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Frequently Asked Questions


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Educational Facilities

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Training/Research/Plan Review

1. Who is the contact for mechanical issues on new construction, additions, remodeling, and renovations?
    Contact: Larry Parish
Phone: 850-245-9227

2. (Mechanical) When is a life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) required?
    When the total new air conditioning load exceeds three hundred sixty thousand (360,000) B per hour (30 tons). Exception: When connecting to an existing chilled water system having adequate capacity.

3. (Mechanical) Are there instructions for completing the Life Cycle Cost Data Summary Sheets?
    Yes. See the PDF file:

4. (Mechanical) Are gas-fired water heaters considered boilers?
    By definition (FBC, Building 423.5.3), any fuel-fired, heat producing appliance with a minimum input capacity of sixty thousand (60,000) BTU per hour and intended to supply hot water or steam is a boiler.

5. (Mechanical) Can gas piping be installed in or above a corridor if it is encased in a conduit or a one (1) hour rated horizontal chase?
    No. This solution is still considered to be "in or above" the corridor.

6. (Mechanical) Can purveyor (city/municipal) water and sewer systems provided with emergency power be considered support systems for enhanced hurricane protection area (EHPA) toilet rooms?
    Only if it can be demonstrated, and reasonably expected, that the systems can be maintained and stay operational during the storm event. This might be difficult since it would be necessary to demonstrate that all pumping stations and controls would be located in "hardened" enclosures and emergency power systems permanently installed or in place prior to the storm.

7. Who is the contact for electrical issues on new construction, additions, remodeling, and renovations?
    Contact: Jim Watts
Phone: 850-245-9303

8. (Electrical) What provisions must be made available when a second party is suppling the generator for the operation of an EHPA during an emergency?
    The provisions vary according to whether the generator is trailer mounted or skid mounted. The generators, in both cases, require some type of tie down system and the system is different according to which of the above type is supplied. If the supplying party cannot guarantee which type will be supplied, then it becomes necessary to prepare for both conditions. Next, it needs to be determined if the generator to be supplied is capable of meeting the wind and missile impact criteria required by the FBC. If the generator can meet the wind and missile impact criteria, then nothing else is required. If the generator cannot meet the wind and missile impact criteria, then it becomes necessary to provide a generator shelter that shall meet the criteria.

9. (Electrical) How do you determine the number of spare breakers required in a panel to meet the spare requirement of FBC 423.17.3, Spare Capacity?
    First it must be understood that the number of spares is set by the number of breakers the panel is capable of holding, not the number of breakers the design requires. To give an example, the design calls for 32 circuits each of which require one 20 amp breaker. The panel of choice is capable of holding 42 single phase breakers. The number of spare breakers to meet the 20% criteria would be 8 not 6. If the total number of breakers exceeded 42, then a sub-panel or feed-thru would be required. It should be noted that the total number of spare breakers would increase by the size of the sub-panel. As a second example; the design calls for 54 circuits of which each require one 20 amp breaker. To see if a 42 breaker main panel and a 30 breaker sub-panel or feed-thru will be sufficient, we take the total number of breaker slots available, 72, and take 20% of that number. That number is 14 and is added to the total number of required circuits, 54. This gives a total of 68. Therefore, a 42 breaker main panel and a 30 breaker sub-panel or feed-thru will meet FBC 423.17.3 requirements for the 54 circuit design. All of the spares can be located in the sub-panel if desired. However, it should be noted that the sub-panel must be located in the same room as the main panel. If not, it is considered a stand-alone panel and must have its required spares available in the room were it is located.

10. (Electrical) What is the difference between an "Emergency Shut-Off Switch" and an "Emergency Disconnect" as described in FBC 423.17.4 and .5 respectively?
    In general terms, they both provide the same type function. To be a little more specific, an "Emergency Shut-Off Switch" is normally associated with use in a laboratory and disconnects power to all of the receptacles in the room. It can also shut off any gas supplied to a lab. It usually performs its operation through relay control. An "Emergency Disconnect" is generally associated with heavy equipment located in a shop, i.e., an arc welder, band or table saw, bench sanders, etc. It also shuts off power to all receptacles in the shop area. Based of what is connected, the "Disconnect Switch" may be a large manual pull switch that disconnects all 220 volt and all 3 phase power equipment and trigger relays to shut down all receptacles and 110 volt equipment. One important factor is that two "Disconnect Switches" are required where only one "Emergency Shut-Off Switch" is required.

11. (Electrical) Can a Fire Alarm Annunciator Panel be installed in the EHPA Manager's Office instead of the Control Panel?
    No. The FBC is very specific about the locations of the Control Panel and the Annunciator Panel. The Control Panel must be in the EHPA manger's office and the Annunciator Panel in or near the Administration area. The reasoning is very simple. With the Control Panel in the EHPA Manager's Office, the manager will always be able to tell if a problem exists anywhere in the school. If the Control Panel was located outside of the EHPA area and a problem caused the Panel to become non-responsive, the people in the EHPA would be in an unprotected area. With the Control Panel in the EHPA, a problem that causes another area or building to be non-responsive would not leave the EHPA unprotected.

12. Who is the contact for additional information on existing buildings?
    Contact Jack Villagomez
Phone: 850-245-9294

13. (Existing Buildings) What is the current firesafety standard for inspection of existing public schools?
    State Fire Marshal rule 69A-58, Effective Date 11/26/2006, is the current firesafety standard for inspection of existing public K-12 educational facilities.

