Hurricane Preparation and Construction Defects’ Pitfalls and Successes

Hurricane Preparation and Construction Defects’ Pitfalls and Successes

Published July 2022

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Preparing for the Expected!—Florida Hurricane Season Has Arrived 
By Marty Platts

     Disaster plans are not a one-size-fits-all. Many plans depend on if your community is an HOA, a condominium, a cooperative, a mobile home park, or a timeshare. 

     However, regardless of your type of community, following are some of the steps you should take to protect the association’s property and assets pre-storm:

  1. Make sure the association’s official records are uploaded to the cloud
  2. Take a paper photocopy of all insurance policies
  3. Take photos of the exterior of the buildings and all landscaping
  4. Gather the contact information for all the residents to reach them after the storm
  5. Ensure that empty units/dwellings are not left exposed to the elements
  6. Make a list of volunteers to assist in putting away pool furniture
  7. Make a list of the priority of relief services provided
  8. Review your management contract provisions for extraordinary relief services.

     Don’t wait until it is rush time. Assign some of the above suggested steps to various members of your board and management. Effective communication and a robust plan will ensure that your community will be prepared for any storm. Stay calm and stay safe. 

     Marty Platts is senior attorney with Becker. For more information, visit

Construction Defect Pitfalls and What You Have Not Considered
By Neal McCulloh

     When dealing with construction defects, various association “duties” imposed by the governing documents and the Florida Statutes can be overlooked. For example, the association may be required to obtain owner approval to commence the appropriate lawsuit. Likewise, the association needs to determine whether it (or the owners) bear the responsibility for making appropriate claims and implementing the repairs. As such, please ensure you appreciate the demarcation of responsibilities, including whether the individual owners (as opposed to the association) are the proper parties to make and pursue all or some of the claims. Even if the owners are the proper parties, the association may be able to pursue such claims as a class action. Consequently, consider whether your law firm handles (and has been approved to handle) class action lawsuits. Lastly, funding the repairs is always an issue. As such, you may want to evaluate whether your law firm may take the case on contingency, as we do.

     Neal McCulloh is founding and senior partner at Clayton & McCulloh P.A. For more information, visit

Successful Defect Claims Start with Independent Experts, Directors After Turnover 
By Nicholas D. Siegfried

     Turnover of association control from a developer to the non-developer unit owners is one of the most critical phases for a condominium. To help ensure an effective and complete transition, the newly elected board of unit owners must analyze the relationship between the developer and current board members, attorneys, and professional engineers. 

     The board should retain independent counsel experienced with turnover and construction defects to guide it through this important process. In hiring a professional engineer and attorney, it is essential to inquire whether they have ever worked for the developer or any of its affiliates. 

     The board members who become involved at this stage will make a lasting impact on their community, and they have one shot at getting it right. The long-term success of a condominium starts by forming a competent and independent team to hold the developer, construction, and design group accountable for any construction and design defects.

     Nicholas D. Siegfried is a shareholder with the South Florida law firm of Siegfried Rivera who is board certified as an expert in construction law. For more information, visit,, or call 1-800-737-1390. 

Changes to Florida Building Code Puts Community Associations in a Difficult Situation
By Larry Moskowitz, Esq.

     The new law signed into effect by Governor DeSantis last week is the culmination of insurance companies’ efforts to greatly reduce roof claims. The new law substantially changed the Florida Building Code. The old rule stated that if there are more than 25 percent repairs to a roof within a 12-month period, the roof must be replaced rather than repaired. The new rule states that the “25 percent rule” does not apply to a roof that is less than 15 years old, or if the roof is determined to have at least five years of useful life remaining. A roof replacement is generally a major expense in a property claim, especially after a hurricane, storm, or other weather events. As a result of this change in the law, all community associations should be reviewing their current insurance policy and the status of their roof and evaluating their current reserves to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. 

     Larry Moskowitz, Esq. is managing partner at Larry Moskowitz, PA. For more information and solutions regarding changes in the law, call 844-88-WINDY (94639) or visit