If you own a condominium in Florida, your unit likely includes a lanai. This common feature allows residents to enjoy an outdoor space that requires minimal maintenance.

In many situations, condo homeowners prefer to expand their indoor living space and converting an exterior lanai may offer the opportunity to do so. If you want to do this, you should review all related building codes prior to engaging in this effort.

Fire prevention and lanai conversions

As explained by the City of Naples, converting an exterior lanai to an interior living area potentially exposes the chance for a fire to spread to any floor or living space above the lanai. Some modern or newly constructed condominiums may be built with fire prevention in these scenarios in mind. Older buildings, however, may require additional work prior to or during a lanai conversion to comply with the Florida Building Code Section 705.8. This code outlines the options for fire prevention compliance.

Sprinkler systems

A sprinkler system may allow a lanai conversion to occur. Sprinkler positioning must be in line with all building code requirements. Placement should be relative to the window head and glazing surface.

Vertical and horizontal separations

Another way to comply with fire code regulations when converting a lanai is to provide separations from any doors or windows that are at least 30 inches horizontally and 36 inches vertically.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give condominium residents in Florida and overview of one issue that requires special attention when seeking to convert a lanai to an indoor living space.