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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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    Construction Expert Witness Contractors Building Industry
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    Tri-County Home Builders
    Local # 1073
    PO Box 420
    Marianna, FL 32447

    Port St Lucie Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Tallahassee Builders Association Inc
    Local # 1064
    1835 Fiddler Court
    Tallahassee, FL 32308

    Port St Lucie Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Building Industry Association of Okaloosa-Walton Cos
    Local # 1056
    1980 Lewis Turner Blvd
    Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547

    Port St Lucie Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of West Florida
    Local # 1048
    4400 Bayou Blvd Suite 45
    Pensacola, FL 32503

    Port St Lucie Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

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

    Port St Lucie Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

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

    Port St Lucie Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

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

    Port St Lucie Florida Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10


    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For Port St Lucie Florida


    Designed to Expose: Beware Lender Certificates

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    Design-Assist, an Ambiguous Term Causing Conflict in the Construction Industry[1]

    Homeowners Should Beware, Warn Home Builders

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    PORT ST LUCIE FLORIDA CONSTRUCTION EXPERT WITNESS
    DIRECTORY AND CAPABILITIES

    The Port St Lucie, Florida Construction Expert Witness Group at BHA, leverages from the experience gained through more than 7,000 construction related expert witness designations encompassing a wide spectrum of construction related disputes. Leveraging from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to Port St Lucie's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, as well as a variety of state and local government agencies.

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    Port St Lucie, Florida

    I’m Sorry Ms. Jackson, I [Sovereign Immunity] am For Real

    June 08, 2020 —
    The Supreme Court of Florida issued its opinion in Florida Highway Patrol v. Jackson, 2020 Fla. LEXIS 108 (Fla. Jan 23, 2020), which answered the following certified question of great public importance: Does rule 9.130 [(A)(3)(C)(XI)] permit an appeal of a non-final order denying immunity if the record shows that the defendant is entitled to immunity as a matter of law but the trial court did not explicitly preclude it as a defense? The Court’s answer to this question was “no.” But this opinion stands for much more than just a negative answer to a certified question. Indeed, this opinion has significant implications upon procedural and substantive areas of construction law, which may affect agents of the state of Florida, including Construction Engineering and Inspection professionals and consultants (“CEI”). Procedurally, the Court recognizes that Fla. R. App. P. 9.130 insufficiently protects the public and governmental interests as “it leaves too great a risk that erroneous denials of operational sovereign immunity will go unreviewed until it is too late.” Id. at * 19. By extension of this risk, the Jackson Court announced that “courts should determine entitlement to sovereign immunity as early as the record permits.” Id. at * 18. In fact, on that basis, courts can address a motion for summary judgment asserting entitlement to sovereign immunity even if there are outstanding disputes as to, say, the existence of a duty of care. Id. at 17-18. Accordingly, and in an effort to remedy the risk of erroneous denials going unreviewed until it is too late, the Court amended Fla. R. App. P. 9.130 to expand appellate review of nonfinal orders denying sovereign immunity. Jackson, 2020 Fla. LEXIS 108 at * 19; In re Amendments to Fla. Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130, No. SC19-1734 (Fla. Jan. 23, 2020). The new form of Fla. R. App. P. 9.130 cements the policy mentioned above because it allows an appeal of a nonfinal order denying a motion for summary judgment due to entitlement to sovereign immunity. Meanwhile, under the old rule, the order was only appealable if the trial court order determined – as a matter of law – that a party was not entitled to sovereign immunity. As such, the new rule focuses on what was argued in the motion as opposed to what was written in the order. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Greggory Jacobs, Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A.
    Mr. Jacobs may be contacted at greggory.jacobs@csklegal.com

    Nevada Senate Bill 435 is Now in Effect

    February 24, 2020 —
    ATTENTION: Nevada liability departments and auto insurance carriers! Nevada Senate Bill No. 435 was recently signed into law and there are two key points to be aware of: Disclosure of Policy Limits Demand and Voiding Releases. These both deal with pre-litigation situations. 1) Nevada law now requires a motor vehicle insurer to disclose the limits of the policy if the claimant provides a HIPAA authorization which allows the carrier to “receive all medical reports, records and bills related to the claim from the providers of health care.” This is a change from the previous Nevada statute which required the disclosure of policy limits only after litigation was commenced. However, it appears from the language of the statute that there are limits to this new mandate. Section 4 of the new law is written in such a way to allow the argument that the new law applies only to accidents that occurred after 10/1/19, and that the insurance company has to request the HIPAA waiver from the claimant in order for the disclosure requirement to apply. The plaintiff’s bar is already attempting to address this language in the legislature. As written, subsection (4) is governed by subsection (1) which states that the insurance company “may require the claimant … to provide … a written authorization.” The following subparts all appear to be triggered only by the act of the insurance company requesting a HIPAA waiver. The plaintiff’s bar is pushing for clarifying language that would make it clear that once the claimant sent a HIPAA waiver, irrespective of whether the document was requested by the insurance company or not, the insurance company is required to disclose policy limits. This is not how the law reads on its face, and the change would make a significant difference from a practical perspective. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Bremer Whyte Brown & O'Meara LLP

