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4 pitfalls associations should avoid when facing construction defects

Construction defects are costly problems for associations. Condos, townhomes and single-family developments are prone to defects from both the original construction and later renovations. When defects affect common elements, they become the responsibility - and the headache - of the association.

Getting compensation for these defects can be a lengthy and difficult process. You can make the road ahead smoother by watching out for these common pitfalls:

1. Failing to hire a qualified, independent inspector at turnover

Turnover is a critical timeframe for identifying construction defects. Unless those defects are obvious to the untrained eye, however, they won't come to light absent a thorough inspection.

Associations should first enlist an attorney who focuses on representing associations at this juncture. That attorney can connect you with a reputable inspector.

2. Neglecting to give proper notice

After uncovering construction defects, you can't run straight to court. Florida law (Chapter 558) requires that you first provide notice to the responsible parties - which may include the developer, contractor, subcontractors, architect, engineer or suppliers. This notice gives them the opportunity to respond and potentially resolve claims outside of court.

Failing to complete this step can cost you important rights (and result in unnecessary delays).

3. Failing to enlist the right experts

Most construction defect cases involve highly technical issues. Thus you need an expert who understands the specific issues in your case - and you need that expert to present a compelling opinion in court. The outcome may depend on the strength of this testimony.

Get guidance to avoid additional pitfalls

These are just a few of the many pitfalls that confront associations at every turn. If your association is dealing with construction defects, get legal help sooner rather than later.

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