Building managers play an essential role in ensuring that zoning regulations, local ordinances and building regulations are complied with. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to challenge the policyholder's engineers, contractors and even building managers on applicable building regulations to reduce or prevent the payment of insurance benefits provided for in the regulation or legal coverage. While the rest of this post will discuss this issue with an emphasis on Florida law, please join me this afternoon for a live stream at 2 p.m. EST as we will discuss ordinances or law enforcement and how to combat a more frequently raised issue.
The authority of the building authority varies depending on local regulations. In general, construction officials have the authority to order the repair or restoration of any part of the home when there is a faulty construction or structural defect. 1
There are several cases in Florida that establish the design professional's responsibility for compliance with code. The design professional has a professional responsibility to prepare drawings and plans that comply with applicable building and zoning rules. 4 In addition, "
Official documents are assumed to be regular, in the absence of clear evidence to the contrary. 8 The assumption is that public officials perform their duties. 9 Here this assumption applies to Mr. Hodges fi Tasks that Treetop must rebuild to a Level 3 change to meet the requirements of the Florida Existing Building Code 2017. Measures performed by a government official that require other facts to make them legally effective are presumptive evidence of it. later. 10 The assumption that public officials perform their duties correctly must be overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. 11 Furthermore, Fla. Stat. Section 468,604 (1), entitled "Building Code Administrators' Responsibilities, Plan Inspectors and Inspectors," provides in part: "The Building Code Administrator or Building Agent shall faithfully perform these duties without interference from any person."
A major case outside of Florida is Mesaba Holdings, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Compan y. 12 Mesaba Holdings sought coverage for the cost of an upgraded firefighting system after its maintenance hangars were damaged in storm. County officials informed Mesaba that when rebuilding the hangar, it would have to meet the requirements of the building code, which required a "much more sophisticated firefighting system" than existed before the loss. The Federal claimed that the county was wrong and that Mesaba would not have to follow the building code. The court in Mesaba Holdings further emphasized the authority granted to the public official's decision and stated:
The federal argument seems to be that Wayne County officials who have been prosecuted for implementing its building code were wrong. However, this argument is not convincing. Wayne County has the right to interpret its own laws and Mesaba has no obligation to challenge its decisions, s ee Stevick v Northwest G.F. Mut. Ins. Co. 281 NW2d 60, 64 (ND1979).
In addition, an insurance company may waive its right to question a building official's orders and / or results if they do not object within a reasonable time after the results are first reported. In Algernon Blair Group, Inc. v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company 13 after a significant fire loss and its investigation, the building inspector for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County issued an order to block the area. and the remaining structure is demolished. Four days after the order, the insurer received a temporary restraining order, but it failed to question the validity of the building inspection order. When the question of the validity of the order was later raised, the eleventh circle found in favor of the insured and claimed that the insurer had waived its ability to question the validity of the order by not challenging it when it was originally presented. Specifically, the court stated:
USF & G should have made this argument in the state court during its (abandoned) attempt to obtain an injunction challenging the demolition decision. USF & G was able to challenge the demolition order; it actually got a FAITH. It could have challenged the actual conclusions of the Metro Government Code Administrator at the time by pursuing a preliminary injunction. it chose not to do so. Instead, it has waited until after the property has been demolished to question the accuracy of the order. We agree with the district court that the validity of the metro government's demolition decision must not be questioned at this late date. See e.g. Gambrell vs. Cambellsport Mutual Ins. Co ., 47 Wis.2d 483, 177 N.W.2d 313 (1970); Maryland Casualty Co. v. Frank 452 p.2d 921 (condemnation, undisputed before the local authorities, is decisive in court and sufficient to support a conclusion of total loss). 14
Every person studying this situation should also read the post on this topic by Merlin Law Group Lawyer Ed Eshoo, What constitutes an enforcement of a building ordinance or law?
Here is a link to Livefeed at 2pm. My guest will be Nick Conklin.
Thought for the day
A person must remember that the road to success is always under construction. You have to get it through your head. That it is not easy to be successful.
1 Se Thomas v. City of West Palm Beach 299 So.2d 11 (Fla. 1974
2 Se  BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. v Johnson 708 So.2d 594 (Fla. 1998); see also Florida Interexchange Carriers Ass & # 39; n v. Clark 678 So.2d 1267 (Fla. 1996); Florida Cable Television Ass & # 39; n v. Deason 635 So.2d 14 (Fla. 1994).
3 BellSouth Telecommunications 708 So.2d at 596.
4 See, e.g., Atlantic National Bank of Jacksonville v. Modular Age, Inc ., 363 So.2d 1152, 1155 (Fla. 1st DCA 1978) ("It is clearly the architect's function and responsibility to design walls that meet the code requirements … [and] to [e] ensure that the plans and specifications comply with the applicable building codes for the area where the structure is to be built."); Robsol, Inc. v. Garris 358 So.2d 865, 866 (Fla. 3d DCA 1978) (“The law is clear that an architect is obliged to take his client into account when planning site plans and drawing of buildings that comply with building and zoning regulations and other similar local ordinances. The architect is liable to his client for damages and contracts when this obligation is violated against any damage that is closely caused by such a violation. ").  5 Atlantic National Bank of Jacksonville 363 So.2d at 1155.
6 See also Whitehead v. Rizon East Ass & # 39; n, 425 So . 2d 631 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983) (despite the engineer's obvious code conformity, there is a reason for "negligent advice" regarding the design of bathroom ventilation.
7 Edward J. Seibert, AIA Architect & Planner, PA v Bayport Beach & Tennis Club Ass & # 39; n, Inc. 573 So.2d 889, 892 (Fla. 2d DCA 1990).
8 US v. Chemical Foundation 47 S.. Ct. 1 (1926).
9 Clements v. Starbird 12 So. 2d 578 (Fla. 1943); Higbee v. Housing Authority of Jacksonville 197 So. 479 (Fla. . 1940).
10 RH Stearns Co. v.US 54 S. Ct. 325 (1934).
11 NLRB v. Bibb Mfg. Co ., 188 F.2d 825 (5th Cir. 1951). See also Citizens Ins. Co. v. Barnes 124 So. 722, 724 (1929) with reference to Monteleone v. Royal Ins. Co. 47 La. Ann. 1563, 18 So 472 ("the decision of these officers should be disturbed only in very clear league grounds ").
12 Mesaba Holdings, Inc. v Fed. Ins. Co. No. 02-660, 2002 WL 31856384 (D. Minn. December 19, 2002).
13 Algernon Blair Group, Inc. v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co. 821 F.2d 597 (11 Cir. 1987).
14 Id. at 602.