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Important Notices for Coastal Construction Part 1

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The State of Florida is renowned for its scenic coastal communities. Coastal development presents contractors with an opportunity to work on well-respected and remunerative projects. If contractors want to be successful when working on coastal construction, they must be cognizant of the unique needs of these projects.

In this two-part article, a West Palm construction lawyer will discuss an array of important notices regarding coastal construction to help contractors meet the necessary legal requirements for coastal construction in the Sunshine State.

Characteristics of Coastal Areas

By definition, coastal construction involves building structures in close proximity to bodies of salt water, which presents unique challenges throughout the construction timeline and after the project has reached completion. On top of that, Florida building codes designate which areas require specialized considerations as governed by Florida’s Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL). As a result, all contractors partaking in coastal construction projects must understand what makes these types of projects so markedly different from inland projects.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the factors that make coastal construction unique include:

  • Increased Flooding: coastal areas are impacted by flood levels, velocities, and wave action more significantly than inland areas.
  • Coastal Erosion: coastal areas are often more erosion prone than inland areas which can lead to the destruction of land, roads, utilities, and infrastructure.
  • Powerful Winds: coastal areas generally experience stronger winds thus requiring sturdier engineering. This includes the use of superior building connections and additional fastening when installing sheathing, siding, and roof shingles.
  • Corrosion and Decay: the increased chance of wind-driven rain can result in more corrosion and decay.
  • Extreme Conditions: as a rule of thumb, buildings in coastal areas will contend with a higher degree of environmental pressure, therefore, requiring superior construction and more maintenance. As a result, increased costs related to design, construction, maintenance, repairs, and insurance are characteristic of coastal construction projects.

Indicators of Successful Coastal Building

In addition to the characteristics of coastal areas, FEMA published four important pillars of a successful coastal building including:

  • Designed to maintain structural integrity through coastal forces and conditions. (2017 Florida Building Codes, Section 3109)
  • The constructed building must meet all the approved criteria included in the design specifications.
  • To avoid the chance of erosion undermining the building, the building must be built on an approved site.
  • Coastal buildings must be maintained and repaired to ensure the ongoing success of the structure.

In part two, a West Palm construction attorney from Cotney Construction will expand on Florida’s CCCL and briefly cover some of the recommended practices for residential contractors working on coastal construction projects.

If you would like to speak with a West Palm construction lawyer about the legalities of coastal construction in Florida, please contact us today.

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.