ConstructionConstruction Law is an ever evolving and complex area of the law requiring the expertise and focused knowledge of attorneys devoted to this highly specific practice. RKC has nearly twenty attorneys in five offices devoted to Construction Law and construction-related issues. RKC represents a variety of construction-related clients including owners and developers, general contractors, design professionals, specialty subcontractors and materials suppliers throughout all phases of the construction process from project design, contract negotiation, contract administration, construction, final close out and turnover. RKC attorneys understand the nuances of construction and strive to resolve its clients’ issues and problems without litigation through early dispute resolution and dispute avoidance, but are also seasoned trial attorneys who are well equipped to prosecute or defend its clients’ interests if litigation is unavoidable.
Our attorneys utilize a strategic and practical problem solving approach to encourage and reach early dispute resolution. However, should litigation arise, RKC attorneys have vast litigation experience covering the full spectrum of construction issues for single-family or multi-story high rise residential buildings and large commercial properties, including construction and design defects, liens, bonds, building code violations, warranties, contracts, claims for extras and changed conditions, and claims for acceleration and delay damages. RKC attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in extremely complex construction-related cases, the majority involving numerous defendants and dozens of construction defects, including Chinese Drywall, stucco and plastering, roofing, and water intrusion, as well as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire safety, and structural issues.
RKC attorneys have written numerous articles and presented a litany of seminars on construction-related issues. RKC attorneys are also active in their local bar associations and serve on committees devoted to the unique practice of construction law and its myriad of issues.
RKC is focused on providing its clients with meticulous, detailed advice, counseling and evaluation, whether it is at the beginning of the construction process, pre-suit or in full-blown litigation, focusing in the following areas:
- Construction Defects – The most commonly litigated construction issue is claims for defects and deficiencies in the actual construction. RKC attorneys have vast experience prosecuting and defending clients in matters involving construction defects and deficiencies relating to residential and commercial construction from pre-suit through litigation. RKC attorneys are familiar with the difference between latent and patent defects and how each affects the litigation and their clients, including important statute of limitations issues.
- Building Code Violations – Although plans are signed and sealed and buildings are inspected and approved by the authority having jurisdiction, all too often homeowners and community associations bring suit for defects and deficiencies based on purported building code violations.Section 553.84, Florida Statutes creates a civil action for failure to construct buildings located in Florida in conformance with Florida’s Building Code. This statutory provision provides a cause of action when a person or entity is injured by a defendant who is engaged in construction without obtaining the required building permits or who violates the building code and liability can only be imposed on the person or party who committed the building code violation. Such potentially liable parties may include architects, contractors, and subcontractors, however usually not the developers and other related entities. RKC attorneys are familiar with the law surrounding the statute and building code and work diligently to defend any claims against its clients for such violations.
- Chinese Drywall
- Appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon to be national lead counsel for of the contractors involved in the Chinese Drywall Multidistrict litigation. The Chinese Drywall MDL involved claims concerning allegedly defective drywall, sold and installed in tens of thousands of homes around the United States, against over 1,000 defendants. Numerous classes of plaintiffs were established based on the distribution chain of the product and each type of defendant in the distribution chain was separated into a distinct class, one of which was the contractors that installed the product. RKC was lead counsel for the contractor class.
- Contract Negotiation, Preparation and Review – A carefully drafted construction contract can save both time and money. RKC attorneys work with their clients to draft or negotiate a contract that defines and provides essential terms, deadlines, and parameters and addresses applicable laws, codes and rules that apply to the project. In addition, RKC attorneys are versed in the standard form contracts provided by entities such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Associated General Contractor of America (AGC) which are well recognized and very common in the construction industry. RKC attorneys are experienced in drafting and negotiating contracts that will both protect and benefit their clients.
- Construction Acceleration and Delays – In some instances, a party to a contract may be able to recover damages due to delay in the performance by a contractor. RKC attorneys are intimately familiar with analyzing and determining delay claims including what caused the delay, how long the delay was, and whether concurrent delays occurred. In addition, RKC attorneys know what types of delay damages a party may be entitled to, if any, including labor costs, equipment costs, and material costs. When a claim for construction acceleration is made pursuant to a delay, RKC attorneys have the knowledge to analyze these damages as well, which may include the costs of overtime, inefficiency related to overtime, additional materials, more expensive materials and equipment and expediting fees.
- Construction Liens and Bonds – Construction lien law provides a procedure by which claimants may perfect security rights in the property which they have improved. It protects lienors giving notice and prevents unjust enrichment and protects the owners by placing limits on their liability to lienors. RKC attorneys help their clients navigate the confusing landscape of lien law and apply the laws in their favor.
- Design Professional Services (including design Errors and Omissions) - Professionals in any field such as design and architecture are expected to have a certain level of expertise within their area and cannot delegate certain fundamental duties to others. They are also held to certain standards of conduct within their profession, and sometimes find themselves as the target of a lawsuit in which their professional license and reputation may be jeopardized. RKC attorneys who handle professional liability defense matters have a clear understanding of the depth and importance of all that is at stake when suit is brought against practicing professionals including architects, engineers, insurance agents, as well as a wide range of other professionals.
- Claims for Extras and Changed Conditions
- Negligence Claims
- Contract Drafting
- Contract Risk Assessment
- Contract Compliance
- Contract Terminations
- Contract Disputes
- Risk Identification and Claim Avoidance
- Environmental Risks
- Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Faulty Products and Failures
- Mold and Sick Buildings
- Insurance Coverage Disputes
- Bidding and Procurement
- Represented a foundation company in litigation by the developer, claiming multi-million dollar damages based on construction delay and consequential additional expenses arising out of the installation of auger cast piles in a high water table location of this mixed use project in South Miami, Florida. The case was successfully resolved for the foundation company in a confidential settlement on the eve of trial for a fraction of plaintiff’s demand.
- Representing a fire sprinkler subcontractor in this $100 million dollar damage claim asserted by a major hotel chain entitles for alleged construction, delay and complex business damages based on mold development due to water intrusion in the care center associated with a luxury adult congregate living facility.
- Represented a fire sprinkler subcontractor in claims arising out of the failure of fire sprinkler pipes in one tower of a twin tower luxury high-rise (31-story) condominium project in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The entire tower required retrofitting after the fire sprinkler pipes ruptured on various floors. Claims were asserted by the unit owners as well as the condominium association, general contractor, and developer. The types of claims ranged from repair and loss of use damages by the unit owners and condominium association to delay damages by the general contractor, as well as loss of business opportunities, lost sales and damage to reputation by the developer. The claims were handled in a variety of forms including pre-suit resolution, arbitration, and state court litigation. While most claims have been resolved pursuant to confidential settlement agreements, some claims are still pending and awaiting trial.
- Represented a community college in connection with design defects and cost overruns resulting from defective plans and specifications prepared by the community college's architect. Representation included a jury trial as well as on appeal to the Florida District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court.
- The representation of a general contractor in a multi-million dollar claim against the owner for acceleration and delayed damages arising out of the construction of a multi-building apartment complex. The matter was resolved by a confidential settlement agreement following the conclusion of a jury trial.
- Represented structural engineers in an arbitration proceeding arising out of the design and construction of a multi-million dollar private jet aircraft hangar. The arbitration involved the owner, general contractor, architect, structural engineers, and various subcontractors. The claims against the various parties included defective design and construction as well as delay damage claims. The matter was ultimately resolved through a confidential settlement agreement.