An obscure requirement of the 1997 Standard Building
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    SEP. 1, 2000
An obscure requirement of the 1997 Standard Building Code has temporarily stalled home construction in Longleaf, a TND in Odessa, Florida, reports developer Frank Starkey. Thirteen homes were already out of the ground when the local building department found that garages on alleys did not meet fire resistance requirements. The garage door can only take up a certain percentage of the total exterior wall area, and that percentage depends on how far the garage is set back from the alley. The minimum setback for garages in Longleaf is 2 feet 6 inches, which leaves room for the door to take up only 40 percent of the wall area. Pulling the garage back five feet would increase the allowed percentage to 60, but would also take away valuable back yard space, Starkey says. Builders can meet the code by increasing the exterior wall area — solutions include adding a second floor granny flat or a garden wall, using a gable end or raising the pitch of the roof. Starkey is trying to get the county to change the code, but for the time being, builders in Longleaf will have to comply.