The firm represents major construction interests in the cost-effective investigation, defense, and disposition of commercial and residential building construction-related risks and civil claims. We routinely handle issues involving personal injury, property damage, project delay, contractual indemnity, defects, engineering aspects, and OSHA penalty proceedings, both directly and through their insurers.
Additionally, our attorneys represent litigants in surety disputes that often arise during both public and private construction projects. Building a successful project requires cooperation and teamwork among architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and many others. We also understand the industry from finance, development, and design through implementation, construction, and close-out.
Florida Construction Defect Statute
In response to the number of defective construction disputes in Florida, the state legislature created an alternative dispute resolution process designed to protect the rights of property owners while reducing the need for litigation, known as the Florida Construction Defect Statute (FCDS). Under this statute, a property owner or a condo/homeowner’s association is required to send a written notice of claim, known as a “558 Notice of Claim Letter,” to developers, contractors, and/or design professionals to try and resolve alleged construction defects before resorting to the formal legal process.
What is a Construction Defect?
In Section 558.002(5) of the statute, a “construction defect” is defined as “a deficiency [in other words, a flaw or defect] in, or a deficiency arising out of, the design, specifications, surveying, planning, supervision, observation of construction, or construction, repair, alteration, or remodeling of real property resulting from:
- Defective material, products, or components used in the construction or remodeling;
- A violation of the applicable codes in effect at the time of construction or remodeling which gives rise to a cause of action pursuant to s. 553.84 [regarding building code violations];
- A failure of the design of real property to meet the applicable professional standards of care at the time of governmental approval; or
- A failure to construct or remodel real property in accordance with accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction at the time of construction.”
What is a 558 Claim?
The FCDS statute applies to any claim for construction defects arising from improvements made after October 1, 2009, unless the parties have agreed in writing to opt-out of the requirements, so long as there has been substantial completion of the building or improvements. The statute applies to all residential and commercial projects. The FCDS is not applicable to public transportation projects or to emergency repairs performed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the claimant or others.
What Happens After I Serve My 558 Claim?
The party receiving the 558 Notice of Claim Letter must provide the claimant with a written response within 45 days from the date of service of the Notice of Claim. This response must include at least one, or some combination, of the following:
- A written offer to “cure,” or repair, all or some portion of the alleged construction defects,
- A written offer to settle the claim through monetary compensation or a combination of repairs and monetary compensation,
- A written statement disputing the claims, or
- A written statement that a monetary settlement offer, including any insurance proceeds, will be determined by the respondent’s insurer within 30 days after notification.
Contact A Florida Construction Defect Attorney for Help With Your Claim
Whether the claim involves an injury, property damage, a project delay because of a construction defect, contact White & Russell, P.A.