Associations in some newly built condominium buildings have begun to send out 558 notices regarding their fire sprinkler installations.
Chapter 558, Florida’s Construction Defect Statute, has been in place since 2003 and many contractors are used to receiving these notices issued as the first step in advising that some problem may exist with finished work. While bothersome, the approach has provided contractors and design professionals a mechanism to try to resolve any claims of alleged defects prior to suit being filed.
Recent changes in this law now require claimants sending out 558 notices to be more detailed in setting out the alleged defects and to also include the insurance companies of the contractors and designers in each notice. Other revisions involve the broadening of the term “completion” to now include issuance of a temporary certificate of occupancy, the need to note the location of any alleged defect, and the submission of documentary evidence in support of the claimed defect (along with the right of a party to assert any privilege that would prevent such disclosure).
All in all, these changes do a good job of reinforcing the intent behind the statute – resolution versus litigation of any defect claim.
Given the current litigation surrounding fire sprinkler systems, installers can expect more 558 notices regarding the use of CPVC pipe in their installations.