Construction defects can range from issues in the design, planning, furnishing and even inspection of a project. In general, if the builder fails to construct a building or home that meets the needs of the buyer, then there is a construction defect. If litigation results, then the court will most likely place the defects into one of four categories: design deficiencies, material deficiencies, construction deficiencies and subsurface deficiencies.
As a construction contractor, you may find yourself in a position where you have to fight back against a construction defect claim. However, knowing about the most common kinds of construction defects can help you avoid them.
When you design a structure, it typically has to fall within a certain building code and function in a specified way. If the building fails to meet these requirements, such as not providing appropriate support, then a design deficiency might exist.
As a builder, it is important that you use building materials that are up to standard. By using subpar materials, you can end up with windows that leak, supports that deteriorate too quickly or drywall that can't withstand normal wear and tear. When a contractor uses inferior construction materials, then the court might consider the defects to be material deficiencies.
When contractors and subcontractors use poor workmanship, the defects might fall into the construction deficiencies category in the eyes of the court. For example, if workers do not complete the installation of the water system properly, it could cause mold to grow throughout the structure.
A solid foundation makes a difference in the soundness of a structure. If a contractor builds on a foundation that is not solid, it can lead to subsurface deficiencies such as cracks in the concrete foundation, wall separation and many other problems. When the subsurface conditions of a building do not receive the proper preparation, the structure will not settle correctly and could be prone to flooding and other destructive events.
By understanding the risk of the above construction defects, you can take the appropriate steps to protect yourself from becoming involved in a lawsuit. However, if you find yourself facing such a suit, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options.
Source: Findlaw, "Types of Construction Defects," accessed Oct. 25, 2017