    Design-Assist Collaboration/Follow-up Post

    March 16, 2020 —
    Shortly after posting the blog article “Design-Assist an Ambiguous Term Causing Conflict in the Construction Industry,” I received an email from Brian Perlberg, the Executive Director and Senior Counsel for ConsensusDocs. He brought two ConsensusDocs forms to my attention: ConsensusDocs 541 Design Assist Addendum and ConsensusDocs 300 Integrated Form of Agreement (IFOA). In the ConsensusDocs model of “design-assist,” the lead design professional retains design responsibility but benefits from input and consultation from the construction team during design development. By contrast, in the design-build project delivery method, the constructor assumes design responsibility and liability for either the entire project design (design-build) or just a component of the design (delegated design). The ConsensusDocs 541 document goal is to provide “accurate information concerning program, quality, cost, constructability and schedule from all parties.” It provides a range of standard and optimal services during design development that essentially shifts the curve of selecting the construction manager (CM) and most importantly, special trade contractors, to much earlier in the process, perhaps as soon as the owner’s program is developed. This opens a world of possibilities for the design and construction team to collaborate early and often. The design professional, however, does not abdicate its design responsibility or authority in this process. The ultimate goal is to end the all-too-common wasteful cycle of design and redesign that is common in construction projects.[1] Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of John P. Ahlers, Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
    Mr. Ahlers may be contacted at john.ahlers@acslawyers.com

    Is There Direct Physical Loss Under A Property Policy When COVID-19 is Present?

    April 06, 2020 —
    Most property policies provide coverage for property damage only when there is "direct physical loss" to covered property. Early indications are that COVID-19 remains on surfaces. The duration can last from a few hours to three weeks, depending on the type of surface material. If an employee is infected and the store or restaurant must closed because the virus may rest on surfaces within the building, is there direct physical loss, even though the building structure itself is unharmed? To answer this question, cases from jurisdictions outside Hawaii may provide guidance. In a case from Louisiana, the homeowner had to move out of her home when excessive levels of organic lead were discovered in the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and attic. Widder v. La. Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp., 82 So. 3d 294 (La. Ct. App. 2011). The insurer denied coverage because there was no direct physical loss. The trial court agreed; since the home was still intact, no direct physical loss had occurred, so there was no coverage under the policy. The appellate court reversed. It compared the presence of inorganic lead in the home to cases that found a direct physical loss from the existence of Chinese drywall, from which gaseous fumes were released, rendering the home unusable or uninhabitable. Physical damage was not necessary. What if smoke from a nearby wildfire fills an outdoor theater, forcing cancellation of performances and loss of business income? This was the situation in Oregon Shakespeare Festival Ass'n v. Great Am. Inc. Co., 2016 U.S. DIst. LEXIS 74450 (D. Ore. Jun 7, 2016). Wildfires in the area caused smoke, soot, and ash to accumulate on the surface of seats and concrete ground of the open-air theater. The air quality was poor, but no federal, state or local agency ordered cancellation of the performances. Further, the theater did not suffer any permanent or structural damage to its property. The insurer denied coverage, contending that the loss or damage must be structural to the building itself. After all, the smoke in the air at the theater did not require any repairs to the structure of the property. The court disagreed. The theater sustained "physical loss or damage to property" when the wildfire smoke infiltrated the theater and rendered it unusable for its intended purpose. The decision in Oregon Shakespeare Festival was eventually vacated by a joint stipulation of the parties. Oregon Shakespeare Festival Ass'n v. Great Am. Ins.Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33208 (D. Ore. March 6, 2017), but the reasoning is still sound. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    Coronavirus Is Starting to Slow the Solar Energy Revolution

    March 09, 2020 —
    The coronavirus outbreak is threatening to slow the global solar-energy revolution as it cuts the supply of key equipment for solar and wind farms in China and beyond. As cases of the disease mounted over the past week, manufacturers including Trina Solar Ltd. sounded the alarm over production delays while developers like Manila Electric Co. in the Philippines said projects would be held up. “If the virus outbreak lasts beyond the first quarter and spreads to more geographies, as is currently happening in Korea and Italy, then it may very well slow down global renewable energy deployment,” said Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, head of analysis in Asia for BloombergNEF which has downgraded its outlook for installations this year. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Bloomberg

