A claim about negligent professional services or defective construction work may not come forth until years after the completion of construction. In fact, claims regarding non-payment, delay, and scope of work are typically raised after the completion of the project. So how long should you keep construction project documents after completion? Here are factors to consider for retaining construction project records.
Statutes of Limitations
Florida’s statute of limitations creates a deadline for filing an action. In Florida, a lawsuit must be filed within 5 years from the time the work or defect was known. Depending on the case, Florida’s statutes of limitations range from two to four years, so speak to an Orlando construction lawyer to discuss the years for your case.
Statutes of Repose
Statutes of repose create a time limit for the commencement of litigation or arbitration at a specific amount of years from the date of the act. If the owner discovers a defect in the construction just days after the time period, the owner is barred from following suit by the statute of repose. Although many states have a 10-year statute of repose, Florida has a 15 year statute of repose.
What Project Records Can Be Retained?
Storing and maintaining project documents is costly for any construction company. Large projects generate plenty of paper and electronic documents. Retain the following documents as they contain information that affects the outcome of a dispute:
- Drawings and specifications
- Project diaries
- Requests for information (RFI)
- Meeting notes and minutes
- Contracts and purchase orders
- Change orders
- Field reports
Follow a Company Document Retention Protocol
Develop and follow document retention protocol for all project documents. Check the contract to see whether the contract addresses and mandates the length of document retention, most federal contracts will include that language in the contract. Lastly, designate an employee that issues a “litigation hold” to prevent the destruction of any project documents when disputes arise.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.