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Florida Construction Law Blog

Airport construction booming in Broward County

With the economy humming along at a good pace, there's a construction boom going on in South Florida. A prime example of that is the proposed expansion of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

At present, there are approximately $3.2 billion of ongoing improvements and developments planned for the airport. It's expected that the airport and the areas surrounding it will be an active construction zone for the next two decades. Proposed projects include the development near U.S. 1 of an intermodal center with an above-ground people mover that winds around the terminals and connects passengers to other modes of transportation, potentially including Brightline.

How do construction disputes typically arise?

Broward County contractors often go the extra mile to smooth over disputes with their clients and avoid the hassle and expense of litigation. But there are times when it's important to take a stance on these matters and fight back.

Below are some of the common scenarios from which construction litigation arises.

Don't fall into the kickback trap

If you're a contractor, chances are good that you've seen your share of grifters in the industry. They may glad-hand you when they see you on the job site, but behind the scenes, they're backstabbing you by rigging the bids and padding the bills by taking or accepting kickbacks.

It's a contractor's nightmare to get caught up in these type of illegal shenanigans. Not only could you potentially expose yourself to federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) violations, your good name — and that of your company — could be sullied as well.

Address construction disputes legally and right away

There are few owners of construction companies who will escape their careers unscathed by some type of legal issue. From labor disputes with workers to breaches of contracts with suppliers or dissatisfied customers, the industry is fraught with ways to run afoul of Florida's civil laws.

Then, too, are the different jurisdictions to consider. From abiding by local building codes to following state employment laws to ensuring compliance with federal safety mandates, a construction company owner has to stay abreast of all changes and modifications to the laws.

Lawsuits filed after Miami-Dade bridge collapse

In the latest development of the Miami-Dade bridge collapse, the attorney for the parents of one student who attended Florida International University (FIU) filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Named defendants include multiple companies that worked on the manufacture and installation of the failed span.

Another lawsuit was also recently filed in this case. One passenger in the deceased student's crushed vehicle who survived has also filed a petition for damages. Named defendants include Munilla Construction Management and FIGG Bridge Engineers.

Accused of construction defects? It can get costly

It's important that construction company owners and builders understand that to the homeowner, they are the literal last line of defense against a defective end product. As such, they may face legal liabilities if a defect is discovered at some future point.

In order to be able to build a credible defense against any allegations of shoddy worksmanship, it helps to understand all of the factors that can cause a defect.

Pedestrian bridge collapse causes probed

Even before the dust had settled on the wreckage of the collapsed Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge, fingers were being pointed at those who allegedly may have some responsibility in the disaster that has thus far killed six people.

The newly-installed span was erected over the eight traffic lanes below on Saturday, March 10. Weighing 950 tons, the structure cost over $19 million to build and was still under construction at the time of the collapse.

Are you liable for all construction defects?

It's a contractor's nightmare — being sued for construction defects on a project your company completed. But are you the liable party?

Most claims of construction defects involve allegations of negligence, strict liability or breach of warranty or contract.

Construction agreements involve good faith and fair deals

When dealing with construction contracts, it's vital to get the language correct to avoid unnecessary and costly litigation.

Contracts provide protection and shouldn't be used as swords, but as shields. When one party overzealously or aggressively uses contracts to gain unfair advantage over another party, it's a violation of both fair dealing and good faith. Those two concepts form the bedrock of all contract negotiations and assure that all parties' interests are fairly represented.

Can you avoid a costly construction lawsuit?

If you are a Broward County contractor, you may have faced lawsuits related to construction disputes. While some litigation may be unavoidable in this industry, many mistakes can be prevented or corrected before the paper chase begins.

Familiarizing yourself with common causes of construction lawsuits and suggestions for how to avoid them could help your business in the future.

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