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Florida Sun Room

Florida Sun Room

Florida Sun Room

I need some expert opinions. I have a client that installs sun rooms (aluminum framing, glass windows, composite roof structure). We now have a new building code in effect in Florida (The Florida Building Code). Previously, these rooms were not treated as "additions" to the home because the room was seperated by an already existing exterior door and was not heated or air conditioned. However, under the new code the "Existing Building" chapter has become more detailed (no direct mention of the sun rooms) effectively clarifying what was in the previous codes (really no change just clarifications on areas, etc.). My question is  do you think sun rooms should be treated the same way as say adding a fourth bedroom? The definition of habitable space is a space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking. Bathrooms, toilets, closets, screen enclosures, halls, storage and utility facitilities and similar are excluded, but I know you could do all of the above in those areas as well. One last point, the rooms are designed for the current code wind loads, but the code also requires shutters for certain areas. Should these sun rooms require shutters since they are seperated by the exterior wall/door?
Sorry so long.

RE: Florida Sun Room

I think the more convenient way to get a reliable answer is to ask to the authority giving the permits (ask and get their answer in writing); it may turn that the more expensive hypothesis is the one that holds, but at least you will know for sure what you are asked to do and the contractor be able to pass the cost to the purchasers.

RE: Florida Sun Room

The building departments are part of the problem. Some are requiring shutters others are not. I just want some engineering opinions on whether or not it seems justified.

RE: Florida Sun Room

RE the shutters.....I believe that the shutters are for the purpose of resisting projectiles into the space and to avoid risk to life and limb from glass.  If there are windows in your "exterior" wall, you would need shutters on them, at least, if there is a straight line through the two sets of windows.

Otherwise....at least in tornado country, when we design for a severe/tornado shelter per FEMA 361, you would consider the sun porch a "tear-away jersey" and assume it doesn't exist in the event of a hurricane and design the remaining portion of the house as you normally would be required.

RE: Florida Sun Room

Adding to JAE's comments:

The shutters protect windows from breaking under the impact of a projectile.  The Florida Building Code specifies that, unless exterior glazing is impact resistant or protected, the windows shall be considered as openings.  Openings in the wall could change the classification of the building (or portion of building) from enclosed to partially enclosed, increasing the internal pressure about 300%(Cf =0.18 for enclosed buildings, Cf = 0.55 for partially enclosed buildings).

RE: Florida Sun Room

Dlew and others,
I'm aware of all the requirements for additions under the code. The question is whether or not these sun rooms should be classified as true "additions" or not. In 90% of the cases these are being added to existing homes that don't comply with the current code. I'd like to know if anyone elses codes in other areas addresses these "rooms" specifically in their codes as JAE stated for a tornado shelter. Thank you.

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