You have just saved up to build your dream in-law suite on your property. After months of construction, it is finished. Unfortunately, you have just discovered a construction defect. Fortunately, you may have a remedy. Read on to learn all about what construction defects are, how they arise, and what to do if you find yourself dealing with one.
What is a Construction Defect?
Construction defects arise when there is a problem with the construction or design of a building or structure. They can arise by using shoddy materials, cutting corners, or not following building codes. Construction defects can also potentially endanger people’s safety or reduce the value of the property by causing damage.
What Are Some Examples of Construction Defects?
Here are just some possible examples of defects:
- Electrical issues
- Mechanical problems
- Finishing defects
- Water intrusion
- Moisture and thermal protection
- Door and window seals
- Structural integrity
What Is The Difference Between Patent and Latent Defects?
Construction defects can be patent or latent. Both of these are defects, but the difference can affect proving that the defect was a function of the construction and not some other reason. Here is the difference:
Patent defects are generally obvious problems that basically anyone could identify. Often, these issues generally arise immediately after construction is completed.
Latent defects are not so obvious and can be difficult for most people to quickly identify. It may take a professional eye to see that there is an issue. For instance, a floor that has a slope to it would be defective, but depending on the type of defect, may not be clear to the average person. In some cases, a professional may not be able to identify the problem for some time. Some defects may not arise until time has passed–-sometimes months or even years.
Patent and latent defects are important when trying to cure the defect and submitting claims to insurance. Knowing the difference can help pinpoint the problem and develop a plan to correct it.
What is the Difference Between Defects and Manifestations of Defects?
Defects often differ from manifestations of defects. Manifestations are the apparent conduction of the structure, or a component, or the materials that are caused by the construction defect. It provides evidence of a greater problem. For instance, they may be a crack in a wall. However, the crack itself may not be the defect; it can be the manifestation of the defect. What is causing the crack? It may arise from poor structural support, shoddy materials, or improper subsurface preparation. It is important to identify both the defect as well as the manifestation of the defect itself. Correcting only the symptoms will not correct the underlying problem.
How Do Construction Defects Arise?
Here are some different ways that construction defects can come to light:
- Defective workmanship: Poor workmanship can result in a variety of problems.
- Design flaws: These are problems in the actual design. Depending on the scope of the project, an architect or engineer may be involved in designing a system or a building. If the design is wrong–even if the construction itself is sound–there can be problems.
- Material Deficiency: This defect arises from defective or damaged materials used in the construction. For instance, if a contractor uses inferior products or products of poor quality, they may not last as long. Or, a contractor could use materials that are of okay quality but have a defect.
- Lack of maintenance: Once something is constructed or installed does not mean that no attention ever has to be paid to it again. The owner needs to use or maintain the system or item properly.
When is a Problem Not the Result of a Construction Defect?
A defect that arises out of normal wear and tear is not considered a construction defect. When something is constructed, it should be designed to last. If things are beginning to break down right away, it can be a sign of a defect. However, even the most well-constructed thing will eventually show wear and tear. Deciding whether defects arise out of normal wear and tear or due to the choices of the builder can be an issue of fact for a court or jury to decide.
What Do You Do When There is a Construction Defect?
Time limitations may affect your rights to pursue a claim. Therefore, you should act promptly in consulting another lawyer.. Contact an attorney experienced with construction defects today. We present the material contained on our website and pages, including this Blog, for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you need legal or other professional advice, you should consult with legal counsel about your particular facts and circumstances. Contact us to see how we may be able to fight for you!