Developers and construction firms often elect to use heavy equipment, blasting or pile driving in the performance of their construction projects. If your property is in close proximity to a construction project where heavy equipment, pile driving or blasting is being used, your property may incur damage related to the vibration caused by these activities.
If you believe your property has sustained damage due to vibration-related sources, you can assess whether your damage was the result of vibration by using any of the following methods:
Pre-Construction Condition Surveys – Prior to beginning the construction project, the contractor most likely prepared a pre-construction condition survey of the properties adjacent to the construction project in order to document any existing damage to the properties. This document may include photos and/or video of the properties, along with notations of any existing damage. This document or report is usually available from the building contractor or developer.
Seismograph Reports – A seismograph can be used to monitor the vibrations being caused by the construction activities and to document the intensity of the vibration. An analysis of this data would help determine whether the vibration intensities reached a level that could have caused damage to your property.
Historical Data – In some instances, there may be historical data as to the intensity of vibration caused by the use of certain equipment. If such information is available, it may not be necessary to use a seismograph to assess the intensity of the vibration caused by specific construction activities. This historical data may then be further analyzed in relation to the distance between your property and the equipment being used.
Property Inspection – The inspection of your property is the easiest and most obvious manner by which to assess whether your property has incurred damage from construction-related vibration. Most importantly, you must determine whether the current visible damage pre-existed the use of the vibration-causing equipment by the construction company. Clearly, if the damage to your property existed prior to the beginning of the vibration causing activities, the damage is not the result of such activities.
If you believe your property has been damaged by the use of heavy equipment, pile driving, blasting, or any other vibration inducing activities, you should contact an attorney with experience handling vibration damage claims. Our firm has handled vibration damage claims on behalf of both residential and commercial property owners.
Now that the hurricane season has officially begun, the prevention of wind damage should be on the forefront of every Floridian’s mind. Although there is nothing we can do to prevent hurricanes or other storms from occurring, there are steps we can take to minimize the damage these storms cause to our homes and property.
The first step is to inspect your roof for any loose, damaged or missing shingles. This pre-existing damage makes your roof more susceptible to damage once the storm winds begin. While inspecting your roof, also check your attic for swollen wood or moisture that could indicate a leak in the roof. Also check your windows and doors for maintenance issues and verify that the caulking to your windows and door jambs is in good condition. These simple steps could save you thousands of dollars in damage repairs once the wind begins to blow and water starts looking for a way to get into your house and cause damage.
You should also check your property for dangerous looking limbs and branches. Wind is Mother Nature’s way of pruning, so check trees on your property for potential hazards. If any limbs are hanging over your home and looking as if they may be dead or damaged, these limbs should be removed immediately in order to avoid wind damage.
The Beaufort Wind Scale, as set forth by the University of North Carolina, has set forth the following guidelines for the damage expected to be caused by the following wind speeds:
39 MPH – Gale force winds; twigs and small branches blown off trees.
47 MPH – Strong gale force winds; minor structural damage may occur, such as shingles blown off roof.
55 MPH – Storm winds; trees can be uprooted and structural damage is likely.
64 MPH – Violent storm; widespread damage to structures.
74 MPH+ – Hurricane force winds.
As indicated by the guidelines above, even a minor wind storm can cause a substantial amount of damage to your home and property. Although our firm stands ready to assist Florida property owners with any wind damage insurance claims they may have, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and the performance of a few pre-emptive steps may help to prevent headaches from wind damage down the road.