Construction defects do not happen that often, but when one occurs it can pose a serious risk to building owners. When determining who is at fault for a construction defect, it is important to identify whether faulty design or poor workmanship caused the problem.
What is the difference between a design and a workmanship defect?
What is a design defect?
A design defect is a flaw in the design of a structure that results in a risk to the property or the people who use it. For example, a poorly designed deck may not have enough structural support to withstand the weight of people standing on it, resulting in a risk that the deck could collapse, causing property damage and injuries.
What is a workmanship defect?
When workers execute a design poorly because of mistakes or flawed processes, this may result in a workmanship defect. Workmanship defects are more common than design defects and are also easier to fix because the contractor can do the job again without having to redesign the structure. In the above example, if the design of the deck is good, but the workers fail to follow the design correctly, resulting in the deck being structurally unsound, that is a workmanship defect.
Why does it matter?
Structures are sometimes designed and built by different contractors. A contractor hired to build a structure may be able to successfully defend a construction defect lawsuit if that contractor can prove that the party who designed the structure is at fault, rather than the workers who built it.
When disputes arise over who is at fault for a construction defect, determining what type of defect caused the problem is a good place to start.