    Eliminating Waste in Construction – An Interview with Turner Burton

    June 29, 2020 —
    I had the pleasure of interviewing Turner Burton, President of Hoar Construction. We discussed waste in construction and how his company is on a mission to eliminate it. Can you say a few words about yourself and your company? I grew up around construction and this company, hearing about the business from both my grandfather and my father. I started working on job sites in high school forming concrete, continued working on projects throughout college, and since graduating from college, I’ve taken on different roles in the company to ensure I understand all aspects of the business. Hoar Construction was founded 80 years ago, and throughout our history, we’ve been committed to learning from every project to improve our processes and deliver the best building experience possible for our clients and partners. But it’s the relentless pursuit of improvement that really sets us apart as builders – to always strive to be the best and do the right thing for our customers and partners. There’s something to be said for setting a goal that you’ll always be working toward. It fosters hard work, collaboration, and productive effort. If we’re always working to find a better way, then we will always be improving. That effort drives better results for our owners and everyone we work with. Essentially, we’re always working toward something. Always improving. Always in process. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Aarni Heiskanen, AEC Business
    Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi

    Are COVID-19 Claims Covered by Builders Risk Insurance Policies?

    May 04, 2020 —
    If you are an attorney, insurance broker, or other professional representing developers and contractors, then your clients have likely reached out with concerns about losses related to COVID-19. One common question is whether there is potential coverage under builders risk insurance policies. The short answer is: It depends. As with most questions pertaining to insurance coverage, the answers depend on the specific policy language and underlying facts required to trigger coverage. Builders risk policies are even more fact specific due to the lack of uniformity of base policy forms and endorsements between insurance carriers. The first step in any analysis is to gather facts and carefully document any impending and potential damages or delays. The facts are crucial because the coverage analysis may vary depending on the specific reason the project was shut down. For example, the analysis would be different if the project was shut down as a result of an express government order, such as those in Northern California and Washington, versus the project shutting down as a result of workers testing positive for COVID-19. Properly analyzing builders risk coverage involves a granular account of the facts and damages, and can require a great deal of hair splitting with respect to specific policy language. Regardless of the strength of the insured’s facts and damages, or the breadth of its policy language, the policyholder still likely faces an uphill battle in finding coverage for COVID-19 related claims. The unfortunate reality of most builders risk policies is that they are property policies that require some evidence of physical loss or damage to trigger coverage. Whether or not COVID-19 claims constitute property damage will be the subject of great debate and litigation over the coming months and years. The outcome will likely depend on how the insured’s jurisdiction ultimately rules on the litany of COVID-19 cases that have already been filed – specifically, how broadly each court interprets the meaning of “physical loss or damage.” Although these key issues have yet to be clearly defined by the courts, some policies are better than others and there are specific variables that could affect the likelihood of coverage. For example, some of the more policyholder-friendly insurance programs may contain coverage extensions for delay in completion, business interruption, loss of rental income, or civil authority that may not be tied to the property damage requirement, and which would tend to support coverage for COVID-19 claims. Even if the insured crosses the initial threshold and can demonstrate a covered claim, the following common endorsements and exclusions may require additional analysis depending on the facts.
    • Virus or Pandemic Exclusions: Virus or pandemic exclusions are not as common on builders risk policies as they may be on other forms of coverage. However, they do exist and, if present, result in a significant barrier to coverage. As with the policy itself, every endorsement is different and should be analyzed in terms of the express language contained in the endorsement and the facts.
    • Abandonment or Cessation of Work: Most builders risk policies include provisions that preclude coverage in the event of the abandonment of the project or a lengthy cessation of work. As a result, the insured should take steps to articulate to the carrier that the project has not been abandoned, and that there exists an intent to return as soon as possible. The insured should also maintain a record of ongoing project oversight and protection efforts taken during the period when construction operations are suspended.
    • Security and Safety Requirements: Many builders risk policies contain provisions requiring the insured to maintain protective safeguards and security protocols throughout the pendency of the project. Safety fencing, lighting and security guards are common examples. The policy should be analyzed to ensure that the policyholder can meet any such requirements during a COVID-19 related shutdown. For example, can the insured continue to staff a security guard? If not, arrangements will likely need to be made with the carrier depending on the language of the policy.
    • Insurable Limits: Builders risk policies are typically underwritten based upon the total completed value of the structure, including materials and labor. The insured will need to analyze the policy to consider whether increased material or labor costs as a result of COVID-19 will alter the terms of coverage, trigger any escalation clauses, or result in an increase in premium due. If increased cost projections become apparent, the insured should report these changes to the carrier immediately.
    • Extensions of Coverage: The insurance industry was facing a hard market even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in higher premiums and limited coverage options. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these issues and it may be difficult to obtain coverage extensions on projects that have been shut down. The insured should work with its risk management team (risk manager, insurance broker and lawyer) to engage the carriers to negotiate any necessary coverage extensions resulting from COVID-19 related project delays.
    To summarize, builders risk coverage for COVID-19 claims is far from certain, but not impossible. Insureds should provide notice of a claim to all potentially applicable carriers in order to preserve their rights. The insured should also report increased construction cost and articulate its intent to return to the project to preserve their escalation clause and avoid arguments that they have abandoned the project. The insured should continue to document its claims and damages, and be ready to substantiate its claims and push back on any coverage denial. Throughout the entirety of this process, the insured should work with its risk management team to get out in front of any extensions it may need to complete the project. In a climate where insurance carriers are receiving an insurmountable number of claims, the insured should be prepared to fight for coverage and not simply throw up its hands in the face of a denial. Given the intense social, legislative and executive pressure to cover COVID-19 claims, there may be a tendency for the courts to find coverage in gray areas, particularly if the insured was fortunate enough to have purchased one of the broader coverage forms referenced above. About the Authors Jason M. Adams, Esq. (jadams@gibbsgiden.com) is a partner at Gibbs Giden representing construction professionals in the areas of Construction Law, Insurance Law and Risk Management and Business/Civil Litigation. Adams is also a licensed property and casualty insurance broker and certified Construction Risk & Insurance Specialist (CRIS). Jason represents developers, contractors, public entities, investors, lenders, REITs, design professionals, and other construction professionals at all stages of the construction process. Jason is a published author and sought-after speaker at seminars across the country regarding high level construction risk management and insurance topics. Gibbs Giden is nationally and locally recognized by U. S. News and Best Lawyers as among the “Best Law Firms” in both Construction Law and Construction Litigation. Chambers USA Directory of Leading Lawyers has consistently recognized Gibbs Giden as among California’s elite construction law firms. Cheryl L. Kozdrey, Esq. (clk@sdvlaw.com) is an associate at Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C., a national insurance coverage law firm dedicated exclusively to policyholder representation and advocacy. Cheryl advises insurance brokers, risk managers, and construction industry professionals regarding optimal risk transfer strategies and insurance solutions, including key considerations for Builder’s Risk, Commercial General Liability, D&O, and Commercial Property policies. She assists clients with initial policy reviews, as well as renewals and modification(s) of existing policies to ensure coverage needs are satisfied. Cheryl also represents policyholders throughout the claims process, and in coverage dispute litigation against insurance carriers. She is currently working on some of the largest construction defect cases in the country. Cheryl is a published author and is admitted to practice in the State of California and all federal district courts within the State. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    COVID-19 Could Impact Contractor Performance Bonds

