Florida construction defect statute F.S. 558.001 and the balance of Chapter 558, relating to it’s procedure and enforcement. With construction defect claims homeowners are required to provide written notice and an opportunity to cure the alleged defects prior to filing a lawsuit.
Topic is on Florida construction defect statute F.S. 558.001 and the balance of Chapter 558, relating to it’s procedure and enforcement. With construction defect claims homeowners are required to provide written notice and an opportunity to cure the alleged defects prior to filing a lawsuit.
Provide a summary of the obligations, responsibilities and time limitations imposed on those parties required to serve notice of the defect and those parties receiving notice of the defect.
Discuss positive/ negative aspects concerning Mutual Exchange of Evidence, Right to Inspect the Property, Destructive Testing, the Contractor’s Failure to Take Any Action, the Contractor’s Failure to Honor an Agreement to Make Repairs, and the time limits to complete promised repairs.
Provide conclusion regarding effectiveness of this statue and it’s benefits to the industry and homeowners
When a builder chooses to cut corners; when a developer promises one thing and delivers another; when a contractor hires unskilled labor and fails to provide proper supervision, owners suffer consequences. How are these types of issues mitigated and what measures can either party take to avoid costly mistakes and potentially avoid litigation?
In this post, we focus on the Florida Construction Defect Statute 558 and review some quality control measures that can proactively help during construction to preserve the integrity of the building and its performance, as well as avoid certain loss. While we use Florida’s statute as context, a considerable amount of this insight can be applied to construction projects nationwide.
Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes broadly governs “construction disputes.” The Statute generally requires that owners (i.e., associations) provide a pre-suit notice to developers, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and/or design professionals before the commencement of legal action against any of the parties in connection with an alleged construction defect. The notice must describe in “reasonable detail” the defect(s) so that the party in receipt of the notice may reasonably ascertain the location/scope of the defects. The notice must also list the damage or loss resulting from the defect(s), if known.
The statute for Construction Defect Claims in Florida, in Chapter 558, applies to claims stemming from an assumed construction defect. Section 558.002(5), F.S., defines a “construction defect” as follows:
“[A] deficiency 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:
The preceding definition is broad and is likely to encompass most construction defect claims in Florida that stem from construction improvements or repairs to real property.
“Construction disputes” that fall within statute Ch. 558 have the following Notice of Claim requirements and deadlines:
When an owner believes it has encountered a construction defect, it initiates the Chapter 558 process by serving a letter (notice of claim in legal terms) upon the contractor. This notice will normally describe and locate each defect and any damage or loss associated with it.
Once the notice has been served, the parties have 60 days (unless the dispute involves a large condominium complex more than 20 parcels which has supplemental timeframes) to resolve the dispute. During this timeframe, a contractor has 30 days to inspect the defects and 10 days to serve copies of the notice upon all subcontractors that it believes to be responsible for the defects.
The contractor also has 45 days to serve a written response upon the owner that either denies the allegations or offers to remedy the defects through repair and/or payment. If the parties fail to reach an agreement on how to remedy the defects before the 60-day period expires, the owner may file a lawsuit.
During this process the contractor’s response may include:
The association has 45 days to respond to the contractor’s offer if the contractor submits an offer as outlined in the preceding paragraph. The association need not accept the contractor’s offer.
This foregoing timeline does not account for “downstream” subcontractors and suppliers. Section 558.004(3), F.S., permits a contractor who is in receipt of a 558 notice to “forward a copy of the notice of claim (within 10 days) to each contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional whom it reasonably believes is responsible for each defect specified in the notice of claim and shall note the specific defect for which it believes the particular contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional is responsible.”