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    Florida Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: In Title XXXIII Chapter 558, the Florida Legislature establishes a requirement that homeowners who allege construction defects must first notify the construction professional responsible for the defect and allow them an opportunity to repair the defect before the homeowner canbring suit against the construction professional. The statute, which allows homeowners and associations to file claims against certain types of contractors and others, defines the type of defects that fall under the authority of the legislation and the types of housing covered in thelegislation. Florida sets strict procedures that homeowners must follow in notifying construction professionals of alleged defects. The law also establishes strict timeframes for builders to respond to homeowner claims. Once a builder has inspected the unit, the law allows the builder to offer to repair or settle by paying the owner a sum to cover the cost of repairing the defect. The homeowner has the option of accepting the offer or rejecting the offer and filing suit. Under the statute the courts must abate any homeowner legal action until the homeowner has undertaken the claims process. The law also requires contractors, subcontractors and other covered under the law to notify homeowners of the right to cure process.


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    Commercial and Residential Contractors License Required.


    Construction Expert Witness Contractors Building Industry
    Association Directory
    Forgotten Coast Builders Assoc
    Local # 1015
    PO Box 1005
    Port Saint Joe, FL 32457

    High Springs Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Builders Association of North Central FL
    Local # 1020
    2217 NW 66th Ct
    Gainesville, FL 32653

    High Springs Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Flagler Co-Palm Coast Home Builders Association
    Local # 1011
    4863 Palm Coast Parkway NW Ste 1
    Palm Coast, FL 32137

    High Springs Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Panama City (Fla)
    Local # 1042
    PO Box 979
    Panama City, FL 32402
    High Springs Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Northeast Florida Builders Association
    Local # 1024
    103 Century 21 Dr Ste 100
    Jacksonville, FL 32216

    High Springs Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Columbia County Builders Association
    Local # 1007
    PO Box 7353
    Lake City, FL 32055

    High Springs Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Florida Home Builders Association (State)
    Local # 1000
    PO Box 1259
    Tallahassee, FL 32302

    High Springs Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10


    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For High Springs Florida


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    HIGH SPRINGS FLORIDA CONSTRUCTION EXPERT WITNESS
    DIRECTORY AND CAPABILITIES

    The High Springs, Florida Construction Expert Witness Group is comprised from a number of credentialed construction professionals possessing extensive trial support experience relevant to construction defect and claims matters. Leveraging from more than 25 years experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to the nation's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, Fortune 500 builders, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, and a variety of state and local government agencies.

    Construction Expert Witness News & Info
    High Springs, Florida

    Substitute Materials — What Are Your Duties? What Are Your Risks? (Law Note)

    June 27, 2022 —
    In managing a project as the design professional, you are called upon to wear many hats. One of those hats is that of material specifier and, at times, substitute material approver. What are your duties in looking at substitute materials? As always, the legal answer is “it depends”. In part, it will depend on your role on the project and what, specifically, the contract says. However, at its most basic, you can be sued for accepting an out of spec substitute material. This is so even if you believed the spec met requirements based on information that the contractor gave you. So, tread carefully in this area. Do not assume any information that the contractor presents to you– take the time to research for yourself, call the manufacturer, and otherwise ensure that the product will work. Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Melissa Dewey Brumback, Ragsdale Liggett
    Ms. Brumback may be contacted at mbrumback@rl-law.com

    Were Condos a Bad Idea?

