Jacksonville, FL (January 14, 2020) – It’s official! Bill 2019-803 has been adopted and approved by the Florida Building Code Commission as a local Building Code requirement for Duval county.
“This is a very exciting accomplishment”, Council member Becton acknowledged. “These changes which we have approved locally, we hope one day will also transpire across the State but until that happens, our county will lead the way in helping change the lives of families who struggle with disabled children”, Council member Becton stated. “Just being able to go out in public and have the necessary facilities available to them and to have the public facilities that most people consider normal, will be life altering.”
City Council took its final vote to approve Adult Changing Tables and language from two other ordinances encompassed in the Bill 2019-803, a bill Councilman Becton advocated and managed since being introduced back in July of 2019. After receiving local approval from council and the city’s Building Code Advisory Commission (BCAC), the multi-purpose legislation then advanced to the state level for its final review and approval from the Florida Building Commission.
At a LUZ Meeting in January, OGC Attorney Shannon Eller explained the bill as the “second part of a two-step process” in which bills 2019-331, 2019-392, 2019-464, were approved by council back in 2019. Bill 2019-803 is the final piece of legislation which packages all three of those bills together and when approved submits them to the Florida Building Commission as what we referred to as “Local Technical Amendments”. Local technical amendments are basically exceptions to the State Building Code which allows specific areas to have special requirements. The requirements for which our county will be allowed to implement include: 1) Elevation requirements for certain flood hazard areas, 2) Baby changing table requirements & 3) Adult changing table requirements in specified business and public facilities.
“This a unique process in that no one can remember when the Council has done specific building code requirements like this before,” Councilman Becton explained. “We are amending the local building code to allow us to do something that isn’t in the overall State Florida Building Code. By doing this, we hope to set a precedence and lead the way to have a requirement that one day the State will implement, State Wide.”
Councilman Becton’s involvement in this amendment started with the Bill 2019-464, which he introduced in June of 2019. Bill 2019-464 was a request to amend the Florida Building Code to add the requirement “to make adult changing tables available in newly constructed buildings or buildings that undergo substantial renovation” after January 1st of 2020. Adult changing tables are a very important necessity for the special needs’ community, yet very few places across the state of Florida have them.
Councilman Becton was made aware of this need during his first year in office back in 2015-2016 when he met Angel Miele, whose 8-year-old daughter has Rhett Syndrome. This syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that causes mobility issues and would benefit her daughter by having an adult changing table in large businesses and public places.
“Hearing the stories from the many mothers of children who spoke to us was heart wrenching,” Councilman Becton noted. “Their stores in that they explained without these tables within bathroom facilities, required them to take care of their kids personal hygiene in difficult ways. They would often times have to lay them on a nasty bathroom floor or use their car trunks or front and back seats to change their diapers. We are talking about kids who could be up to 80lbs or more and way to big for the baby changing tables for which we see more often that only address children up to about 20lbs.”
Fast forward three years, a similar Bill 2019-392, regarding Baby Changing Tables was introduced by Councilman John Crescimbeni, which sparked Councilman Becton’s memory, recalled that day in 2015-2016 from his previous conversation with Mrs. Miele. Councilman Crescimbeni’s bill looked to request a change to the Florida Building Code making baby changing tables mandatory in all public restrooms for specifically sized facilities. Certainly, this presented the exact opportunity that Council member Becton was looking for and added a Bill to request requirements for Adult Changing Tables, as well.
“Council member Crescimbeni helped open the door to a unique idea and process to provide a solution to these issues that he and I had been struggling with for quite some time.” Councilman Becton said. “When I first was presented with this problem, the solution was not obvious to me, specially as a first term council member at that time. I certainly want to give CM Crescimbeni the credit for researching and opening up the door for the solution that he and I used to solve these critical issues within our city”.
Bill 2019-803 was reviewed by our local Building Code Adjust Board (BCAB) in December and approved after much debate. When reviewing the portion on adult changing tables, the board members asked to be involved in the implementation process and how the requirements will be developed that ultimately will be put in place, when they were adopted.
“The local requirements for these issues will be defined by our building code professionals within our City,” said Councilman Becton. “The concerns for which the BCAB had in developing the rules was answered by our Counsel by acknowledging that they would definitely see this come back to them in their roles. They would be required in the future to define the specific requirements of structural and physical needs to implement these structures for the industry”.
Bill 2019-803 passed through the Land Use and Zoning Committee on January 7th. After its passage Councilman Becton gave a quick shoutout to Mrs. Miele to thank her and to congratulate her on this special and important milestone.
“Angel Miele, you visited me four years ago with this issue and I didn’t know how to address it, but tonight we are at the final step of getting that done. Congratulations,” said Councilman Becton.
City Council approved the legislation unanimously on January 14th with many accolades from fellow council members in the work that Council member Becton got accomplished.
According to the state’s website, the Florida Building Commission passed the legislation to implement the requirements for flood hazard elevations, baby changing tables and adult changing tables less than a month later and published the amendments on February 4th, 2020. The local technical amendments now take effect and will be enforced through Jacksonville’s local rules beginning March 5th, 2020, per Florida Statue, Section 553.73.
To View the FBC’s Published Technical Amendments and Comments, Visit: