Q: I inherited an office building that may not be up to code. How do I find out if it is code compliant and what should I do if it isn’t?
A: First, search for records at the city/county building permits office. Since codes change, a building that meets code when built is often “grandfathered” in. If you suspect it did not meet code when constructed, contact an attorney to determine whether you have a viable claim against those involved in its construction. Public records indicate who applied for permits. Associated documents—often attached to construction records—name those involved in construction. There are different statues of limitation for different claims (e.g. breach of contract or negligence). These begin when the problem is discovered, or reasonably should have been discovered. There is also a 10-year construction statute of repose that bars construction-related claims regardless of when the problem was discovered.
Originally published in the Portland Business Journal.