What is a construction defect claim? Part 1

To a certain extent, developers rely on their contractors to deliver a finished building that is safe, up to code and free from defects. Defects in a structure can sink an entire deal because no one wants to assume responsibility for a building that does not meet safety or permitting standards. Additionally, a defective building could become a safety or health hazard. This post will go over the basics of a construction defect issue.

The essence of a construction defect claim is that the contractor or builder failed to erect the building in a reasonably workmanlike manner and thus the building does not perform as it was originally intended by the buyer (developer). Some of the more common construction defect issues are:

  • Moisture and thermal protection;
  • Expansive soils;
  • Electrical;
  • >Mechanical;
  • Structural integrity;
  • And water intrusion.

These defects are expressed in one of four categories: design, material, construction, and subsurface. This post will discuss design defects, and a later post will address the remaining three.

A design defect claim means that the plans for the building were unsound. The architect or structural engineer failed to account for a critical factor, therefore, the building is unsafe or unusable as intended. For instance, a common design defect is the structure of the roof. Many engineers build a roof, and it fails to keep moisture out, which results in a construction defect.

If you are engaged in a general contractor dispute, you should speak to an attorney. Even if you identify the issue and bring it to the attention of your general contractor, if someone is subsequently injured due to the defect, you may also be liable. It is, therefore, critical that you resolve the dispute with your contractor as soon as possible so that the defect can be addressed.


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