Construction Defect Detection
Moving into a newly-constructed house is a very exciting and almost every aspect about the move-in process is typically an enjoyable experience. Further, it is usually expected that, since the house is new construction, there should be very few, if any, defects. However, in reality, this is not always the case, and construction defects can occur in almost every project. Retaining the services of an experienced Florida construction defect attorney can be essential to ensuring that the cost of repairing any construction defect is reimbursed from the appropriate party. However, the first step in obtaining reimbursement for the cost associated with a construction defect is finding the defect itself, and, although this article illustrates that claims for construction defects have recently increased, the homeowner needs to be diligent about discovering existing construction defects.
Generally, construction defects relate to any deficiency in the design, planning, supervision, inspection, or construction of any new building and appears where there is a failure to construct the building in a reasonably workmanlike manner and/or the structure fails to perform in the manner that is reasonably intended by the building’s owner. Courts categorize construction defects in one of four categories – design, material, construction, and subsurface defects.
Design defects are errors in the planning or design of the building, and usually are attributable to professionals, such as architects or engineers, who design buildings. Typical design defects relate to building outside of the appropriate building code. Material defects concern the use of inferior building materials, which can cause significant problems, such as windows that leak or fail to perform and function adequately, even when properly installed. Construction defects related to a poor quality of workmanship, can result in a long list of defects, such as water infiltration, foundation cracks, dry rot, electrical and mechanical problems, plumbing leaks, or pest infestation. Finally, subsurface defects relate to the ground on which a building is built. A lack of a solid foundation may result in cracked foundations or floor slabs and other damage to the building. If the foundation is not properly prepared for adequate drainage, the property may experience problems such as subsidence, moving or shifting, or flooding.
Looking for Defects
Although, as a property owner, it is important to always be cognizant of issues with the building, it is extremely important to be on the lookout as soon as the owner takes possession of the building, even though it may seem counterintuitive for new construction. Some of the telltale signs of construction defects include the following:
- Water seepage, especially through roofs and windows, as well as drainage issues;
- Outdoor façade (e., siding or stucco) defects;
- Foundation failures, such as cracks or leaks;
- Landscaping or irrigation issues;
- Pest infestation, especially termite damage;
- Defective plumbing or electrical wiring;
- Poor insulation (both for temperature and sound); and
- Substandard materials.
Not only do these defects lower the value of the property, they can also pose health and safety risks that can affect residents. The best way to check for such defects is to conduct a simple inspection of the home. If anything seems amiss, it may be worth it to enlisting the services of a home inspector to obtain a comprehensive report.
Seek Legal Advice
If you have uncovered a defect in the construction of your residence, and you are curious what you can do to hold the responsible party accountable for the cost of repair, contact an experienced construction law attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. have years of experience in construction law, including in construction defect litigation. Time is of the essence, as there are some complex rules and deadlines that must be followed. Let us help you obtain the best possible solution. Contact our Jupiter office today.