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Contractor Liability for Building Code Violations

Miguel A. Brizuela, P.A. May 18, 2023

In the state of Florida, there are various building codes designed to ensure that construction projects remain safe and uniform across the state. These Florida Building Codes address various matters such as construction materials, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, plumbing systems, structural systems, and natural gas systems. Violating any of the state's building codes may result in fines, penalties, and other liabilities against the contractor or negligent party. 

At Miguel A. Brizuela, P.A., we provide strong legal assistance to clients in construction litigation-related matters, including building code violations. Our seasoned Florida construction law attorneys can review your situation, identify the building codes that were violated, and explore your possible options to seek relief. We're proud to serve clients in Miami and throughout Southern Florida, including West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. 

What Is Florida's Building Code?

Building codes are laws, rules, and regulations that outline the minimum requirements for the design, construction, and adjustment of residential and commercial buildings. Florida's Building Codes address the minimum specifications for building materials, HVAC systems, natural gas systems, plumbing systems, fire prevention, structural systems, and other aspects of the building. The purpose of the building code is to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of the general public – with respect to building construction. 

Violations of the Florida Building Code

However, violating any of the Florida Building Codes can have a possible ripple effect throughout the entire construction project. Also, this might affect the occupancy of the property or result in possible injuries, damages, fines, and penalties. Here are some common building code violations in Florida:  

  • failing to apply for building permits, 

  • handrails without returns, 

  • missing deck flashing, 

  • improper bathroom venting, 

  • missing or defective ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection for power outlets,  

  • failure to install or missing smoke alarms,  

  • ignoring dangerous materials,  

  • substandard electrical wiring,  

  • missing, obsolete, or inadequate life safety device,  

  • missing guardrails, 

  • basement bedroom without egress windows.  

If you have suffered an injury or construction defect due to building code violations, you need to reach out to a construction law attorney immediately. Your lawyer can assess every aspect of your case, identify the liable party, and explore your options to recover damages. 

Can a Contractor Be Liable?

Essentially, contractors play a huge role in every construction project. It is usually the duty of the contractor to plan, execute, supervise, and inspect the building. Also, the contractor must ensure that all building codes are followed. In the event of a material building code violation, the contractor may be held responsible.  

According to Florida law, a material violation occurs when a building code violation in a completed property – facility, structure, or building – can possibly cause physical harm or injury to a person or affect the performance of the building and its systems. If a building code is violated materially, the owner may bring a civil action against the contractor or subcontractor. 

Possible Contractor Penalties

Here are some possible penalties that may be imposed by the judge for material violations of building codes in Florida:  

  • citation for a building code violation, 

  • impose fines and penalties on the contractor, 

  • suspend the contractor's license, 

  • prevent the contractor from getting construction permits for future jobs, 

  • enhanced civil sanctions for repeat violations.  

If you have been accused of building code violations in Florida, you need to act quickly and retain a knowledgeable construction litigation attorney. Your lawyer can investigate every detail of your case thoroughly and outline an effective defense to help fight your charges. 

Possible Defenses For Building Code Violations

However, if you have been wrongfully accused of building code violations, your attorney can help dispute the false allegations using any of these legal defenses:  

  • falsely accused,  

  • there were no building code violations, 

  • you relied on the plans and design specifications provided by the building owner,  

  • the contract terms limit the contractor's liability, 

  • you informed the property owner of the code violations noticed.  

A trusted lawyer can determine the best legal defense for your case and help you avoid or limit potential liability. 

Thoughtful & Skilled Legal Counsel

Contractors executing construction projects in Florida are often required to follow all state and local building codes to ensure that the building meets the required safety and performance standards. In the event that the property owner suffers an injury, damages, or construction defects due to building code violations, legal action may be brought against the negligent contractor. 

At Miguel A. Brizuela, P.A., we are dedicated to handling construction ligations and representing clients in their building code violation cases. Whether you're trying to seek relief from a contractor for building code violations or defend yourself against a building code violations lawsuit, our attorneys are here to help at every phase of the legal process. 

Contact us at Miguel A. Brizuela, P.A., today to sit down with an experienced construction litigation lawyer. Our reliable legal team will handle your case with care, protect your interests, and help you recover your deserved relief. We're proud to serve clients in Miami and throughout Southern Florida, including West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.