Construction Defect Attorney Near Me – Top Examples of Common Defects

Construction projects usually have several different parties involved such as a builder, engineer, contractor, etc. to take care of its various stages. Due to these interconnected role players, in the event of discovering a construction defect, getting it adjusted can be quite hard for a property owner. Therefore, the best strategy here is to have a construction defect attorney by your side.

Whether a property is new or old, finding a construction defect in it can become a nightmare for the owners. Aside from diminishing the value of the property by a significant proportion, it can also become a cause for many troubles.

In such a case, the immediate person to report for an adjustment of a construction defect claim is the developer or the builder, although it might not prove to be helpful. This means that in some situations, a property owner might have to resort to hiring a construction defect attorney to start a litigation process.

And while finding a construction defect attorney is as simple as searching for construction defect attorney near me to get a list of lawyers that specialize in construction-related legal disputes, you need to understand a few basic insights on construction defects.

This article explains, from a property owner’s perspective, about construction defects, who is involved and why it can take time to adjust, statutory limitations in construction defect claims, who should be sued, and examples of construction defect claims.

What is a construction defect?

Construction defects usually mean a defect that results from a failure –

  • in using or applying professional acumen, knowledge, and best practices while designing the building plans, details as to material and workmanship, and guidelines for the project;
  • to abide by the construction details as prescribed or provided in the building designs and material usage plans by the architecture and engineer for a construction project; and
  • in exercising professional workmanship and using below-standard material while using and applying the material, systems, building plan details, and equipment during the construction process of a property.

All these three failures show negligence and deficiencies at various stages of the construction process. This subsequently could result in affecting any components of the building, reduction in useful life of mechanical systems, and possible impairment of structural integrity.

How can a construction defect attorney help a property owner in case of a construction defect?

A construction defect attorney is a lawyer who specializes in litigating on behalf of clients facing issues related to construction or structural defects caused due to negligence or use of poor grade material and workmanship.

Why hiring a construction defect attorney is important for a property owner?

Construction defects tend to have complex nature and so it is not easy to identify them on a timely basis or in the correct manner. Some construction defects become visible within a short time in a newly constructed property while others may take years to reveal themselves.

On the other hand, the homeowner and the developer might not also agree on whether an issue constitutes a construction defect or not.

As a preliminary step, a construction defect lawyer can help the affected property owner in identifying the nature of the defect. This means finding out whether a defect is patent or latent.

What is a patent construction defect?

A patent construction defect is a defect that becomes visible through normal inspection or that is already known.

What is a latent construction defect?

A latent construction defect may intentionally or unintentionally have been hidden or concealed, making its discovery difficult through normal inspection or observation.

Who is involved in a construction process and why can it take time to adjust construction defect claims?

In every construction process, several parties are involved, each having a contractual relationship with the other to work in a specific but interconnected stage of the project. Examples of these parties and their relationships with each other can be explained as follows –

  • A developer hires an architect to design the basic plans of the construction.
  • The architect consults a civil engineer to ascertain the feasibility of the designs, drawings, and plans.
  • The developer hires a construction attorney to get the paperwork approved from relevant building and housing authorities and agencies to begin the construction phase.
  • The developer hires a contractor to execute the plans as designed by the architect, which were reviewed by the civil engineer, and then finally approved by the concerned federal, state, or area departments.
  • The contractor hires subcontractors for carrying out any specific jobs such as plumbing, electric wiring, etc. for the whole project.

Due to the existence of these relationships in a single construction project, liabilities pass and spread on several parties. Establishing the fact as to which party should be held responsible for a breach or construction defect could easily delay the claim adjustment process if the normal procedure is followed.

Thus, to speed things up, hiring a well-experienced construction defect attorney should always be preferred.

Categories of construction defects

Broadly speaking, all construction defect claims can be put into three main categories. These are –

  1. Defects in design
  2. Defects in material
  3. Defects in workmanship

Defects in design

Defects can occur at any stage of the designing process. But since the design and drawing plans pass through an architect, engineer, attorney, and agencies for approval, they should be easy to identify.

Still, some defects could go unnoticed and could later result in a construction defect.

Defects in material

Materials used in a construction project could also be defective. Several factors could become a cause of material defects. These can be –

  • It is possible that the person in charge of the material procurement intentionally purchased poor quality to save costs.
  • It is also possible that the supplier with or without knowledge delivered a sub-standard material.
  • And lastly, the inherent nature of the material used wasn’t deemed fit for the purpose it was used.

Defects in workmanship

Defects in workmanship arise due to the failure in complying with the actual designs, construction plans, and even regulations or bylaws, during any stage of the construction process.

For example, not having a professional employed to supervise the project or failure to carry out regular inspections and approvals before proceeding with the next stage of the project, etc.

Common examples of construction defects

The following is a list of construction defect claims that fall under the above three categories.

  • Water leaks from windows, doors, wall cracks, or ceilings during rains.
  • Faults in plumbing that result in leakage or proper drainage of wastewater.
  • Cracks in tile flooring on the inside, garage area, or patio area.
  • Unleveled layering of tiles resulting in accumulation of water in particular regions of the floor. Thus, requiring it to be wiped towards the drain instead of it flowing to the drain itself.
  • Moisture problems due to bad waterproofing.
  • Noticeable space between countertops, cabinets, and wardrobe units in the kitchen and the bathroom, respectively.
  • Open electrical wiring resulting in injury and making use of power sockets unsafe.
  • Drywall having stains on ceilings or windowsills.
  • Paint cracks and peeling appearing on the drywall and/or stucco due to changes in weather or the presence of other defects.
  • Squeaking of doors and windows making them difficult to open and close.
  • Improper finishing.

Examples of construction defect claims

An owner of a commercial, residential, or industrial property might file a lawsuit for construction defect claims in the following instances –

Breach of contract

A developer specifically states and takes full responsibility for exercising due diligence in making sure that the property being sold was constructed using the best possible practices and is fit for the use as mentioned in the contract of sale or as intended by the buyer.

However, upon using the buyer discovers a significant breach of the developer’s duties and therefore files a claim.

Breach of warranty

Breach of warranty arises when the developer deliberately or non-deliberately fails to make good claim for a construction defect discovered within the time stipulated within and which is covered under a warranty provision.

End thoughts

Construction defects could take years to discover and so the question of judging the suitability of filing a claim may arise.

Generally, the statute of repose and statute of limitations apply in such matters. However, these laws vary according to each state. Therefore, while finding the right type of construction defect attorney, make sure that he is well experienced to provide legal counseling in your area.

Your attorney should know how to frame your case if a defect is found after many years of construction, how construction businesses work, and what practices are followed which usually either result in defects or prevent them from occurring.

A well-versed construction defect attorney should also be equipped with the latest knowledge of the construction industry and regulations governing different aspects of it.

For example, in case of construction defects arising in a residential property, your attorney should have the capability to structure your claim accordingly. This is because commercial and residential construction projects follow different regulations, safety protocols, etc. Eventually, what might be taken as a major defect in one sector, might be considered a minor one in the other.