    June 13, 2022 —
    Introduction Condominiums are a nice idea, but their execution has been less than perfect. Long before the fatal Berkeley, California balcony failure in 2015 or the 2021 Champlain Towers South collapse that killed 98 people in Surfside, Florida, we suspected that all was not right with the basic condo concept. Years ago, there were already signs this "cooperative" housing model was anything but. Whether due to owner apathy, internal disputes, or failure to fund future repairs, sustaining these projects for the long-term has been difficult, leaving their future in doubt. Can this be fixed, or is the concept inherently flawed? Every enterprise has an organizational "model" to run the business. For-profit corporations obtain revenue from the sale of products or services. The revenue of non-profit condominium corporations are the assessments paid by the owners of the individual units. While these assessments are “mandatory” in the sense they must be paid, they are also “voluntary” since the amount is left to the board of directors to determine. Condos are cheaper to buy, but the sales price may not reflect the real cost of ownership. They are "cooperative" because costs and space are shared, but internal disputes and funding shortfalls operate to shorten the life of these buildings in ways few owners understand. Internal Disputes Why is condominium life frequently not “cooperative?” Disputes. Disputes between condominium owners and their associations; among board members; and between individual owners and their neighbors. There are arguments over the right to put a flag on the balcony. There are arguments over swimming pool hours. The right to paint their front door some color other than everyone else's. The right to be free of noise, smoke, or view-blocking plants. And sometimes, the claimed right not to pay assessments needed to maintain the project—all notwithstanding the governing documents to the contrary. The right to use one's property as the owner sees fit is a concept imported from the single-family home experience but not replicated in condominiums where common ownership requires rules to avoid chaos. But a condominium association's most important concern should not be the color of someone's front door or when they can swim but sustaining the building and keeping owners safe. Maybe we care someone has painted their front door bright green, but should that concern have priority over finding rot that may cause a balcony to collapse with someone on it? Resolving conflicts and enforcing the governing documents have a reasonable success rate. Still, the effort required to do that often distracts the board from more critical issues—damage that can sink the ship. Directors can waste a lot of time re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic when, if they look closely, the iceberg is coming. Maintenance Lacks Priority Why can't we enforce the rules and do what’s necessary to sustain the building and keep occupants safe? Unfortunately, juggling both behavioral and sustainability issues has proven difficult for many volunteer boards of directors. Rule disputes are always in their face, crowding their agenda, while the damage that could lead to structural failure often remains unknown. Also, enforcing—or resisting—rules can involve a clash of egos that keep those matters front and center. Or, and I suspect this is a primary culprit, the cost of adequate inspections, maintenance, and repair is so high that boards cannot overcome owner resistance to that expense. While boards and management must sustain the project and protect people, raising the funds to do that is another matter. Directors must leap hurdles to increase regular assessments. Imposing large, unexpected, special assessments for major repairs can be political suicide. Unfortunately, few owners realize how deadly serious proper maintenance is until there is a Berkeley or a Surfside, and everyone is stunned by the loss of life and property. While those are extreme cases of faulty construction, inadequate maintenance, natural causes, or all the above, they will not be the last. We know that because experts have seen precursors to those same conditions in other projects. Our concern for sustainability arises from examining newer projects during construction defect litigation when forensic experts open walls to inspect waterproofing and structural components. It also comes from helping our clients with the re-construction of older buildings and dealing with many years or decades of neglect for which little or no reserves have been allocated. The economic impact of repairing long-term damage is huge. Rot lying hidden within walls slowly damages the structural framing. Moisture seeping into balcony supports weakens them sometimes to the point of collapse. The cost to repair this damage is frequently out of reach of most condominium associations. In newer projects, when experts find problems early, claims are possible. The Berkeley balcony failure occurred in an eight-year-old building[1], and there was recourse available from the builder. But with older projects, it is often difficult to hold anyone responsible other than the owners themselves. Is The Condo Model Flawed? Suppose this is true—and our experience representing condominium projects for over forty years tells us it is—then we are not dealing only with the inexperience of some volunteer directors but rather with a flawed organization model. Board members want to succeed but are constrained by an income stream that depends almost entirely on the will of the individual owners—essentially voluntary funding. Under most state laws, funding for condominium operations and maintenance is not mandatory[2], and relies instead on the willingness of the directors to assess owners for whatever is needed, and on the willingness of owners to accept the board’s decisions. When a board of directors can set assessments at whatever level is politically comfortable, without adequate consideration, or even knowledge, of long-term maintenance needs, systemic underfunding can result[3]. What the members want are the lowest assessments possible, and directors often accede to those demands. When these factors conspire to underfund maintenance, they will drastically shorten the service life of a building. They also make it potentially unsafe. Commercial buildings incentivize their owners for good maintenance with increased rents and market value. That incentive is not relevant to a condominium owner because the accumulating deficit is rarely understood at the time of sale and not reflected in the unit’s sales price. With a single-family home, deferred maintenance is more easily identified and is reflected in the purchase price. But condo home inspections are usually confined to the interior of a unit, and do not assess the overall condition of the entire building or project or review any deficit in the funding needed to attend to deficiencies. Thus, market value is not affected by reality. In most states that require that reserves be maintained for future maintenance and repairs, the statutes require nothing other than cursory surface inspections. Damage beneath the skin of a building is not investigated, and no reserves are recommended for what is not known. California recently enacted legislation that will require condominium associations inspect specific elevated structures for safety, including intrusive testing where indicated. But no other state requires this level of inspection, and few even require a reserve study to determine how much money to save for the obvious problems, never mind those no one knows about[4]. This situation leads to unfair consequences for those owners who find themselves unlucky enough to own a unit when the damage and deficits are finally realized. Damage discovered, say, in year 35 didn’t just happen in year 35. That deterioration likely began earlier in the building's life and lay hidden for decades. It is costly to repair when it finally becomes obvious or dangerous. No prior owner, those who owned and sold their units years ago, will pay any part of the cost of the eventual rehabilitation of that building due to past lack of adequate inspections and years of artificially low assessments. Instead, the present owners will be handed the entire tab for the shortfall from several decades of deferred maintenance or hidden damage—the last people standing when the music stops. Can this trend be reversed? As condominium buildings age and deterioration continues, the funding deficit increases dramatically. But to reverse that trend and reduce the deficit, someone must know it exists and be willing to address it. That requires more robust inspections early in the building's life and potentially higher assessments to stay even with any decay. Conclusion It would not be wrong to blame this on the failure of the basic condominium model. Volunteers rarely have sufficient training or expertise to oversee complex infrastructure maintenance, especially without mandatory funding to pay for it. The model also does not insist that board members have a talent for resolving conflicts. While condominium boards can leverage fines or legal action to enforce the rules, that lacks finesse and can create greater antagonism—a distraction from the more critical job of raising funds to inspect and maintain the building. Unit owner-managed, voluntarily funded, multi-million-dollar condominium projects were probably a bad idea from the beginning. But sadly, it is way too late to reverse course on the millions of such projects built in the past sixty years. Many are already reaching the end of their service lives, with no plan to deal with that. Robust inspection standards on new and existing projects and enforceable minimum funding for maintenance and repairs should be considered by state legislatures. But whatever the approach, the present system is not staying even with the deterioration of many buildings, and that is just not safe anymore.
    1. The collapse of the balcony in Berkeley occurred on an apartment building. But the construction of that building is similar or identical to the construction of most multi-story wood-frame condominiums.
    2. Boards of directors are empowered by statute or contract to assess members for operation and maintenance costs. However, there are few statutes that set minimum funding or otherwise require boards to exercise that authority.
    3. Even in states that require reserve studies, the physical inspections are inadequate to uncover some of the costliest damage. California’s reserve study statute—Civil Code Section 5550—only requires inspection of those components that are visible and accessible, leaving damage within walls and other structural components undiscovered and funding for the eventual repairs, unaddressed.
    4. In May 2022, in response to the Champlain Towers South collapse, Florida enacted mandatory structural inspections for buildings 30 years and older, repeating every 10 years thereafter. The law also includes mandatory reserve funding for structural components.
    Reprinted courtesy of Tyler P. Berding, Berding & Weil LLP
    Mr. Berding may be contacted at tberding@berdingweil.com

