Florida Construction Industry Law Blog



Do You Need Expert Testimony Regarding Interpretation of the Florida Building Code?

Is trial looming close and are you thinking to yourself who is going to make the best expert for interpretation of the Florida Building Code on that construction defect case? Guess what? You don’t need an expert. In fact, it would be improper for the court to allow this type of testimony other than in very limited circumstances for very limited purposes.Construction litigation frequently requires fact finders, whether judges, juries or arbitrators, to determine whether there has been a violation of the Florida Building Code as an ultimate issue in causes of action for statutory violations of the Code, negligence of contractors and professional negligence of design professionals. This might leave some practitioners scratching their head pondering how they will prove that a violation of the Code may or may not have occurred in a given case. The following is a discussion of why expert testimony regarding the proper interpretation of the Code is improper and the solution to this seemingly perplexing problem. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need an expert for any issues dealing with whether or not there has been a violation of the building code, but it is important to realize the proper use of expert testimony for building code issues. Read Full Post

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Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act

In Florida, drowning is the leading cause of death of young children and is also a significant cause of death for medically frail elderly persons. Adult supervision is the key to accomplishing the objective of reducing the number of submersion incidents, and when lapses in supervision occur a pool safety feature designed to deny, delay, or detect unsupervised entry to the swimming pool, spa, or hot tub will reduce drowning and near-drowning incidents. In furtherance of this initiative, the Florida Legislature enacted the “Preston de Ibern/Mckenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act” in 2000. See Chapter 515, Florida Statutes. Read Full Post

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Penalties For Unlicensed Contracting In Florida

Unlicensed contracting in the State of Florida occurs every day and is a huge problem in this state. Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, regulates the “construction industry” in Florida “in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare.” § 489.101, Fla. Stat.. In the fight against unlicensed contracting activities, the Florida Legislature and Courts have fashioned a host of remedies. Read Full Post

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Florida Construction Liens and Bonds: Beware of the Notice to Owner/Notice to Contractor Requirement

Florida construction lien and bond law is filled with many requirements that must be strictly followed and that are strictly construed by Florida courts. Indeed, the Florida Construction Lien Law of Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes, governing private construction projects, is designed to help ensure payment for work performed and to protect owners from paying for work more than once. Read Full Post

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Protecting Property Interests and Rights in Eminent Domain Actions and Government Takings: Part V

This blog post is part V in a series of posts to assist private property owners with protecting their property interests and rights in eminent domain actions and government takings. Part I provided a general overview of eminent domain and the government’s ability to take private property for public use. Part II discussed Florida law on the allowable scope for the taking of private property, which is determined by the element of reasonable necessity. Part III addressed regulatory takings, and Part IV explained how “just compensation” is determined. The fifth and final addition to this series concerns a property owner’s entitlement to attorney’s fees in eminent domain proceedings. Read Full Post

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Florida Building Code: Violations and Claims

The purpose of the Florida Building Code (“Code”) is to establish minimum requirements to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Its provisions apply to, among other things, construction, alteration, modification and repairs of buildings and structures. Therefore, it is no surprise that construction and design defect claims in Florida often involve one party alleging that a contractor, developer, design professional, subcontractor, or even a supplier are liable for violations of the Code. Read Full Post

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Riparian Rights in Florida –The Right To A Waterfront View

Ownership of waterfront property is very desirable in Florida and often involves unique real property considerations. But when we discuss waterfront property in Florida, one of the most attractive and most sought out features is an incredible water view. When it comes to private waterfront property ownership, it can be difficult to distinguish where the private land rights cease and the sovereign land ownership begins. More difficult is when your neighbor begins construction or activity that actually blocks your waterfront view. Read Full Post

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Material Supplier Construction Lien Rights: Lien Releases

One of a construction material supplier’s biggest concerns is making sure they will get paid. There are a few things a supplier can do to ensure they get paid on a construction project. One of the most important steps a supplier should take is preserve its lien rights under Florida’s Construction Lien Law, Section 713.001-.37, Florida Statutes. The purpose of the Florida Construction Lien Law is to protect construction material suppliers from nonpayment. The Lien Law should become your best friend. You should know it well. If done right, a supplier can almost guarantee that it will get paid in full by using the Lien Law. However, strict compliance with the Lien Law is required and it is laced with traps for the unwary. Many suppliers fail to perfect their lien rights properly and find themselves unable to get paid. Don’t let that happen to you. This blawg focuses on preserving your lien rights through the proper use of lien releases. Don’t give away more of your rights than you have to. Read Full Post

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Protecting Property Interests and Rights in Eminent Domain Actions and Government Takings: Part IV

This blog post is part IV in a series of posts to assist private property owners with protecting their property interests and rights in eminent domain actions and government takings. Part I provided a general overview of eminent domain and the government’s ability to take private property for public use. Part II discussed Florida law on the allowable scope for the taking of private property, which is determined by the element of reasonable necessity. Part III addressed regulatory takings. This post will discuss “just compensation” and how it is determined. Read Full Post

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Riparian Rights in Florida –Florida Law Concerning Docking and Wharfing

Ownership of waterfront property is very desirable in Florida and often involves unique real property considerations. When it comes to private waterfront property ownership, it can be difficult to distinguish where the private land rights cease and the sovereign land ownership begins. As a result, a subset of real property law has emerged to address what is called “riparian rights.” Riparian rights include the rights of ingress, egress, docking, boating, bathing, fishing and even the right to an unobstructed view of the water. Examples of situations that riparian rights address include: (1) the general use of water adjacent to property, (2) wharfing out to navigability in the channel, (3) actual access to navigable waters; and, (4) the right to accretions. Shore Village Property Owners’ Ass’n, Inc. v. State Dept. of Environmental Protection, 824 So.2d 208 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002). Walton Cnty. v. Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc., 998 So.2d 1102, 1111 (Fla.2008), aff’d, Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Fla. Dep’t of Envtl. Prot., 560 U.S. 702, 130 S.Ct. 2592, 177 L.Ed.2d 184 (2010). Such rights inure to the owner of the upland; however, the actual land covered by the water is not owned by the upland owner. This post will discuss the real property owner’s right to construct a dock or wharf out to the navigable channel. Read Full Post

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