October 15, 2008


Tampa, Florida



Meeting Design & Facilitation By




Report By Jeff A. Blair

Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium

Florida State University




http:// consensus.fsu.edu


This document is available in alternate formats upon request to Dept. of Community Affairs, Codes & Standards, 2555 Shumard Oak Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399, (850) 487-1824.




October 15, 2008



Chairman Rodriguez announced that the Commission is convening a facilitated joint workgroup process with the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to develop recommendations regarding requirements for the sizing of septic systems. The purpose of the Workgroup is to develop recommendations regarding an acceptable definition of “Bedrooms” used for the sizing of septic systems. The definition should work from the Florida Building Code (FBC) and Department of Health (DOH) perspectives.




Raul L. Rodriguez, AIA, Chair of the Florida Building Commission, has made the following appointments to the Universal Bedroom Definition Workgroup. Members are charged with representing their stakeholder group’s interests, and working with other interest groups to develop consensus package(s) of recommendations for submittal to the Commission.


Commission Appointments

Dick Browdy

Matt Carlton

Joe Crum

Dale Greiner

Jim Goodloe

Jim Schock

Randy Vann



Health Department Appointments

Ed Barranco

Antony Gaudio

Roxanne Groover

Robert Harper

Mark Lander

Jim Love

Jim Schivinski

Ed Williams



Opening and Meeting Attendance

The meeting started at 1:00 PM, and the following Workgroup members were present:

Dick Browdy, Matt Carlton, Dale Greiner, Jim Goodloe, Dwight Wilkes for Jim Schock,

Randy Vann; Ed Barranco, Robert Harper, Jim Love, and Ed Williams.



DCA Staff Present

Joe Bigelow, Rick Dixon, Mo Madani, and Betty Stevens.


Meeting Facilitation

The meeting was facilitated by Jeff Blair from the Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium at Florida State University. Information at: http://consensus.fsu.edu/


Project Webpage

Information on the project, including agenda packets, meeting reports, and related documents may be found in downloadable formats at the project webpage below:



Meeting Objectives


ü      To Approve Regular Procedural Topics (Agenda and Report)

ü      To Review Workgroup’s Scope and Charge

ü      To Hear a Report Regarding TRAP Feedback

ü      To Review Options Regarding a Universal Bedroom Definition

ü      To Discuss and Evaluate Level of Acceptability of Proposed Options

ü      To Consider Public Comment

ü      To Identify Needed Next Steps and Agenda Items for Next Meeting



Review of Universal Bedroom Definition Workgroup Scope and Overview

Jeff Blair explained that the purpose of the Workgroup is to develop recommendations regarding

an acceptable methodology for sizing septic systems. The Workgroup should review the strategy of using “Bedrooms” for the sizing of septic systems, and evaluate an universal bedroom definition that  will work from the Florida Building Code (FBC) and Department of Health (DOH) perspectives.



At the first meeting Workgroup members were requested to propose and evaluate a range of options for developing a universal bedroom definition for the sizing of septic systems and evaluated three (3) options. The options are as follows:


Option 1:

Bedroom: Minimum 70 sq ft, closet, means of escape and rescue to the outside, door, and must be conditioned space (code requires heating for conditioned space).

3 members voted in support of this option in concept.

Option 2:

Bedroom: Minimum 70 sq ft, closet, means of escape and rescue to the outside, door,

must be conditioned space, and the room is not a: hallway, bathroom, kitchen, living room, family room, dining room, breakfast nook, pantry, laundry room, sunroom, recreation room, media/video room, or exercise room (Note: the concept is to create a list of exceptions and all other rooms would be classified as bedroom).

10 members voted in support of this option in concept.


Option 3:

Use the Building Code requirements of a specific occupant load for housing: 1 person per 200 sq ft, and at the plan review process require 75 gallons/person/day for sizing the system. The concept is for an occupant load calculation based on square footage.

3 members voted in support of this option in concept.



Review and Approval of the May 7, 2008 Facilitator’s Summary Report

The Workgroup voted unanimously, 9 - 0 in favor, to approve the May 7, 2008 Facilitator’s

Report as presented.



Report on Technical Review and Advisory Panel (TRAP) Input on Issue

Robert Harper, Workgroup and TRAP member reported that the issue was discussed by TRAP at their June 5, 2008 meeting, but the TRAP decided additional information was needed from the DOH before they could provide feedback to the Commission’s Workgroup. The issue was tabled to a future meeting.



