Building an aluminum pergola, building code things to know

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Florida is known for its beautiful weather and outdoor living spaces. One popular addition to these spaces is an aluminum pergola. If you’re considering adding an aluminum pergola to your Florida home, it’s important to understand the building codes and regulations that apply.

Florida has a unique climate, with high temperatures and frequent rainfall, which means that the state has strict building codes to ensure that structures can withstand the weather. Here’s what you need to know about Florida builder codes for aluminum pergolas.

Permit Requirements

In Florida, a building permit is required for any new construction, including aluminum pergolas. This applies to both residential and commercial properties. The permit process includes submitting plans and specifications to your local building department, which will review the plans and ensure that they meet the Florida Building Code.

Florida Building Code

The Florida Building Code (FBC) is the set of regulations that governs all construction in the state. The FBC is based on the International Building Code (IBC) but includes additional requirements specific to Florida’s climate and geography.

Aluminum pergolas are classified as “accessory structures” under the FBC, which means that they are not considered part of the main building and have their own set of requirements.

Wind Load Requirements

One of the most important considerations for aluminum pergolas in Florida is wind load. The state is prone to hurricanes and high winds, so structures must be able to withstand strong gusts.

The FBC specifies wind load requirements for all structures, including aluminum pergolas. These requirements are based on the location of the structure, with higher wind loads required in coastal areas and other high-risk zones.

Aluminum pergolas must be able to withstand a minimum wind load of 90 miles per hour (mph) in most parts of Florida, but this can vary depending on the location. In high-risk zones, such as coastal areas, the wind load requirement can be as high as 170 mph.

Roofing Requirements

Aluminum pergolas can be installed with or without roofing, but if you choose to add a roof, there are specific requirements that must be met. The FBC requires that all roofing materials be approved by the Florida Building Commission (FBC) and tested for wind resistance.

The roof of an aluminum pergola must be able to withstand the same wind load as the structure itself. If the roof is attached to the main building, it must also meet the wind load requirements for that building.

Electrical Requirements

If you plan to install electrical wiring or fixtures in your aluminum pergola, you must follow the electrical requirements set forth by the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Florida Building Code.

This includes obtaining the necessary permits, using appropriate wiring and fixtures, and having the work inspected by a qualified electrical inspector.


Aluminum pergolas are a great addition to any Florida home, providing shade and a stylish outdoor living space. However, it’s important to understand the building codes and regulations that apply to these structures to ensure that they are safe and comply with Florida’s strict requirements.

By following the permit process, adhering to the Florida Building Code, and working with qualified professionals, you can create a beautiful and functional aluminum pergola that will withstand Florida’s weather for years to come.