When you begin working on a project, it is typical to think optimistically about the end goal. While you may envision the finished project in a positive light, it is realistic to accept that when people work together, defects can occur and disputes may arise. This is especially true for areas of work, such as construction, that often involve complex projects. 

Having information about construction defects, and their possible consequences, can help you prepare for the situations that may occur after you have completed a project. 

Defining defects 

Generally speaking, a construction defect refers to defective or faulty work that happened during construction and resulted in damages such as a reduction in the value of the building under construction. A construction defect can refer to a defect in workmanship or design. It can also include the systems or materials that workers use on a project. Such a defect causes the structure or component part of a building to fail. This failure then results in damage that leads to financial harm for the owner. 

A variety of individual factors, and a combination of factors, can lead to a construction defect. The planning and selection of the construction site, or the preparation and analysis of the soil, may occur in an improper manner. Problems may also exist with the structural and civil engineering or with the building materials used in the construction. 

Limiting lawsuits 

An owner of a construction project who discovers a defect and wishes to sue does not have an unlimited amount of time in which to do so. The person must abide by the state’s statute of limitations that specifies a certain time limit for filing. He or she should also be aware of the state’s statute of repose which sets an outer limit for a claim. 

In New Jersey, the former statute specifies six years for contracts and property damage, and the latter sets a limit of 10 years after performing construction. Thus, the owner would have six years to bring a lawsuit after discovering a defect, but once 10 years have elapsed, the lawsuit window will close.