Construction defects can arise at any time, sometimes years after the project’s completion. Defects are either patent or latent, and can involve issues with the project’s design, materials and supplies, or services rendered. While both types of defects can be very damaging, the law treats them differently.
Contractors continue to see an increase in the number of 558 notices they’re receiving. These are those demands made under Chapter 558 of Florida Statutes setting forth pre-suit procedures on construction defect cases. Even though the law has been in place for some time, there are few decisions available explaining how the statute really works, especially if someone doesn’t strictly comply.
About a year ago, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) when into effect. The RRP is a Federal regulatory program affecting contractors and others that provide remodeling, repair, and related work, that “disturbs” painted surfaces in residential homes, apartments, and schools and day-care type facilities, among others, constructed prior to 1978.
Far too often, feelings of elation and the excitement of purchasing a new condominium can sour when the buyer becomes aware of one or more construction defects. A dream unit can become a nightmare once flaws, both patent and latent, are encountered after the developer has turned over the project and left the site. Who is accountable for the necessary repairs?
In today’s post-boom construction environment, claims by project owners of construction defects, wrongful or otherwise, are all too common. Because the potential for damages and litigation expense associated with such claims can be substantial, a contractor would do well to have a working knowledge of his rights and responsibilities under a commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance policy, especially the carrier’s “duty to defend”.