Could someone help me read this?

Florida Building Code

The structures on the left and right side will be new. Just outdoor multi purpose areas with fixed roofs. Left side for cooking (kitchenette)/ eating right side for entertaining / storage.

Originally, I was going to attach them to the house but now I want them free standing 4 ft from the house so we can get furniture, power washer, etc... back by the pool.

Back walls will be concrete block, same height as the existing house. As many windows as I can fit in them. Remainder of the walls will be open for roll style garage doors or drapes or etc...

Just trying to figure out how deep and wide to make the footings. Looks like 1 foot deep x 1 foot wide but not sure?

I've built concrete block structures but that was up north in NY. Here in Tampa, Florida, the frost line is 0 inches but I'm not going to lay block on the dirt / grass lol.

Floor (including around the pool) will ideally be poured stamped concrete but most pool companies like to lay pavers so we'll see if I can find someone to pour a pad. plan

  • 1
    While the frost line may be at zero in Florida, most of the state is sand, so you'll need some footing. I'm not technical enough to read the code to answer for you, just pointing out the (maybe no so) obvious for everyone's benefit.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 5, 2021 at 14:07
  • 2
    @FreeMan - there is an answer to this... but I have done zero work in Florida and its not me. But I am sure there is best practice in the area for different types of support. I am almost positive that the city's inspector would just answer this. If I am building a deck in a house away from me, I just simply ask the inspector what the minimum is and go a foot deeper. For Florida though I suspect there is a depth and a "style" of pouring the footings. Might just find a clue going to big box in area and seeing whats available in preform footings.
    – DMoore
    Oct 5, 2021 at 17:32
  • 1
    Oh, I'm certain there's an answer, @DMoore. I was just pointing out that simply because there is no expected frost doesn't mean there aren't requirements for the footings. Your recommendation to call the local inspector's office (especially since a permit is likely going to be necessary, may as well get that ball rolling, too) is an excellent one.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 5, 2021 at 17:38
  • 1
    If you are looking for generic search terms for foundations in Florida, you want "Florida hurricane slab on grade", which describes the most common, modern building technique, except in tidal areas which require piers down to limestone. But as others have said, your local permit office can easily tell you what is required for your property, or if a geotechnical engineer is required to make a determination for you.
    – longneck
    Oct 5, 2021 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


Per Florida Building Code section 1819.4.5 The top of all continuous footings shall be a minimum of 8 inches (203 mm) below grade. 1819.5 Isolated footings. Dimensions for an isolated footing shall not be less than 12 inches (305 mm) deep and 24 inches square (.02 m2).

Below are the relevant sections excerpted for your information. After all these readings, I think you are better off hiring a structural engineer to do the work for you. Note, these requirements are for the structures located in the "HIGH-VELOCITY HURRICANE ZONES" specifically. Variation is possible for other zones. Again, you need to consult the structural engineer, or the local building department.

1819.1 General. Footings shall be constructed of reinforced concrete, as set forth in Chapter 19 (High-Velocity Hurricane Zones) of this code and in this section, and shall, insofar as is practicable, be so designed that the soil pressure shall be reasonably uniform to minimize differential settlement.

1819.2 Continuous wall footings.

1819.2.1 Footings under walls shall be continuous or continuity otherwise provided and shall be not less than required to keep the soil pressure within that set forth in Section 1818 nor less than the following minimums:

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  1. For single-story wood frame exterior walls, the minimum size continuous footing shall be 16 inches deep × 24 inches wide.

  2. Any continuous wall footing acting as a shear wall foundation shall be specifically designed for that purpose.1819.4.5 The top of all continuous footings shall be a minimum of 8 inches (203 mm) below grade.

1819.5 Isolated footings. Dimensions for an isolated footing shall not be less than 12 inches (305 mm) deep and 24 inches square (.02 m2). Isolated footings in soil having low lateral restraint and isolated piers shall be provided with adequate bracing to resist lateral movement.

1819.5.1 Isolated footings with eccentric loading shall be designed to limit the soil pressure at the edges by means of footing straps or other approved methods.

1819.5.2 When isolated footings support reinforced concrete columns, dowels equivalent in number and area to the column reinforcement and having a length not less than 36 diameters above and below the joint shall be provided in the footing. Where the footing depth precludes straight dowels, standard ACI hooks will be allowable. Such dowels, or anchor bolts as required for steel columns, shall be held to proper grade and location during the pouring of the footing by means of templates or by other approved methods.

1819.5.3 The top of all isolated footings shall be a minimum of 8 inches (203 mm) below grade.

1819.5.4 Any isolated footing subjected to uplift and/or overturning forces shall be specifically designed for that purpose, as set forth in Section 1620.

1819.6 Lateral sliding resistance. The resistance of structural walls to lateral sliding shall be calculated by combining the values derived from the lateral bearing and the lateral sliding resistance shown in Table 1819.6 unless data to substantiate the use of higher values are submitted for approval. For clay, sandy clay and clayey silt, in no case shall the lateral sliding resistance exceed one-half the dead load.

  • Ok so we are not in a high velocity zone hurricanedepot.com/EngineeringHVHZ.htm we're in Zone 2 (Pinellas county, to the left of Hillsborough. They'll be 1 story structures with a roof so 12x16 it looks like. I don't mind to do the 12x24 to be safe but maybe it's not needed? 2nd thought was because i'm next to the existing house, just dig into the grass and see how far down / wide the existing foundation is and copy that.
    – lsiunsuex
    Oct 6, 2021 at 11:55
  • The answer to the first question depends on the bearing strength of the soil and stability under wind no matter which zone the house is in. Keep in mind, the code only recommends the absolute minimum, many times one needs a much larger footing after engineering evaluation. The second question is really something that can cause big trouble if not carefully looked by an engineer. So, please consult with an engineer.
    – r13
    Oct 6, 2021 at 14:31

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