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What are the key steps after discovering a construction defect?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Construction Law

In Florida, construction defects can be a worrisome problem for property owners and contractors. These issues can be complicated and there might be a disagreement as to how to address it or whether there is a defect at all. Both sides need to understand the law for alleging there is a defect, what information must be provided and what options are available before the next steps are taken.

There are time constraints for notification about construction defects

Once the construction defect is found, the amount of time to serve a written notice of claim for the contractor, designer or anyone else allegedly responsible depends on the type of property it is.

There will be 60 days for an individual property or 120 days if it is an association of, for example, a condominium of more than 20 parcels. The alleged defect or defects must be described in detail and must include the damages from it. It must say where the defect is so it can be easily found for inspection.

The property owner must allow the contractor the opportunity to check the alleged defect themselves. This will be done during working hours with the goal of limiting disruption as much as possible. They will assess the damage, either repair or replace it or they could say there is no defect that they can see.

It is possible that destructive testing will need to be done. This might sound unusual, but it is imperative to the process to see exactly where the failure is. Although the term is ominous, destructive testing cannot be so extensive that it renders the property uninhabitable.

If there is a defect, the contractor or other individual who is responsible for the problem can give a written response with an offer to remedy it through repair or replacement. They will give a timetable for when it will be completed. It can also be settled financially where the contractor. It cannot lead to the property owner’s insurer being obligated to pay.

Construction defects can be negotiated or might need to be litigated

In a best-case scenario, the sides will agree to repair the defect or there will be a financial payment to cover the damage. Still, there could be a dispute as to whether there is a defect or not. Then it might need to be legal action to be settled under construction law.

In these cases, people want their property to be repaired and contractors want satisfied customers. To be protected, it is useful to have professional assistance and to understand the process for addressing alleged construction defects.