14. (Existing Buildings) What standard is to be used for existing private schools including charter schools on private property?
    Florida Fire Prevention Code and local codes.

15. (Existing Buildings) Is the school district required to perform annual inspections of all charter schools and likewise is the local fire department?
    The district is not required to inspect private schools including charter schools but the fire department is required to inspect all schools including both private and public charter schools.

16. (Existing Buildings) Is there still an SREF Chapter 5 for existing schools?
    Yes. The 2007 SREF (State Requirements for Educational Facilities) became effective February 12, 2008. SREF Chapter 5, Existing Facilities, has been revised to eliminate references to firesafety. Firesafety requirements are found in State Fire Marshal rule 69A-58 and the Florida Fire Prevention Code. SREF Chapter 5, and its incorporated codes addresses all other areas of safety including casualty safety, sanitation, and accessibility which are to be checked in the annual comprehensive inspections.

17. (Existing Buildings) What is the correct form for districts to use for annual safety inspections?
    There is no official OEF-207 form for comprehensive annual inspections. Districts are free to devise their own form so long as the current 2007 SREF Chapter 5 references are utilized. For firesafety inspections Rule 69A-58.004(5) specifies what the firesafety inspection report shall contain, at a minimum. All firesafety reports are to be submitted electronically to the SFM utilizing the official SFM-Violation Master List. The list identifies common violations by assigning each violation a specific number and generic title. For instance Violation Master List Number 21 is named “BLOCKED/LOCKED EXITS”. Reports should clarify descriptions for the particular violation by referencing the building number, room number and a more detailed violation description such as: Building 3, Room 100, “Remove deadbolt at corridor exit door”. Other questions regarding firesafety inspection reports should be addressed to State Fire Marshal at:

18. (Existing Buildings) Are two annual firesafety inspections required?
    Yes. Per Chapter 1013 F.S. and Rule 69A-58, the local fire department, municipal, county, or special district, must perform an inspection of each public school within its jurisdiction. The district must also perform an annual comprehensive safety inspection that includes firesafety for each facility. The 2 firesafety inspections may, however, be a joint inspection.

19. What is the current edition of SREF?
    2007 SREF (State Requirements for Educational Facilities) became effective February 12, 2008 and a PDF version can be downloaded at:

20. Who is the contact for additional information on environmental issues?
    Contact: Darrell Phillips
Phone: 850-245-0494

21. (Environmental) Can DOE provide technical assistance with environmental concerns?
    Yes, the Department of Education can provide technical assistance on environmental concerns at no cost to local educational agencies. Much of the technical assistance consist of reviewing consultant’s report.

22. (Environmental) Do charter schools have to comply with federal asbestos laws?
    Yes, every K-12 public, private and charter school is required to ensure that its building is properly inspected every three years and that an Asbestos Management Plan is available at each individual school. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is stepping up enforcement of charter schools, so ensure that your school is in compliance by reviewing the requirements at

23. (Environmental) What information must be on chemical containers stored at schools?
    According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, all stored containers of hazardous chemicals must be labeled with the name of the product, appropriate hazard warnings, and the name and address of the chemical manufacturer. All chemicals should be supplied with that information from the manufacturer; however, spray bottles and products mixed onsite need to be properly labeled as well. The material safety data sheet can be obtained for each product.

24. (Environmental) Does DOE have a recommendation on the thermostat setting for classrooms?
    Yes. The American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that temperatures be kept from 73.0°- 78.5°F in the cooling season, and 67.5°- 74.0°F in the heating season (i.e., winter). ASHRAE's recommendations are based on comfort. A concern during the cooling season is cooling the classroom air below the dew point of the air outside. Condensation and mold growth can result. Heat is our friend with regard to keeping buildings dry and preventing mold, so we recommend trying to bear temperatures of 76.0°- 78.5°F in the cooling season.

25. (Environmental) What is DOE's opinion of pets in a classroom?
    Pets can provide wonderful and fun educational opportunities, but every classroom has children with allergies and asthma. Pet dander could trigger a life-threatening asthma attack. Diseases such as salmonella have been linked to some pets such as turtles. The Florida Department of Health performs inspections to ensure that pet cages are kept in a sanitary condition. We recommend that each school district adopt its own policy for pets in classrooms. The most prudent policy would be to introduce the pet for its educational purpose and when it is no longer used for educational purposes, it should be removed from the classroom.

26. Who is the contact for additional information on maintenance and operations issues?
    Contact: Annabelle Wright
Phone: 850-245-9298

27. (Maintenance and Operations) Where can I obtain a copy of the Utility and Maintenance and Operations Reports?
    The reports may be found at:

M&O report FY 2006-2007:
http// (PDF)
http// (PDF)

Utility Costs 2006-2007: (PDF) (PDF)

28. (Maintenance and Operations) Are school districts and community colleges subject to OSHA requirements?
    Yes, see the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF), 2007 edition, Section1.1(a), which adopts Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), U. S. Department of Labor, 29 CFR as revised July 1, 2005 for district employees.

29. (Maintenance and Operations) Is training required by OSHA standards available?
    Yes, the Office of Educational Facilities provides training at no cost to the school districts and community colleges. A list of available training topics can be accessed at:

30. (Maintenance and Operations) Where can I find an overview of OSHA training requirements and standards?
    OSHA publication Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines available online at:

31. (Maintenance and Operations) Is custodial training available from the Office of Educational Facilities?
    No, custodial training is provided by the Florida School Plant Management Association (