The term “construction defect” has many practical meanings to owners of Florida real estate. Perhaps the roof leaked, or the windows were not weather proofed. Or maybe the air-conditioner did not function properly. Some defects may not reveal themselves for many years after construction is completed. Florida statutes provides an extensive definition of “construction defect,” and this definition governs all lawsuits regarding the design and construction of buildings and other improvements to real property.
The statute provides that a construction defect is 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. . . .” While this definition is very broad, the statute also provides that the defect in question must result from any one of the enumerated causes. These causes include:
- A defect in the material, products or components used in the construction.
- A violation of the building codes that apply to the construction in question
- A failure of the design of the structure resulting in the violation of an applicable building code
- The failure to follow applicable professional standards of care
- The failure to follow “accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction” in any construction or remodeling project
The statute that contains these definitions also specifies a number of procedural steps that must be followed by the property owner or other person claiming the existence of a construction defect, including prompt notice to the party alleged to be liable for the defect.
Commencing and litigating a claim for damages based upon the alleged existence of a construction defect is a complex process. The assistance of an experienced construction attorney is a virtual necessity to maximize the chances of success.