Construction defects: determining responsibility

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2021 | Firm News

Building a home or commercial property in Florida involves detailed construction contracts outlining various procedures and expectations. Construction defects can put your project at risk and correcting the issue can be expensive. Understanding what the contract covers and the process used for determining a defect are critical. It can help recover costs for delays and damages.

According to the International Risk Management Institute, the term construction defect covers a broad range of building issues. However, the difficulty often lies in identifying an issue as a defect. The definition has different interpretations based on the interests and viewpoints of the parties involved.

Types of defects

A construction defect generally applies to the materials, system, design used in a project, and work quality.

Latent defects are present but remain undetected throughout the construction project. They may include the following:

  • Damaged building components and mold growth that result in roof leaks
  • Understrength beams that meet color, grade and size requirements
  • Insufficient footings and foundations that allow part of the structure to sink
  • Poor subgrade resulting in collapsing or cracking pavement

Patent defects are often found upon inspection. Frequent, routine inspections throughout your project can help identify and correct the problem. If the responsible party doesn’t rectify it, there may be grounds for a breach of contract.

Standard of care

Industry professionals must perform their work according to accepted and legal standards. Contractors and subcontractors have responsibility for the project’s workmanship. The consultants and design professionals must ensure the contract meets local statutes, laws and ordinances.

When you first become aware of a defect, it may look as though the contractor used substandard materials. However, there may be other parties involved. What looks like a simple case of work quality may become a more significant, complex issue. Accurately assessing the damage and understanding the roles of the various parties involved in the project is essential before acting.