Florida Building Inspector Defense Attorney

Has someone filed an Administrative Complaint against your building inspector license in Florida? Are you worried about what this means for your professional reputation and future career? A complaint made against a licensed Florida building inspector or other licensed professional can have detrimental consequences that include fines, a restriction on services allowed, damage to reputation, and even a revocation of license.

No matter how insignificant or minor the complaint might seem, you must take this complaint seriously. As soon as you get word of a complaint filed against you, contact an experienced professional license attorney immediately to help protect your license, future career, and reputation.

What is a Building Inspector?

Building inspectors are employed by the state, city, or county and are responsible for making professional judgments on whether buildings meet code requirements and safety standards. “Building inspector” is a type of “building code inspector” that’s defined under Florida Statute 468.603(4) as:

 

“…Any of those employees of local governments or state agencies, or any person contracted, with building construction regulation responsibilities who themselves conduct inspections of building construction, erection, repair, addition, or alteration projects that require permitting indicating compliance with building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, gas, fire prevention, energy, accessibility, and other construction codes as required by state law or municipal or county ordinance.”

Why Is It Important for Building Inspectors to Have a Valid License in Florida?

Building inspectors cannot legally perform their job without a valid Florida license. A building inspector license ensures qualification for the role. It demonstrates that the inspector has fulfilled education and experience standards, and understands the building code and regulations they must uphold. Being licensed is proof that a building inspector can be relied on to meticulously adhere to safety standards that ultimately protects the general public.

At The Umansky Law Firm, we’ve helped numerous building inspectors and professionals contest complaints and possibly lose their licenses.

For example, Umansky professional defense attorneys can help if:

  • A competitor made a complaint against you.
  • You are a building inspector whose reputation is being called into question.
  • You are facing a probable cause hearing, administrative hearing, or a board determination.

Complaints against building inspectors can risk their license and livelihood. If you’re facing an Administrative Complaint, do not delay seeking trusted legal defense.

Who Licenses Building Inspectors in Florida?

The state of Florida requires building inspectors to be licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR). The Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board, under the DBPR, is responsible for administering exams, reviewing complaints, and issuing licenses to Florida building inspectors. Before a person qualifies for the examination to be a licensed Florida building inspector, they must demonstrate that they have at least four years of construction or inspections experience.

What Are Common Complaints Against Building Inspectors That Could Result in Disciplinary Action?

A complaint is used to seek disciplinary or other action against a person’s license. Administrative Complaints are appropriate to inform the DBPR of a violation of law or administrative rule that may require some sort of penalty against the building inspector.

Any consumer or competitor could file a complaint against a licensed building inspector in Florida. For the complaint to be legally satisfactory, it must include facts that demonstrate a violation. Reasons for doing so varies, but common complaints include grounds related to:

  • Unsafe building structures
  • Maintenance issue violations
  • Working without a valid license
  • Misallocation of funds
  • Project abandonment
  • Neglect to obtain proper permits
  • Negligent inspection
  • Negligence resulting in injury or significant property damage

What Does the Complainant Fill Out?

Anyone who wishes to file a complaint against a licensed Florida building inspector would do so by contacting the DBPR and completing a Uniform Complaint Form. Complainants may also file a subsequent complaint with the Florida Attorney General by completing a Uniform Complaint Form.

How Does the Administrative Complaint Process Work in Florida?

After the DBPR receives a complaint against a licensed building inspector, the complaint is reviewed by an investigator who will further examine your case. The investigation includes gathering information used in determining whether the complaint has sufficient legal grounds to proceed.

Information gathered during a DBPR investigation generally includes:

  • Interviewing complainants
  • Interviewing the subject of the complaint
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Issuing subpoenas
  • Recording sworn statements
  • Gathering documented evidence
  • Readying reports

As a licensed Florida building inspector, it is highly advised that you secure experienced legal counsel as soon as possible to help you create a response to the inquiry. A knowledgeable lawyer can often close the investigation before it moves forward and becomes a public record – saving you and your reputation from damage.

The Probable Cause Panel Reviews the Complaint

If the DBPR investigation procures enough information to move the complaint forward, it will be reviewed by a Probable Cause Panel. That will typically involve members of the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board, who consider the information and evidence associated with the complaint.

Throughout this process, it’s essential that you have your license defense lawyer, and you do not try to manage it on your own.

The panel review may lead to three possible results:

  • Finding no probable cause: a dismissal of the case
  • Issuing a letter of guidance: the panel finds that a minor violation did occur
  • Issuing a formal Administrative Complaint: the most severe of outcomes

A finding of “no probable cause” means there was not enough evidence to prove that you violated any rule or regulation. A “letter of guidance” is not a disciplinary action, but can still damage your reputation. If a formal Administrative Complaint is issued against you, the Administrative Complaint process moves forward to the next step.

Process of the Administrative Complaint

An Administrative Complaint against you describes the evidence and information against you found during the investigation, along with the specific laws or regulations that you’re accused of violating. At this point, the complaint becomes public record. Even if the claim is tossed out, your reputation as a professional building inspector could be damaged. After consulting with your lawyer, you can decide whether you want to attend an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.

Informal Hearing

If you choose to proceed with an Informal Hearing, you do not wish to disagree with any of the allegations against you, nor do you want to disclose any new evidence. Instead, you’re accepting the claims, and you’ll face the FDOH and the Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board, where they’ll make a final decision on penalties that will be imposed levied against you.

Formal Hearing

If you wish to dispute the accusations and evidence found against you during the investigation, you proceed with a Formal Hearing. This hearing is before Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) and is chaired by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ hears the evidence from both sides and makes a final Recommended Order to the Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board. The Board then makes a final decision regarding disciplinary actions.

You can appeal the decision by filing a petition for judicial review if your building inspector’s license is suspended or revoked. Your attorney is your most valued support when going through this process – always consult with them before making final decisions.

How Can a Professional License Defense Lawyer Help?

At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional license defense team investigates every case in detail to find the relevant facts and the most efficient way to protect your Florida building inspector license. Occasionally, complaints against building inspectors can go to criminal court and face criminal charges. Having a skilled criminal lawyer who handles professional license defense is the highest priority.

Umansky attorneys can help you in many ways, including:

 

  • Examine the complaint against you and build a defense by securing evidence, documents, and witnesses that help you
  • Prevent you from incriminating yourself as you defend against the accusations
  • Defend against potential criminal charges that may arise from the complaint
  • Determine the motive or bias behind the person who made the complaint against you
  • Help you respond to the Probable Cause Investigation by securing documents, witnesses, and other methods to determine there is no probable cause for the complaint
  • Help to try and get the complaint dismissed by the Probable Cause Panel
  • Argue that a guidance letter is better than a prosecution
  • Mitigate any potential punishments the FDOH may want to take
  • Present evidence, witnesses, and cross-examine state’s witnesses at a formal review hearing
  • Dispute the findings at an informal review hearing
  • Appeal the hearing

Contact Experienced Building Inspector Defense Attorneys in Orlando

If you have been cited for committing an act where the state may take your license or suspend your business activities, call The Umansky Law Firm to fight for you. As experienced trial lawyers, we can help you build a robust defense against the charges you face that may include dismissal of the citation, complaint, or claim against you. Because we have a criminal defense background that includes government agencies, construction, fraud, and other crimes, we are prepared to defend you in the administrative action and help you avoid license suspension and criminal prosecution.

 

The Umansky Law Firm attorneys include former prosecutors, defense attorneys, and some have experience working directly for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. To speak with an administrative lawyer today about your Florida building inspector license, complete an online contact form or call at (407) 228-3838.