Construction projects are complex undertakings that involve numerous parties and mutual obligations. With so many overlapping interests, it is common for disputes to arise. When a construction dispute occurs, effectively resolving the matter is vital to keeping your business on track.
The Business Trial Group’s Ft. Lauderdale construction litigation team is led by a Florida Bar Board Certified construction specialist—a distinction held by less than 1 percent of all Florida lawyers. While our construction attorneys have been honored as Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyers, Florida Legal Elite, and Martindale Hubbell Preeminent, the true measure of our success has been the results we have achieved for our clients.
We strive to provide highest-quality legal representation in construction lawsuits on an affordable, contingency-fee basis. Our clients pay no up-front legal fees and no fees at all unless and until we successfully resolve their case. We put the financial strength and resources of the largest contingency-fee law firm in America behind every client’s case.
If you have suffered losses related to a construction project, the Business Trial Group can help. Contact our Fort Lauderdale construction attorneys for a free case review.
Construction Litigation Cases We Handle
The Business Trial Group’s construction attorneys represent property owners, contractors, subcontractors, developers, suppliers, design professionals, homeowner and condominium associations, and others in a wide variety of claims, including:
- Breach of contract
- Breach of warranty
- Construction defects
- Construction delays
- Construction liens
- Insurance coverage disputes
- Payment and performance bond disputes
- Failure to comply with building codes, permits, or zoning laws
- Professional malpractice
- Negligence and fraud
Many things can go wrong on a construction project. You may be unsure of how the law applies to your dispute and what your rights are. To discuss your particular situation with our experienced Fort Lauderdale construction lawyers, contact us.
Ft. Lauderdale Construction Defect Attorneys
One of the most common types of construction disputes are claims that work performed does not meet industry or contract-specific standards. If you suspect that a project was defectively built, repaired, or renovated, you should promptly seek legal advice, since a delayed claim can violate the statute of limitations or make proving the defect more difficult.
Patent vs. Latent Defects
Obvious construction defects are known as “patent” defects. A patent defect is readily observable or evident during a visual inspection, such as a hole in the wall or improperly applied siding.
Defects that are not readily detectable, even during a reasonably careful inspection, are called “latent” defects. These hidden defects can take years to manifest. For example, an improperly constructed roof might not cause water damage to the interior of a building for a few years, or a poor design could cause slow-forming foundation cracks.
Construction Defect Filing Deadlines
In Florida, a construction defect lawsuit must generally be filed within four years of the project completion, and no more than ten years after completion.
When the clock actually starts ticking on the statute of limitations varies. It could start on the date you took possession of the property, when a certificate of occupancy was issued, or on the date the contract was completed or terminated. If the construction defect is latent, the clock starts ticking when the defect is discovered (or should reasonably have been discovered).
The legal cause of action (for example, breach of contract, negligence, or fraud) will also affect the filing deadline.
Notice of Construction Defects
Florida law requires that the builder be provided with written notification of alleged construction defects 60 days prior to a lawsuit being filed. Upon receiving the notice, the builder can potentially avoid a lawsuit by fixing the defect or offering a settlement.
If you need legal representation regarding a Fort Lauderdale construction defect lawsuit, contact the Business Trial Group for a free case review.
Ft. Lauderdale Engineer and Architect Malpractice Attorneys
In some cases, even when construction is completed according to specifications, underlying design problems can result in defects. The design professionals responsible for the faulty project design—including engineers and architects—may be held responsible.
Design Professional Responsibilities
The responsibilities of the architect/engineer in a construction project are defined in the contract between the design professional and the party that hired them (usually, the property owner). The contract should define the scope of the work to be performed, the design professional’s role during different phases of construction, and budget and time requirements, among other terms.
Typical responsibilities of architects and engineers on a construction project include:
- Developing the physical design of the project based on information supplied by the owner
- Creating drawings and specifications for the contractors and subcontractors to follow
- Designing in accordance with all applicable codes, laws, and regulations (such as building codes, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and environmental laws)
- Reviewing for compliance the shop drawings used by subcontractors and suppliers
On some projects, design professionals have additional duties during the construction phase. Their actual duties are based on the contractual agreement, but may include tasks such as appearing on the site to oversee construction, issuing certificates of completion, and preparing a “punch list” of uncompleted or improperly completed items at or near the end of the job. Depending on the project, design professionals may also serve as construction managers and operate more or less like a general contractor.
Design Professional Theories of Liability
Legal action against an architect or engineer can be based on contract law or based on the theory of professional liability.
A breach of contract claim asserts that the design professional failed to fulfill its obligations under the contract. Many contract claims arise from alleged breaches of the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. A construction agreement may also contain an express warranty regarding compliance with local, state, and federal rules, regulations, and laws.
A claim for architect malpractice or engineer malpractice alleges that the design professional did not meet the standards of care, skill, ability, and diligence ordinarily required of someone in their profession. In addition to the general professional duties of a design professional, architects and engineers also owe duties of good faith and loyalty to the owner.
To discuss specific allegations of architect or engineer negligence or professional misconduct, please contact the Business Trial Group.
Fort Lauderdale Construction Bond and Construction Lien Attorneys
Construction bonds and construction liens are two ways of dealing with nonpayment on a building project. Liens and bonds are similar in that they both provide assurance to contractors (particularly subcontractors who are not in privity with the owner) that they will get paid after they perform work. The primary difference is that liens are used on private construction projects, whereas bonds are used on public projects.
This difference stems from the remedy used to ensure the debt is paid. A lien uses the remedy of foreclosure of the property in order to ensure the debt is paid. This remedy is not possible, however, with public projects (for example, a highway cannot be seized from the Florida Department of Transportation and auctioned off if a contractor is not paid). All public projects therefore require that a bond be in place prior to starting the work.
A construction bond is purchased from a surety company and ensures that there is a pool of money to pay off unpaid contractors and, if necessary, to pay new contractors to perform any unfinished work if the first contractor abandons the job. A construction lien, on the other hand, is a claim made against a property by a contractor or other party for alleged unpaid services or materials. After a period of time, if the nonpayment is not resolved, the party that filed the lien can collect the debt by forcing the sale of the property.
Disputes regarding construction bond and lien claims can often be complex. Strict filing procedures, contractual terms, and state and federal statutes must be followed. In addition, the principal can dispute reimbursement and initiate counterclaims. It is important to work with experienced construction attorneys regarding construction bonds and liens lawsuits.
If you are involved in a construction bond or lien claim dispute, our Fort Lauderdale attorneys [can help protect your interests] (/free-case-evaluation/).
Contingency-Fee Construction Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale
The Business Trial Group’s contingency-fee model benefits parties in a construction lawsuit who may not otherwise have the resources to fund complex and lengthy litigation.
Our clients do not have to worry about the pressures of upfront, hourly legal bills. They can confidently pursue damages knowing that their case will be resolved based on the merits—not on their ability to continue paying a lawyer hundreds of dollars per hour.
Business Trial Group attorneys has recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients, including multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts related to construction projects. Regardless of how complex your claim is or how long it takes to resolve, you will pay no up-front fees, and no fees at all unless we succeed.
Receive a Free Construction Lawsuit Case Review
The Business Trial Group’s Fort Lauderdale construction attorneys are ready to review your claim and advise you of the next steps.
From our four South Florida offices, we conveniently represent clients on a contingency-fee basis throughout Broward County, including Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Sunrise, Deerfield Beach, Weston, Margate, Coconut Creek, and Parkland. It costs nothing for an initial consultation, and you will communicate directly with an attorney.
Please contact us to get started with your free case review.