The Value of an Expert Witness in Construction Disputes

It’s not uncommon for there to be disagreements among stakeholders about how a building should be designed or which aesthetic features should go where. Productive debates about how the building should best function are valuable to a build and can make the project better.


Unfortunately it’s also not uncommon for disagreements to escalate into full-out disputes. These disputes can be between business partners, contractors, insurance companies, and any other partner who has something to gain (or lose!) from the dispute. Construction disputes can be fueled during the construction process or long after – when something with the building goes wrong.


What makes someone an expert witness?


A construction expert witness is someone who has extensive knowledge and experience in the construction industry. Even more relevant is when they have expertise in a given locale because then they are well-versed on city, county, and state permitting requirements, building code compliance measures, and other important building considerations specific to an area – and in South Florida, there are many.


An expert witness in construction disputes can speak objectively about construction methodologies, materials used in the build, as well as processes or technologies used during construction that are relevant to the dispute or legal case.


When do you need an expert witness for construction disputes?


An expert witness can be valuable for resolving construction disputes because they can lay bare the facts related to their area of expertise – construction.


Whether the dispute is taken to court or resolved out of court via mediation, having a construction expert provide testimony is valuable to both parties as the expert can explain important industry specifics relevant to the case.


For example, we’ve seen construction disputes with insurance companies who have failed to cover the cost of building damage in an appropriate timeframe. The insurance company’s failure to act on the claim caused the roof’s fire-rated board to become saturated in water, which in turn meant that the building no longer met the fire code.


Further, because of the issue with the insurance company, the property owner then needed to take down all of the ceilings and put back new fire-rated board, which exacerbated the costs and timeline for repair. Now at issue was the need for money to cover the original roof, plus the additional time and expense required to take it all down, fix the fire rating, and put it all back up.


As an expert witness in this construction dispute, we were able to discuss the building materials and how they function, code regulations applicable to commercial builds in Florida, and the timeline and costs associated with the damage.


If you have questions about what an expert witness does or need one to resolve your construction dispute, contact us at Seacoast Construction.

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