When you buy a house, you expect that its construction is free from flaws. Unfortunately, construction defects are not uncommon.
There are certain defects that are more common than others, and they can be costly to fix. The liability for the defects can fall on one of a number of parties.
According to FindLaw, a construction defect occurs when there is a flaw in the materials used, workmanship or design of part of a structure that results in damage to the property or person. Defects generally fall into four deficiency categories:
Examples of material defects include inferior windows that do not open and roofing shingles that leak. Design defects often occur when a contractor does not follow a specific code, and poor structural support and inadequate drainage are examples of deficiencies.
Poor workmanship results in construction defects such as pest infestation, wall cracks and electrical problems. Subsurface defects occur when there is not a solid foundation under the house, which can result in flooding, shifting and foundation cracks.
According to Modern Contractor Solutions, the homeowner is almost never liable for any construction defect. The contractor is often the one who faces liability, as he or she is in charge of all construction aspects and should be performing regular checks on the work. Subcontractors and consultants also have potential liability.
If it is an issue with the design, the design professional may be the one who is liable. This is usually the result of not following applicable ordinances, laws and statutes.
Ideally, the contractor should catch construction defects during the building phase to minimize the costs to repair them.