Tall buildings tend to catch people’s attention in any city—even more so if they seem to literally scrape the sky, towering over the structures around them. Buildings with many stories also give property owners and developers the opportunity to rent out their space for a variety of uses—office buildings, storefronts, storage spaces, etc., which can expand existing business models and promote growth. However, for developers who want to utilize land and space around a Florida airport, height considerations become incredibly important in determining how a proposed project will pan out.

One of the biggest concerns in planning a building near an airport is whether the building will be a hazard to incoming and outgoing aircraft. Determining what constitutes a “hazard” is typically left to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is important for builders and developers to understand how these determinations are made, to avoid having to make drastic changes to a proposed building, or having to scrap a project altogether.

Before beginning a project near an airspace, the developer files a Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration, depending on what the project entails. This notice is required by the FAA if the planned building will be more than 200 feet about ground level, or will exist within the space known as the airport’s “imaginary surfaces”—all the space surrounding the ends and sides of the airport runways. This notice helps the FAA begin its investigation into whether the building will obstruct air traffic in or out of the airport.

Based on its investigation, the FAA can either determine that a building is an “obstruction to air navigation” or not. If a building is found to be an obstruction, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the building is a hazard, but that further investigation will be needed to determine whether the plans will impact flight patterns and safety.

What Can You Do?

If the FAA has determined that a proposed building is a presumed hazard to air safety, the developer can take a few steps to ensure that this presumption is handled appropriately. In order to be declared a hazard, the FAA must prove that there will be a significant adverse effect, meaning that the building’s existence will be detrimental to more than planes, flight patterns, or operations. However, in most cases, the FAA will work with the developers to minimize the hazardous elements. Options to make a proposed building safer could include changing materials, reducing glares, and utilizing lighting.

Consult an Attorney Today

Building safety is critical in any new development, and maintaining the proper heights for the area is a significant part of that. If your construction plans have been halted due to concerns about height requirements, or if you are struggling to obtain approvals to resume building, contact a Florida construction litigation lawyer at Lubell Rosen today. Our attorneys can help you navigate any claims made against your construction plans and determine how best to respond.