As a contractor or someone who operates a construction company, you obviously want to meet your clients’ expectations. You probably work quite hard to balance the need to keep costs competitive with the desire to turn out the best possible finished product.
Sometimes, despite all of your efforts, a client will be unhappy with the finished product and will make a construction defect claim against your company. The result could be an expensive insurance settlement or possibly even civil litigation.
By learning about some of the more common construction defects that lead to civil claims, you can potentially prevent these issues from dragging your company into court.
Problems with design
There are three scenarios in which your company could face design defect allegations. The first is when your company creates the design. You would then be liable for any issues that you failed to account for when making the initial plans.
The second is when you use an outside design. If you fail to properly scrutinize the design or adjust it for the unique demands of the building site, the client could hold you accountable. Finally, if the client designed the property and you don’t analyze it for defects and notify them of certain issues, they could blame you for the problems with the property even though they created the initial design.
Problems with the materials that you use to construct the home could lead to expensive repairs and renovations for the owner later. Failing to meet industry standards by using cheaper or poor-quality materials could lead to defect claims. So could a substitution of specifically requested materials if you do not notify the client and receive their permission before moving forward with the substitution.
As with material sourcing, you have to make informed decisions about the labor you employ for construction projects. Hiring unskilled day laborers will be more cost-effective than employing a bunch of professional contractors, but the quality of the final results may reflect those cost-cutting measures. Especially for important, cosmetic work like tile and flooring, issues with workmanship could eventually lead to expensive defect claims by the property owner.
Identifying where you may have risk for later construction defect claims can help you protect yourself contractually and better respond when clients complain.