What should you do if you discover serious construction defects?

Posted by iLawyer on Dec 24th, 2019 Construction Litigation, Firm News

Construction and home building are trades governed by both state rules and best practices in the industry. Professionals have an obligation to create structures that are safe and functional for the people who hire them, as well as to comply with terms set in the contract for work.

Unfortunately, not all construction professionals make as much of an effort as they should. Some will rush the work, resulting in sloppy labor and mediocre craftsmanship, while others may substitute cheap, questionable materials in place of the standard materials agreed upon in the contract. Construction defects caused by poor workmanship or cheap materials can impact your enjoyment of the home and your ability to resell it for a reasonable price.

What are construction defects?

Whether you want to build a new home from the foundation up or have plans to remodel part of an existing structure, you expect that the work done by the construction professionals you hire will meet the basic standards set by the state of Texas.

When a contractor or construction company fails to meet a certain standard in the work that they perform, you may be able to bring a claim against them for the defects in their workmanship. In order to do that, you need to demonstrate to the court that there is a provable issue.

Defects can be the result of cheap supplies or inadequate work. A defect can be a visible issue with the property that makes it less appealing or a structural issue that impacts the ability to legally live in an edifice.

A careful review of the terms of the contract can help

Ideally, you will have a written contract that specifically outlines the obligations of the contractor to you as a client. From discussing specific materials to work scheduling and dispute resolution, many of the major issues that can arise in a construction job get covered in the contract executed between the company or contractor and the homeowner.

You should review a contract carefully before you sign it, but many homeowners hiring contractors sign a contract without due consideration. They assume that the professionals they hire will work in their best interest. Some homeowners will even hire contractors for major projects without a written contract or estimate. The contract will help guide you when defects arise after the work is done.

Confirming what the contract requires of the builder you hired can make it easier to show how they deviated from those promises. Showing that they used a cheaper, thinner kind of wood or drywall, for example, could be a breach of contract that will invariably affect both the livability and future sale price for the home.

In the event of system failures, you want to document the costs

In theory, when something massive goes wrong with a newly constructed home or remodeled space, your homeowner’s insurance will cover some of the immediate costs. While they may eventually want to subrogate the claim by holding the contractor responsible, your insurance company may cover damage to your property and the cost of alternative housing after the roof, foundation or walls in your home fail.

Instead of just feeling grateful that the insurance company covers those expenses, you want to carefully track each and every expense. That way, you can show the courts what costs you have already incurred due to the construction defects, as well as what costs you will likely have to deal with in the future.

Professionals can often help put a price on the impact of a defect on the property. From decreased resale value to the likelihood of needing repairs or replacement much sooner, the costs associated with corners cut by contractors can be thousands of dollars that you do not want to pay out of your pocket.