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Construction Defect Liability: What Contractors Must Know

A worker finds a construction defect in an apartment building.Sometimes agreements don’t go as planned when both sides aren’t upfront with issues. A construction defect takes place when there is a circumstance that lowers the value of a home. Patent defects are those that anyone can see right away, such as fire damage on exterior walls. On the other hand, latent defects can stay hidden for years.

Contractors should be on the lookout for defects to prevent problems in the future. Construction defect lawsuits can arise if someone discovers issues. Keep reading to learn more about construction defects and how to protect yourself.

1. Causes of Construction Defects

Construction defects can have one or many sources. Factors of a construction defect include:

  • Defective materials
  • Inadequate preparation
  • A low standard of work
  • Negligence

Some of these factors overlap. For instance, a lack of proper preparation may lead to low standards of work being accomplished. 

2. Common Types of Construction Defects

Knowing the common areas of construction defects can help contractors focus on main problem areas. The common sources of issues include:

  • Drains
  • Electrical 
  • Foundation
  • Heating / Cooling
  • Landscaping
  • Plumbing

These areas may crossover as well. For example, a heating and electrical system will probably overlap - problems in one may lead to problems in the other. 

3. Recovering Damages

The injured party - typically the current home or property owner - may have incurred costs based on the defect. In some cases, the cost of repairs and drop in the property value helps to form the amount of damages. Additional charges may include temporary housing, court and attorney costs, and any personal injury related to the defect. 

4. Proving Construction Defect in Court

Expert testimony is a major basis of evidence in construction defect cases. The experts will usually specialize in a specific area of construction, such as plumbing. The expert will explore the alleged defect and provide insights to the court on whether they are valid. If the defect is valid, the expert will also share recommendations on how to fix the problem. 

5. Responsibility for Construction Defects

The general contractor or developer typically absorbs the responsibility for defects. If subcontractors were used, they still worked for the general contractor meaning the liability remains with the GC. 

To protect yourself and your business, it is important to have an existing relationship with an attorney experienced in construction defect defense. Aldrich Legal Services has been in operation for more than 21 years. Our legal experts will help you explore your options to protect your rights.

Give the legal team at Aldrich Legal Services a call today at (734) 404-3000 to discuss your situation. 

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