    Climate Change a Factor in 'Unprecedented' South Asia Floods

    July 18, 2022 —
    Sylhet, Bangladesh (AP) -- Scientists say climate change is a factor behind the erratic and early rains that triggered unprecedented floods in Bangladesh and northeastern India, killing dozens and making lives miserable for millions of others. Although the region is no stranger to flooding, it typically takes place later in the year when monsoon rains are well underway. This year's torrential rainfall lashed the area as early as March. It may take much longer to determine the extent to which climate change played a role in the floods, but scientists say that it has made the monsoon — a seasonable change in weather usually associated with strong rains — more variable over the past decades. This means that much of the rain expected to fall in a year is arriving in a space of weeks. Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Bloomberg

    The Heat Is On

    June 13, 2022 —
    Every year, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team up to assess global temperatures and climate trends. (Yes, that NASA. A big part of the space agency’s mission is focused on Earth science, with the goal of better understanding the planet’s interconnected systems.) The two groups released their findings for 2021 this past January, with several predictably alarming highlights:
    • 2021 was the sixth-warmest year on record, with the average global surface temperature about 1.5°F over the 20th-century baseline periods that the agencies use for comparison and nearly 2°F higher than in the late-19th century.
    • The surface temperature in the Northern Hemisphere was also the sixth-highest on record, at nearly 2°F over baseline, with the land temperature exceeding the baseline by 2.8°F.
    • Extreme climate events included an above-average Atlantic hurricane season, with 21 storms, and a severe heat wave in the northwestern United States and western Canada in June during which Canada recorded its highest temperature ever, at 121°F.
    Reprinted courtesy of Christopher Durso, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the full story...

