Contractor disputes are not uncommon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They happen more often than most people know due to the defects resulting from poor construction work. A property owner who alleges breach of contract can sue the construction company to recover damages.

A Fort Lauderdale contractor claim dispute attorney at VG Law can help with this and more. Call to schedule your Free consultation.

What Are the Common Types of Construction Defects in Fort Lauderdale? 

In South Florida, there is a wide variety of faulty construction work. But first, what is a defective construction?

A construction defect is any flaw in the design, workmanship, or materials of a structure, resulting in the failure of one or more structural components. Construction defects are provided for by Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes. 

In the event of obvious construction defects, the law requires the claimant or property owner to serve the constructor a written notice of claim. The claimant can also serve the sub-contractor, supplier, or design professionals. The notice must state the details of the defect and the loss resulting from it. 

The defect can occur within weeks, months, or even years from the completion of the project. You will need a lawyer with extensive experience in construction defects to write the claims letter.  Below, we outline the possible construction defects. 

Foundation Defects

This is a common issue among commercial property owners. It results from poor soil, soil shrinkage, erosion, and soil shifting. The most common types of foundation errors are sinking foundations, shifting foundations, foundation settlements, and cracks. If not fixed, they lead to more severe problems like structural instability, uneven floors, and leaning walls. 

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Roof Defects

The heavy rainfall in South Florida and other parts of the state impacts construction projects, majorly roofs. If water damages a rooftop, it can compromise the structural integrity of the building. Some of the most common roof defects cover improperly installed roofs, missing anti-ponding metal at eaves, and exposed roof tiles. Others are broken or chipped roof tiles and gutters that are not drainable. 

Hot and Cold Spots

Hot and cold spots result from a design defect or in the physical structure of the house. It involves wrong door or window placement, quality of insulation, and installation of the ductwork. Faults in the ductwork, whether it is inadequate sizing or poor design, will reflect in air circulation, leading to hot or cold spots. Thus, it is crucial to ensure properly circulated airflow, especially in a place like South Florida. 

What Are the Types of Construction Defect Claims in Fort Lauderdale?

A construction defect litigation arises when there's a breach of the provisions of the construction contracts. A construction dispute will also arise when there's architect malpractice, alleged construction defects, and failure to comply with principles governing the construction industry. As long as there's evidence of a breach and negligence, you can hire experienced construction attorneys to file your claim.

Some of the common construction defect claims are:

There are several phases of construction, and things can go wrong at any time. This is why you need a construction litigation team with a Florida Bar Board-Certified Construction Specialist to review your claim. Whether it's condo insurance claim disputes or other contract disputes not listed here, the lawyers at VG Law can help. 

What Are the Steps Involved in a Construction Dispute Claim Process? 

Anyone who is a construction professional or has been in the construction business for a while has had their share of disputes. The grievances are usually from property owners and addressed by a court or arbitrary body. In either case, it is prudent for construction managers and property owners to seek their construction legal representative's guidance.

Construction law attorneys understand the steps involved in the negotiation of construction claims or litigation. The first thing a construction litigation attorney would do is serve a written notice of claim to the erring party. The notice must come within 60 days before the filing of a lawsuit in a district court. 

The notice won't come into play if the parties decide to go for alternative dispute resolution. For claims brought by the association of private construction projects like apartment complexes, they have 120 days to send the notice. Note that the association must represent more than 20 parcels. 

The pre-trial notice must describe the alleged construction defect. Within 45 days of receiving the notice, the named defendant must do one of the following: 

  • Offer remedy to the defect at no cost to the owner, with a detailed description of the repairs and expected completion date. 
  • Offer to settle the claim by payment of money.
  • Offer to settle the claim using repairs and a monetary sum.
  • Issue a reply disputing the claim and offering no remedy of the alleged defect.
  • Make a statement that the contractor's insurance company will make any monetary compensation.

The property owner has 45 days to accept or reject the settlement offer made by the construction company.  Always have a construction litigation team look at the provisions of the settlement offer before accepting it. 

When Should You File a Fort Lauderdale Contractor Claim Dispute? 

Every state in the U.S. has time requirements for when contractors can be held liable for defects. Under the Florida Statutes of Limitations for defect claims, the claimant has four years from the date they discovered the defect. For latent errors (defects not visible to the eyes), it is ten years since the construction project ended.

An insurance claim or litigation for defects must be brought within the time frames unless they will be statute-barred. This is why you must work with our attorneys who have experience dealing with construction matters. They are also experts in construction defect lawsuits. 

If there is no construction defect but unpaid contractors dispute, the law has a different provision. Firstly, the contractor must obtain a Florida mechanics lien. In many cases, filing the lien is enough to get the contractor paid.

But when it doesn't happen, the construction company must file a construction lien claim within one year from the date the lien was recorded. Payment disputes go unresolved when contractors fail to file within that time frame. Also, keep in mind that in Florida, a property owner can take action to reduce lien enforcement from one year to 60 or 20 days. 

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Do You Need a Construction Lawyer for a Contractor Claim Dispute?

As one of the Florida Super Lawyers recognition award recipients, we have a team of experienced contractor claims disputes attorneys.. Our lawyers understand the construction process and industry and will give you the best legal representation. 

We believe in collaborating with our clients to achieve their goals and are committed to being accessible to you. At VG Law, we use a modern aggressive approach in creating effective relationships and getting the best settlements for our clients. 

We are ready to go as far as the appellate courts, including the supreme court, to get our clients justice. What's more? You can speak to us about your case without paying a fee. Call us today to schedule a free consultation. 

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