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Legal Blog

Florida legislature extends deadline for certain construction defect claims

Construction defect claims, like virtually all legal claims, have deadlines. You can't wait 30 years to bring a defect claim against a builder who may no longer be in business.

Under Florida law, a defect claim based on problems with the design, planning or construction of a new building or improvement must generally be brought within four years. This time period starts at the latest date when:

Construction defects can put your business on hold

If you own a business that involves a physical building -- whether a storefront, warehouse or office -- you might at some point need construction work done. Perhaps the interior needs a facelift requiring extensive remodeling. Maybe a water leak demands thorough repairs. Or perhaps you're constructing a completely new building from the ground up as part of a new business venture or expansion.

Whatever the case may be, construction defects can slow your business to a halt, costing you time and money.

Tips for Successful Repair Projects

Note: Due to space limitations, this article will not cover key provisions appropriate in a repair contract (lien waivers, prevailing party attorney's fees, venue for disputes, delay damages, insurance requirements, etc.).

Get the Right Experts

For every building problem, there is an associated expert appropriate to investigate the issue and specify the appropriate repairs. Some engineering firms have experts on staff who cover most issues regularly confronted. However, there are specialty experts who can be called in to supplement review by a generalist.

Why Florida associations should beware of sinkholes

Imagine pulling into the driveway of your property only to find half your house has become slanted. Living in Florida means dealing with the possibility of sinkholes.

Florida's wet climate is very conducive to developing sinkholes, which happen when groundwater erodes large chunks of the bedrock. Solid ground suddenly becomes not so solid.

Condominium conversions often come with construction problems

New construction is booming across Florida. But not all condominium communities are built from the ground up. Faced with limited land availability and sky-high demolition costs, some developers turn to existing structures - often apartment complexes - and convert them into condominiums.

What can go wrong

Independent reviewers find that design defects contributed to Miami bridge collapse

Back in March, the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University claimed the lives of six people. The bridge was under construction at the time. We discussed how design defects likely contributed to the catastrophic failure.

As it turns out, that was indeed the case - at least according to several independent engineers who reviewed the collapse at the behest of the Miami Herald.

The Serious Perils of an Association's Avoidance of its Maintenance and Repair Duties

FLORIDA DECISION ALERT: Coconut Key Homeowner's Assoc. v. Gonzalez, 4th DCA, May 9, 2018

The 4th District Court of Appeals recently issued its ruling in Coconut Key Homeowner's Assoc. v. Gonzalez, and all community association boards and managers would do well to take note of what can happen when a condominium association or HOA fails to maintain and repair common elements.

What happened to the "Golden Era" of defect-free construction?

New construction has definite advantages. Building a home (or condominium complex) from scratch, you can incorporate fresh design ideas, greater energy efficiency, built-in "smart" technologies and countless other amenities. You have access to far more options in choosing materials than you would have decades ago. And you don't have to worry about the unknowns of maintenance and repairs that come with existing construction.

However, new construction has problems, too. Defects and deficiencies are widespread in the residential construction industry. Despite advances in technology, materials, safety codes and durability, many in the industry have observed that the quality of workmanship has deteriorated over the decades. Put simply, they don't build like they used to.

Why has construction quality declined?

Florida lawsuit: Construction defects were hidden, misrepresented

As regular readers of our blog know, disputes over construction defects typically involve one or more of several common problems, including negligent construction, defective materials and flaws in civil and structural engineering. Construction defects can also involve improper soil analysis and preparation, as well as improper site selection.

A South Florida real estate industry publication recently reported that the owner of an apartment complex in Celebration has filed a lawsuit against the developer and contractor, alleging that construction defects are driving tenants out.

Ensuring safe construction for playgrounds in home and condo communities

In Florida, it is not only the summertime during which the living is easy. One of the state's main allures is that outdoor activity is year-round. However, summer does happen to be the time when children are out of school. It's not uncommon for homeowner and condominium owners' associations to address this reality by providing playgrounds in a common area.

Playgrounds are fun by intent, but they are not child's play. Swings, climbing walls, curvy slides, merry-go-rounds and jungle gyms pose risks by their nature. Any negligence in design, construction or equipment layout can create conditions that raise additional safety concerns. And there can always be legitimate concern about the quality of the equipment and how it's assembled.

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