J.M. from Sarasota County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our buildings are 1970 villa-style with 2 villas sharing one common wall which does not continue into the attic space so the attic is fully open without firewalls. Separate a/c handlers for each unit are located in the attic. Owners are responsible for roofs. Can the association be required to install firewalls?
Mister Condo replies:
J.M., local building codes at the time the buildings were constructed should have dictated if firewalls were required at that time. Since the buildings were built 50 years ago, I think we will have to assume they were up to code at that time. Installing firewalls is a sound idea but I doubt the association is required to do so. A better approach would be to petition the Board to add discussion of firewalls to an upcoming meeting agenda. Provide them with as much information on the subject as possible so they can make an informed decision. I had a similar question in 2013 – https://askmistercondo.com/condo-firewall-law-question/ I had asked a building engineer for his opinion and he echoed what I said but he added that he would like to see firewalls between units for pure safety reasons. He also added that is any work were done in the attic (not the roof), the firewall would likely be required as building codes have changed over the years. Good luck!