    Industrialized Construction News 7/2022

    August 15, 2022 —
    The AEC Business newsletter’s Industrialized Construction edition in July featured the following news stories: The Pros and Cons of Offsite Construction – A French Research Study The study is titled The current use of industrialized construction techniques in France: Benefits, limits and future expectations. The authors are Emna Attouri, Zoubeir Lafhaj, Laure Ducoulombierb and Bruno Linéatte. Read more Rise of the machines? For Construction, Not Yet Matthew Thibault’s article examines the opportunities and challenges of construction robotics. Robots can improve safety and productivity, but the ROI is still unclear to many contractors. Read more Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Aarni Heiskanen, AEC Business
    Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi

    Coverage for Named Windstorm Removed by Insured, Terminating Such Coverage

    August 15, 2022 —
    Over a series of policies, the insured had no coverage for named windstorms when it was removed from the policies in return for a reduced premium. Shiloh Christian Ctr. v. Aspen Sec. Ins. Co. 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100959 (M. D. Fla. May 9, 2022). Plaintiff had coverage from Aspen from 2014 through at least 2018 under several year-long policies, each of which renewed the prior year's policy. The premium for the 2014-2015 Policy was $50,000. In May 2015, plaintiff asked what the premium would be without hurricane coverage. He was informed this would reduce the premium to $32,000. The insured asked for the change in coverage to eliminate named windstorm coverage and a return premium was issued to the insured for $16,545. The 2016-2017 policy was issued for a premium of $22,500. The policy indicated it was a renewal of the prior policy. The revised quote made clear that the policy would exclude coverage for "Named Windstorm." Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    Is the Removal and Replacement of Nonconforming Work Economically Wasteful?

    September 19, 2022 —
    There are times a contractor installs the wrong material or system contrary to the plans and specifications. A nonconformity. The owner wants the already-installed material or system to be replaced in conformity with the plans and specifications. However, what was installed is functionally equivalent to what the plans and specifications required and would be cost prohibitive, i.e., economically wasteful. If the contractor elects to remove and replace the nonconforming work, it may seek a change order because it is economically wasteful. Or, the contractor may refuse (typically, not the best approach) in furtherance of taking on the fight based on the economic wastefulness associated with the removal and replacement. A recent case, David Boland, Inc. v. U.S., 2022 WL 3440349 (Fed.Cl. 2022), talks about this exaction situation and the economic waste doctrine. This is an important doctrine for contractors to understand when faced with a similar predicament. Here, a contractor was hired by the government to construct a wastewater collection system that was to be owned and operated by a private company. The contractor’s work was going to be incorporated into a larger sewer system that the private company already operated. The contractor was required to install sewer manholes reinforced with steel in accordance with an ASTM standard. The manholes could be rejected if they did not conform to the ASTM standard. Compliance with this ASTM standard was also required by the private company’s construction protocol for the infrastructure, which was incorporated into the contractor’s contract with the government. The contractor was required to strictly comply with the contract. Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com

    Veterans Day – Thank You for Your Service

    December 05, 2022 —
    Happy Veterans Day[1] to our country’s servicemembers past and present! ACS would like to express its deepest gratitude and respect in saying thank you to those that have served, or are serving, in our armed forces. It undoubtedly takes incredible bravery, fortitude, integrity, respect, and a commitment to our country’s evolving ideals. Some of those same attributes that are necessary for service are also well-geared toward a post-military career in construction. As some already know, Veterans have unique construction contracting opportunities at both the state and federal level. The following is a high-level overview of the process and opportunities for veterans who are not aware or who are considering a career in construction. There are federal and state level opportunities for Veteran-owned businesses. The initial step in accessing federal and state level contracting opportunities is different for each but begins with certification/verification. At the federal level, effective January 1, 2023, all responsibilities for the verification of Veteran-owned small businesses (“ VSOB”) will transfer from the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Small Business Administration.[2] Verification is the process that establishes eligibility for access to Veteran-specific benefits, including certain government contracts and the purchase of surplus government property, by confirming that VSOBs and service-disabled Veteran-owned small businesses (“SDVOSB”) are operated by Veterans.[3] Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Travis Colburn, Ahlers Cressman & Sleight
    Mr. Colburn may be contacted at travis.colburn@acslawyers.com