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Identifying construction defects during turnover

In any major purchase, due diligence is critical to making sure you don't get taken advantage of. But the old saying "Let the buyer beware" carries more weight than usual when the product involved is your home or condo. And if you are one of a group of owners in a Florida condominium or homeowner association, necessary due diligence steps can get lost in the shuffle unless extra care is taken, resulting in costly repairs down the road.

In an earlier post, we sought to stress the importance of the inspection as an element of the transfer milestone. The inspection serves to uncover any defects in the construction. Florida state law requires developers of new communities to deliver a comprehensive report from a qualified inspector. With the help of trusted professionals, it's essential to review that report thoroughly, ensuring that it addresses all it is supposed to.

Ensuring that major issues don't get overlooked

The first professional an association should hire is an attorney -- one who knows Florida construction law and is familiar with the industry. The right attorney can provide recommendations on how to select an inspector.

While it may be convenient to just trust in the inspector hired by the developer, it's wise to enlist an independent inspector to review the report and conduct further investigation as needed. The inspector should have experience with the type of property at issue, whether a single-family home development or condominium. In addition to analyzing the report and pinpointing any construction defects, that person can also review common elements and recommend maintenance measures. This step can go a long way toward identifying and resolving potential defects.

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