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Lakeland Building Code Violation Lawyer

Lakeland Building Code Violation Lawyer

Lakeland Building Code Violation Lawyer

The Florida Building Code is a comprehensive set of standards developed and maintained by the Florida Building Commission that governs the design, construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair and demolition of public and private buildings, structures and facilities in the state. The Building Code sets minimum standards for health and safety that are enforced by local governments. They address factors such as structural strength, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, and more in the design and building processes to construct safe, sustainable and resilient structures.

Statutory Violation of Building Codes

The Florida Building Code is a performance-based code, meaning builders have flexibility as to the materials they use and the way go about engaging in construction, so long as they comply with the standards in the Code. Section 553.84, Florida Statutes, creates a civil cause of action, meaning homeowners harmed by a contractor’s building code violation can sue the builder in court for the damages they’ve suffered. The Ruel Law Firm recognizes this law as one of the tools homeowners have to level the playing field and maximize compensation for damage caused by a negligent building contractor. Learn more about the Florida statute on building code violations below, and contact our experienced Lakeland construction defect lawyer for help against a negligent contractor who violates the law at your expense.

Statutory Civil Actions for Florida Building Code Violations

It is not uncommon for a construction defect or design defect claim to involve a building code violation. For this reason, Chapter 553, Florida Statutes, was enacted to create a private cause of action for violating the building code. Section 553.84 reads as follows:

553.84 Statutory civil action.—Notwithstanding any other remedies available, any person or party, in an individual capacity or on behalf of a class of persons or parties, damaged as a result of a violation of this part or the Florida Building Code, has a cause of action in any court of competent jurisdiction against the person or party who committed the violation; however, if the person or party obtains the required building permits and any local government or public agency with authority to enforce the Florida Building Code approves the plans, if the construction project passes all required inspections under the code, and if there is no personal injury or damage to property other than the property that is the subject of the permits, plans, and inspections, this section does not apply unless the person or party knew or should have known that the violation existed.

This law allows any person damaged by a Florida Building Code violation to sue the violator in court and recover compensation for the damage done. The way the law is written can be confusing, however, as it creates liability and limits liability at the same time. An initial step is determining whether the law applies against the party that violated the building code. The law is written to hold violators liable if they actually perform work, including construction or repair work.

Another complicated aspect of this law is the standard of negligence that applies. Even though the cause of action is based on a code violation, the law does not impose strict liability on the violator or raise a presumption that the violator was negligent per se by way of their violation. Instead, the violation only serves as evidence of the violator’s negligence.

The law also provides an “out” for violators under certain circumstances. If the violator:

  • Obtained the required building permits and the government approved the plans, and
  • The project passed all required inspections, and
  • The violation did not cause a personal injury or property damage other than to the subject property,

then no cause of action exists unless the party knew or should have known a violation existed. Whether this exception applies can be in dispute and may have to be litigated in court by a skilled construction lawyer who is familiar with the law and its application. Attorney Michael Ruel has been litigating construction defect cases in Central Florida for more than a decade and can ably represent you in your civil claim based on a contractor’s building code violation and the damage it has caused.

Contact the Ruel Law Firm Today

The Ruel Law Firm handles civil actions against building code violators under Florida Statutes section 553.84 and also pursues other construction defect remedies available against contractors, subcontractors, developers and suppliers under other applicable laws. For help with building code violations and other damage to your property in Central Florida, contact our experienced Lakeland construction defect lawyer today.

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