. The SIRS requirements only apply to certain Florida condominiums and co-ops.