The complex nature of construction projects and the number of people involved can be a breeding ground for legal disputes. From bidding on a project to discovering defective materials years after completion, many issues can arise surrounding construction. When legal matters emerge regarding construction law, count on an experienced construction law attorney like the Boutty Law Firm to work with you during legal disputes and challenges before, during, and after a construction project. Below, we discuss some of the most common causes of construction disputes in Florida.
One of the most common types of construction disputes is a construction lien, also known as a mechanic lien. Liens are a powerful type of legal action that ensures contractors and workers are paid for their services promptly. This is done by leveraging a legal right to the property where the work was performed to secure payment. Any contractor who worked at a property and didn’t get paid can issue a lien—even if the owner paid a general contractor who failed to pay their subcontractors. Contractors who wish to file a lien against a property must inform the owner of their intention with a Notice to Owner, which must be sent within 45 days after the service is completed. The Notice to Owner must follow strict guidelines as stated in Chapter 713 of the Florida Statutes, so it’s best to work with an attorney to ensure you follow the proper procedures. If payment is not received even after sending the Notice to Owner, our legal team will follow up with a Claim of Lien and the appropriate legal action to ensure you’re paid for your work.
Another reason for construction disputes is claims of defective products or materials. According to Florida Statute 558.002(5), a construction defect is a deficiency arising from the specifications, planning, supervision, observation, repair, remodeling, or design of a piece of real property. Types of construction defects include:
- Defective materials and products by manufacturers
- Code violations during the time of construction
- Faulty design
- Failure to adhere to trade standards and best practices
- Premature wood deterioration
- Foundation cracks
- Sagging or leaning foundation or walls
- Faulty wiring
- Black mold and other moisture problems
To file a claim based on a construction defect, you must prove who was legally responsible, such as a construction team, designer, or product manufacturer. Construction defects can take years to discover; sometimes, they aren’t visible until a storm or remodeling project exposes them. After the defect is found, property owners have four years to file a claim. They must also notify the negligent party 60 days before filing a claim.
Unclear contracts are another common cause of construction disputes. Contracts should provide all the necessary information needed to ensure the construction company and business owner are on the same page. Some things that should be included in a construction contract are a lien warning, a detailed project description (including the scope of work, documentation, and role designation), cost estimates, and the process of submitting a change order clause. Learn more about what to include in a construction contract here.
Disputes over the accuracy and completeness of a construction bid can lead to a formal bid dispute against the company or organization that requested it. There are two general types of bid disputes: pre-award and post-award. Pre-award disputes challenge the process of selecting a winning bid by the business owner. A post-award dispute challenges the construction company that won the bid. Post-award disputes can be filed due to the legitimacy of the construction company (such as being unlicensed), failure to complete a bid by the required deadline, or errors in the bid itself.
Boutty Law Firm—Experienced Construction Lawyer
Legal construction issues are complex and extremely detailed, so it’s essential to use an attorney that is experienced in the construction industry. Attorney Benjamin Shane Boutty has over 20 years of experience as a certified contractor and construction company owner. Now, he uses his expertise to help you with any legal issue regarding construction projects, no matter how complicated. Contact us today at 407-710-0540 to schedule a free consultation.