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What do radon assessments and mitigation entail?

Radon assessments measure radon levels in residential, commercial, and public buildings to ensure they are within safe limits. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action to reduce radon levels if they are at or above four picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. In Florida, the Department of Health’s Radon and Indoor Air Program oversees radon control measures and offers guidance on radon mitigation compliance.

Mitigation compliance encompasses a set of actions required to reduce radon levels in buildings. Techniques include sealing cracks and other openings, installing ventilation systems, and utilizing radon-resistant construction materials. To maintain compliance, property owners and managers must adhere to applicable federal and Florida regulations, which mandate specific mitigation actions and may require professional services from certified radon mitigators.

Need help regarding environmental due diligence, permitting, mitigation, or compliance? Schedule your consultation today with a top environmental law attorney.

In Florida, which laws and regulations apply to radon assessments and mitigation?

Chapter 404 of the Florida Statutes establishes standards for radon-resistant construction and requires radon testing in schools. In addition, the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) contains specific provisions relating to radon control, including the following:

  1. FAC 64E-5.1201: Specifies that radon measurements must be conducted in public and private schools, with records maintained for at least five years.
  2. FAC 64E-5.1202: Details the requirements for radon-resistant construction in certain types of buildings, such as new residential, educational, and medical facilities.
  3. FAC 64E-5.1203: Outlines procedures for obtaining radon measurement and mitigation certifications and the requirements for certified individuals and businesses.

In addition to state regulations, federal guidelines, such as the EPA’s Radon Action Plan, influence radon mitigation practices in Florida. While not legally binding, the EPA’s recommendations serve as a framework for creating effective radon control strategies and provide resources for property owners seeking to reduce radon levels in their buildings.

What are common issues regarding radon assessments and mitigation that lead to litigation?

The following issues are among the most common in actions regarding radon assessments and mitigation in environmental law matters:

  • Inadequate testing procedures: Property owners or managers may sometimes fail to conduct radon assessments according to state and federal guidelines, leading to inaccurate measurements and potential legal disputes.
  • Failure to mitigate: When radon levels exceed the acceptable limit, the responsible party may neglect appropriate mitigation actions, exposing occupants to health risks and potential litigation.
  • Non-compliance with construction standards: Builders and developers may construct buildings without adhering to radon-resistant building codes and regulations, resulting in elevated radon levels and potential lawsuits.
  • Misrepresentation during property transactions: Sellers and real estate agents may misrepresent radon levels or fail to disclose known radon issues, leading to disputes and potential legal action.
  • Negligence in hiring certified professionals: Property owners or managers might hire unqualified or uncertified individuals to perform radon assessments or mitigation, potentially resulting in ineffective measures and increased legal risks.

When a set of facts is appropriate for legal intervention, there are many paths a claimant may take. We are value-based attorneys at Jimerson Birr, which means we look at each action with our clients from the point of view of costs and benefits while reducing liability. Then, based on our client’s objectives, we chart a path to seek appropriate remedies.

To determine whether your unique situation may necessitate litigation, please contact our office to set up your initial consultation.

What claims about radon assessments and mitigation do plaintiffs generally bring to court, and what are common legal defenses to those claims?

Common claims that real estate developers and businesses face related to radon assessments and mitigation compliance include:

  • Negligence in conducting radon assessments or mitigation
  • Breach of contract for failing to provide a safe environment
  • Violations of state or federal regulations
  • Misrepresentation or fraud in property transactions

Common legal defenses real estate developers and businesses raise against claims related to radon assessments and mitigation compliance include:

  • Compliance with applicable standards: Defendants may argue that they have met or exceeded the required radon assessment and mitigation standards, thus negating any claims of negligence or regulatory violations.
  • Lack of causation: Defendants may contend that the plaintiff’s alleged damages were not directly caused by their actions or omissions related to radon assessments or mitigation.
  • Statute of limitations: In some cases, defendants may assert that the plaintiff’s claim is time-barred if not filed within the legally prescribed period.
  • Contributory negligence: Defendants may claim that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the damages, potentially reducing or eliminating the defendant’s liability.

Please contact our office to set up your initial consultation to see what actions or defenses may be available for your unique situation.

What are effective measures to minimize the risk of litigation over radon assessments and mitigation?

Consider implementing the following measures:

  • Adhere to federal and state guidelines: Follow guidelines and requirements set forth by the Florida Department of Health and the EPA to ensure that radon assessments and mitigation efforts comply with applicable regulations.
  • Hire certified professionals: Engage qualified and certified professionals to conduct radon assessments and mitigation, reducing the likelihood of negligence claims and ensuring accurate results.
  • Maintain proper documentation: Keep comprehensive records of radon testing results, mitigation efforts, and any relevant correspondence to demonstrate compliance and provide evidence in case of legal disputes.
  • Educate and train staff: Provide appropriate training to property managers and maintenance staff to ensure they know radon assessment and mitigation requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance.
  • Disclose radon information: During property transactions, transparently disclose any known radon issues and the steps taken to address them to avoid claims of misrepresentation or fraud.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the acceptable radon levels in Florida, and when is mitigation necessary?

The EPA recommends addressing radon levels of four pCi/L or higher through mitigation. While Florida does not have a specific radon action level, the Florida Department of Health generally follows the EPA’s recommendation.

  1. Are radon-resistant construction techniques required in Florida?

Florida does not have a statewide requirement for radon-resistant construction techniques. However, some local jurisdictions may require such techniques in their building codes. Therefore, it is advisable to consult local regulations and best practices to ensure compliance.

  1. Who is responsible for radon assessments and mitigation in rental properties?

In Florida, landlords are responsible for ensuring that their properties meet habitability standards, which include maintaining a safe and healthy environment. This responsibility may extend to addressing radon issues, depending on the terms of the lease and applicable regulations.

Have more questions about an environmental law-related situation?

Crucially, this overview of radon assessments and mitigation does not begin to cover all the laws implicated by this issue or the factors that may compel the application of such laws. Every case is unique, and the laws can produce different outcomes depending on the individual circumstances.

Jimerson Birr attorneys guide our clients to help make informed decisions while ensuring their rights are respected and protected. Our lawyers are highly trained and experienced in the nuances of the law, so they can accurately interpret statutes and case law and holistically prepare individuals or companies for their legal endeavors. Through this intense personal investment and advocacy, our lawyers will help resolve the issue’s complicated legal problems efficiently and effectively.

Having a Jimerson Birr attorney on your side means securing a team of seasoned, multi-dimensional, cross-functional legal professionals. Whether it is a transaction, an operational issue, a regulatory challenge, or a contested legal predicament that may require court intervention, we remain tireless advocates at every step. Being a value-added law firm means putting the client at the forefront of everything we do. We use our experience to help our clients navigate even the most complex problems and come out the other side triumphant.

If you want to understand your case, the merits of your claim or defense, potential monetary awards, or the amount of exposure you face, you should speak with a qualified Jimerson Birr lawyer. Our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. Call Jimerson Birr at (904) 389-0050 or use the contact form to schedule a consultation.

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