Legal risks from construction defects

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Real estate litigation |

New building construction is an exciting but inherently risky business. Even when everything proceeds according to plan, costs can be substantial and profit margins thin.

When construction defects result, the financial consequences to parties – whether they be the builder, a subcontractor or a purchaser – can be enormous.

Common construction defects

Construction defects tend to fall into three categories: design defects, material defects and workmanship defects:

  • A design defect involves an error or omission in the design of the building, such as a design calling for insufficient structural supports or inadequate water drainage.
  • A material defect results from the use of low-quality or improper materials. Material defects can be extremely expensive to remedy because defects in the material may not be apparent until after the defective material is incorporated into the building.
  • A workmanship defect involves the failure to perform in accordance with the construction documents. In other words, the builder or contractor’s work did not conform to the specifications of the construction documents.

Lawsuits involving workmanship defects can be the most complicated to prove – a plaintiff must show the proper standard of workmanship and why the builder’s workmanship was defective.

Practical considerations

Whether you are a developer, contractor, buyer or seller of new construction, an experienced attorney can play a critical role in avoiding construction defect litigation.

An attorney can review contracts and advise on establishing quality control procedures, such as ensuring appropriate inspections and compliance with building codes.

If litigation becomes necessary, counsel can play an indispensable role in negotiating a resolution or representing litigants in court.

Whether you are a buyer faced with expensive repairs or a contractor facing allegations of defective workmanship, it is important to consult an attorney as early in the process as possible.

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