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Semi-Permanent Structure Construction Dispute Basics

When building a semi-permanent dwelling, such as a manufactured home, whether assembling it on its own or on the same property as a permanent structure, you may still face construction disputes. These disputes may differ in subtle ways from those that may arise from a traditional building project. 

In this brief article, a Naples construction dispute lawyer with Cotney Construction Law shares a few things to keep in mind when assembling a semi-permanent structure, as well as how disputes and defects may differ.

Related: Dispute Resolution Best Practices in Construction Law

Common Causes for Disputes in Semi-Permanent Construction Projects

Of course, if given the chance to avoid a dispute, any contractor absolutely would, which is why it’s so important to know the common pitfalls that cause a dispute. These causes may vary from project to project. However, most construction disputes come down to one thing: one party feels that the other failed to meet a key aspect of the contract. 

A few of the most common causes for disputes in semi-permanent construction projects are as follows:

Construction Defects

While less common when assembling a manufactured structure (such as a trailer, manufactured home, or mobile home), you still may encounter construction defects.  A construction defect is any flaw in the design, workmanship, or materials of a structure that results in a failure of one or more of the structure’s components. Construction defects are covered under Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes and require the claimant, or property owner, to “serve written notice of claim on the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional, as applicable” prior to filing an action. The notice of the claim must detail “the nature of each construction defect and, if known, the damage or loss resulting from the defect.” These claims can occur weeks or even years after a construction project has concluded. 

In a semi-permanent structure, these defects can be caused by any number of issues. For example, defects may be caused by sinking soil causing sagging in the floors, roof defects, hot and cold spots, faulty wiring, air ducts that do not stay in place, and joists that were improperly installed. If you are facing accusations of a construction defect, especially in the case of a semi-permanent dwelling, a Naples construction defect attorney can help walk you through the best course of action.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide to Construction Defect Claims and How to Avoid Them

Minor or Major Delays

Delays, while common, can lead to a construction dispute. If delays are not addressed in the contract, it can create an even more frustrating situation for both the builder and the property owner as time drags on. 

Damage to the Structure

This is unique to semi-permanent dwellings that were factory-made. If the builder received the structure or major portions of the structure from a factory and it had no damage when received, but it is damaged upon installation, a dispute may arise. For example, consider a builder who is assembling a manufactured home on a lot where they are also building a permanent structure. They are therefore responsible for both the permanent and semi-permanent structures. Now, imagine that they receive the manufactured home from the factory in good condition but, during the process of anchoring the home and hooking up the plumbing, they damage the flooring and do not repair it. That can lead to a construction dispute that is frustrating for all parties involved. 

Negotiating Construction Disputes Regarding Semi-Permanent Structures

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques are becoming more and more of the preferred choice when it comes to construction disputes as a cost-effective substitute to the expensive process of litigation, saving parties both time and money.  

When it comes to resolving construction disputes, negotiations are one of the most direct approaches. However, negotiation strategies are often swept under the rug as an option because of a lack of effort. Negotiation is a voluntary, informal process in which the disputing parties must communicate directly with each other to try and reach a mutual agreement. Negotiations should be seen as a first step when it comes to resolving a construction dispute.

If negotiation doesn’t work, mediation is the next step. After that, depending on your contract, you may move to arbitration (another ADR method) or litigation. You may choose to specify ADR techniques rather than litigation in your contract, even when dealing with semi-permanent structures. This means that you may choose to require arbitration or mediation rather than litigation in the event of a dispute. A Naples construction lawyer will discuss which ADR technique, if any, you should consider including when you craft your contract. Further, your attorney will walk you through every step of the way should you face a dispute on a project involving a semi-permanent dwelling.

Related: 5 Tips for Avoiding Construction Defect Litigation

What to Do If You Face a Construction Dispute 

If you are facing a dispute on any type of project, no matter what type of building you are working on, it’s important to contact a Naples construction attorney with Cotney Construction Law as soon as possible. Your attorney will discuss the best course of action while working to preserve the relationships you have built with your clients and vendors. Not only do we advise our clients on legal matters, but we also provide a myriad of other valuable services for construction businesses, including contract review, employment law advice, and litigation and arbitration services. We also advocate for clients involved in licensing complaints, permitting issues, stop-work orders, business immigration, and more. 

If you would like to speak with a Naples construction attorney, 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.