    March 30, 2020 —
    As COVID-19 continues to expand around the United States and the world, it may only be a matter of time before U.S. construction projects are affected by the virus. Performance bonds guarantee that a project will be completed by a contractor according to the contract. However, what if a contractor cannot complete a project on time due to widespread disease? What, if any, impact could the virus have on a contractor’s surety bond program? Risk Factors Several risks associated with the virus could trigger a performance bond claim. 1. Materials. The Chinese account for a large supply of construction materials, including steel, copper, cabinetry, etc. An inability to obtain these materials could significantly delay or stop a project all together. Even if a contractor is able to obtain them from other sources, it may be at a significantly higher cost than they put into the bid. 2. Labor. There is already a shortage of qualified labor in the construction industry. Additionally, construction already lends itself to the spreading of viruses; workers are often in close proximity, handling common materials, and they may not have an easily accessible place to wash their hands. Furthermore, even though many now have paid sick leave, there is often pressure not to use it. These things could magnify the labor shortage and make it difficult to complete projects on time. 3. Safety. Finally, the world is having a serious shortage of respirators. Because of widespread panic, many people have been purchasing N95 respirators—so much that the Surgeon General has asked people to stop buying them. It has created a shortage for people who really need them, like contractors. If contractors can’t get these safety masks, certain trades will either be unable to work, or risk continuing the project without masks, which would endanger workers and open them up to OSHA penalties. Reprinted courtesy of Ben Williams and MG Surety, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of
    Mr. Williams may be contacted at benw@mgsuretybonds.com