Discussion, Identification and Evaluation in Turn of Options Regarding a Universal Bedroom Definition

Ed Barranco from the Department of Health (DOH), presented a new option proposed by the DOH for the Workgroup’s consideration. The basic concept is to move away from the bedroom definition strategy, and to use the census definition of “room” to determine the calculation. The sizing calculation is based on the number of rooms multiplied by 50 gallons per day (GPD) per room.


The Workgroup reviewed the following DOH proposal for sizing septic systems:

·   Use census definition of rooms for calculating system sizes.

·   All rooms that meet the census definition of “Room” are counted as a room.

·   Use 70 square feet as the minimum room size for consideration as a room.

·   Use a conversion factor of 50 gallons per day/room for sizing septic system.

The complete proposal is included as Attachment 2 of this report.


Additional considerations:

·   The proposal should be reviewed by DOH’s TRAP for feedback.

·   DOH should evaluate the formula’s factors to ensure they are accurate.

·   DOH should analyze additional floor plans to ensure the methodology works.

·   The effects of additions should be evaluated to ensure the formula still works.


Overview and Summary of Discussion and Participant’s Questions and Comments:

·   Move away from bedroom definition strategy.

·   Defining bedrooms has always presented issues and problems.

·   Need to review 50gpd/room conversion factor using a broad range of sample houses.

·   Is the 70 square feet threshold for defining “rooms” the correct number.

·   Need to review 50 plans to ensure the calculation factors are correct: 70 sq. ft. and 50 gpd/room.

·   DOH will evaluate a broad range of plans and tweak conversion factors as appropriate.

·   TRAP should review proposal and provide feedback.

·   If this proposal is recommended by TRAP, then DOH will initiate rulemaking to adopt this new methodology.

·   I have reviewed this proposal and find it is a simple, clear, and accurate method for sizing septic systems.

·   Need to ensure additions also work within this construct.

·   This strategy also addresses unfinished spaces well, because sooner or later they will become rooms and should be counted in the sizing.

·   This strategy seems to work well for most situations and should be evaluated further by DOH technical staff.


Workgroup Action:

Motion—The Workgroup voted unanimously, 10 - 0 in favor, to recommend in concept the following strategy for sizing septic systems:

Use census definition of rooms for calculating system sizes,

All rooms that meet the “Room” definition are counted as a room,

Use 70 square feet as minimum room size, and

Use a conversion factor of 50 gallons per day/room for sizing septic systems.

(Attachment 2—DOH Proposal)



Public Comment

Members of the public were invited to provide the Workgroup with comments.



Next Steps

·   The proposal will be submitted to the Department of Health’s (DOH) Technical Review and Advisory Panel (TRAP) for evaluation and feedback.

·   DOH should also evaluate the 50gpd/room and 70 square foot criteria to ensure they are the best numbers to use in the formula for calculating septic system sizing.

·   The Workgroup will meet a final time once TRAP has evaluated the Workgroup’s consensus recommendations regarding a strategy for method for the sizing of septic systems.




The Workgroup adjourned at 3:00 PM.




October 15, 2008—Tampa, Florida

Average rank using a 0 to 10 scale, where 0 means totally disagree and 10 means totally agree.


1.          Please assess the overall meeting.

9.69     The background information was very useful.

9.79     The agenda packet was very useful.

9.69     The objectives for the meeting were stated at the outset.

9.75     Overall, the objectives of the meeting were fully achieved.

9.44     Report on TRAP Feedback.

9.56     Discussion and Evaluation of Options Regarding a Universal Bedroom Definition.

9.64     Identification of Next Steps.


2.         Please tell us how well the Facilitator helped the participants engage in the meeting.

9.64     The members followed the direction of the Facilitator.

9.69     The Facilitator made sure the concerns of all members were heard.

9.07     The Facilitator helped us arrange our time well.

8.44     Participant input was documented accurately.


3.         What is your level of satisfaction with the meeting?

9.64     Overall, I am very satisfied with the meeting.

9.81     I was very satisfied with the services provided by the Facilitator.

9.64     I am satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.


4.         What progress did you make?

9.81     I know what the next steps following this meeting will be.

9.81     I know who is responsible for the next steps.


5.         What did you like best about the meeting?

·        Good Ideas- Great consensus.

·        It was short


6.         How could the meeting have been improved?

·        It could be shorter