If you have been notified of a construction defect either by the purchaser, or more likely, by the courts, it is important to know your rights. Most construction defect lawsuits are based on the contract that was in place by the owner of the home or other structure and the developer. Contractors and subcontractors (including architects, engineers, suppliers, and others) can also be named in the suits. While it is unfortunate that defects can occur in construction projects, that doesn’t always mean the developer is at fault. Protecting your rights throughout this process is critical for the success of your business.
What Exactly Is a Construction Defect?
A construction defect is any type of condition in your home or other structure that will reduce the value from where it would otherwise be. Some of these defects occur with the normal aging of the building, and others can be the result of something that happened when it was originally built or when an expansion or other project was completed. If the defect can be traced back to work done on behalf of developers, the owner may be able to file a lawsuit.
What are Common Types of Construction Defects?
Some of the most common types of construction defects that result in lawsuits include water issues related to defective piping (this could include mold issues), electrical problems, problems with drainage on the property, foundational issues, structural failure, and more. In many cases, multiple different defects will be discovered and included in the legal action.
Opportunity to Cure Defects
One of your most important rights, which is found under Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes, says that developers have the right to inspect the defect and take steps to cure them before any legal action can be taken. In many cases, fixing the problem will be far less costly and time consuming than going through with the lawsuit.
Obtain Discoverable Material
You have the right to perform testing and other actions on the defect to determine fault. It may be possible, for example, for you to show that while the defect exists, the problem was with a particular piece of material and there was no way you would have been able to know. This may then make it so the supplier of that material would be responsible, not your firm.
Statute of Limitations
No structure lasts forever, and the State of Florida recognizes this in their laws. In most cases, the owner of the structure must bring a cause for action related to a construction defect within four years of either the date of actual possession, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction, or the date of completion/termination of the contract.
Get the Legal Help You Need
The potential for a lawsuit due to a construction defect can be quite frightening, but you do have important rights. Contact Florida Construction Law Group to set up a consultation and go over your options to get through this event.