A Business-First Approach To The Practice Of Law

Finding Creative Resolutions To Construction Defect Disputes

The term “construction defect” encompasses various types of flaws arising both prior to and during the construction process. This includes flaws such as:

  • Design flaws – Flaws in the architectural design of a building can lead to structural and other issues that present risks for water intrusion, instability, injuries and other liabilities.
  • Engineering flaws – Engineering flaws can likewise result in the construction of unsafe structures, and these flaws may not be apparent until something goes wrong.
  • Subsurface and foundation flaws – Flaws in subsurface preparation and the pouring of foundations can lead to major issues that are extremely expensive to rectify.
  • Construction defects – Errors during construction can make even well-designed and well-engineered buildings unsuited for use or unsafe for occupancy.
  • Product defects – Likewise, the use of defective materials during construction can render properly designed, engineered and constructed buildings unfit for use.

These issues can impact virtually all aspects of a construction project, and they can do so at all phases of the construction process. Our practice encompasses the representation of plaintiffs and defendants in disputes involving:

  • Expansive soils, poor drainage and other foundation issues
  • Electrical, plumbing and mechanical flaws
  • Water intrusion
  • Inadequate insulation and moisture protection
  • Door and window flaws
  • Roof flaws
  • Issues with stucco, masonry and other exterior finishes
  • Issues with interior finishes
  • Issues with garages, balconies, decks and patios
  • Building code violations, safety risks and other issues

We represent clients in negotiations, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and litigation involving commercial and industrial properties, entertainment venues, public works, apartment buildings, condominiums and single-family residences. Our attorneys are skilled at handling all aspects of construction litigation, and we work diligently to resolve our clients’ disputes as efficiently as possible. If you believe you may have a construction defect claim, or if your company is facing liability in relation to an alleged construction flaw, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your case in confidence.

Experienced Counsel For Construction-Related Litigation And ADR

In addition to handling the transactional aspects of construction projects, our attorneys also represent clients in litigation and ADR proceedings involving contract disputes, construction defects and other matters. With our attorneys’ experience in business, commercial, real estate and insurance law, we are able to offer insightful guidance and strategic advice for efficiently resolving disputes while addressing potential implications beyond the immediate dispute itself. Our construction litigation and ADR practice consists of representing clients on both sides of disputes involving:

  • Bond and lien issues
  • Breaches of representations and warranties
  • Construction defects
  • Contract interpretation, enforcement and termination
  • Indemnification
  • Insurance coverage
  • Nonpayment
  • Ownership and control disputes
  • Performance deficiencies
  • Premises liability and personal injury claims
  • Property tax assessments
  • Purchase and lease transactions
  • Zoning and land use

While some disputes will require full-blown litigation or the completion of mandatory ADR, oftentimes, it will be in both parties’ best interests to negotiate an amicable resolution. While this is true with regard to business disputes generally, it is particularly relevant in the context of large-scale construction projects – where it is often in everyone’s best interests to see the project through. In addition to having extensive courtroom experience, our attorneys are also skilled negotiators; and, when appropriate, we utilize our in-depth knowledge of the relevant legal issues and practical considerations to put forth viable offers in compromise that are designed to avoid the burdens and consequences of litigation.

Recent Changes In Florida Law On Construction Defect Claims

On April 13, 2023, Florida’s governor signed new legal provisions that go into effect on July 1, 2024 that impacts property owners’ rights to file construction defect claims. These changes, outlined in Senate Bill 360, primarily alter the timelines within which property owners must report construction defects. These statutory changes are designed to streamline the legal process and better define the timelines for initiating construction defect claims.

Previously, Florida law provided a four-year statute of limitations for construction claims, alongside a 10-year statute of repose for latent defects. Under the new legislation, your time to file a claim is reduced to seven years, underscoring the need for property owners to address any construction defects as soon as possible.

The amendments also redefine when the statute of limitations begins. Previously, the clock started ticking upon property possession by the owner or at the completion of the contract. The updated statute sets the start of the statute of limitations period at the following events:

  • Issuance of a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy
  • Completion of the construction
  • Abandonment of construction, irrespective of completion

The new statute also sets distinct time limits for individual apartments or condominiums. For properties initially used as model homes, the limitations period begins when the deed is transferred to a new owner.

These modifications ensure that time limits are applied accurately to each unit, aiming to eliminate potential confusion or disputes. Given the shortened time frames and the revised starting points for claims, it is crucial for property owners to remain vigilant and address any construction issues in a timely manner to preserve their right to legal recourse.

If you notice a construction defect in your home in Florida, you need to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to get started on your claim. While seven years may seem like a long time, it takes significant time to build a strong case on your behalf. The earlier you get started, the better chance you have at obtaining the compensation you deserve for your construction defect.

Contact A Firm Who Knows Construction Law

At Saavedra-Goodwin, we put our more than three decades of experience to work for you. We know the ins and outs of insurance law and will be there for you every step of the way. Call us at (954) 928-9568, or fill out our online contact form.