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What are construction defects?

There is perhaps no more exciting time for a homeowner or commercial developer than seeing construction crews hard at work erecting the structures that they have invested so much time, money and energy into making a reality.

Unfortunately, this euphoria can rapidly subside in the event serious problems start to emerge shortly after the completion of construction, seriously compromising the overall value and stability of the structure.   

What exactly is a construction defect?

In general, courts recognize construction defects as any failure of the structure to perform in a manner reasonably intended by the homeowner/developer, or any failure to build the structure in a reasonable workmanlike manner (i.e., it wasn't built with the skill and efficiency exemplified by the typical builder).  

Furthermore, construction defects can also include flaws in the design, planning, inspection, supervision of the building of the structure.

Are there different types of construction defects?

Yes, most courts classify construction defects in one of four groupings, including material deficiencies, design deficiencies, construction deficiencies and subsurface deficiencies.

What are material deficiencies?  

As its name implies, material deficiencies typically involve the use of substandard building supplies that fail to perform their intended function despite being installed properly. Problems typically arise with materials such as windows, roofing shingles, drywall, flashing, particle board and building paper to name only a few.

What are design deficiencies?

Design deficiencies typically occur when industry professionals like engineers or architects deviate from the blueprints and/or work outside of the applicable building code. A common example of a design defect is a roof showing evidence of water intrusion, insufficient structural support or substandard drainage.

We'll continue to explore this important topic in future construction law posts. In the meantime, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you would like to learn more about your options for pursuing or defending a construction defect claim.

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