What does a construction defect claim mean to a contractor?

In the construction industry, construction defects are common. Correcting defective construction is already expensive, and a construction defect claim can pose a greater financial threat to a business or operation. Projects nationwide are impacted by defective construction and defective conditions. Lawsuits can be fought when the right defense(s) are identified.

The reason construction defects are so common can be associated with a fast pace in project completion (tight deadlines), poor design or building inspector error. Even if the project is approved by the city or county, construction is not always code compliant due to various factors.

Types of construction defect claims vary by situation

Contractors, design professionals and suppliers are just a few of those who might experience an alleged construction defect claim. There are two types of construction defects: Patent defects are obvious upon inspection, while latent defects are concealed and – at the time – unobservable. Common construction defects include:

  • Inadequate soil preparation
  • Inadequate ventilation of crawl spaces and attics
  • Improperly sloped roofs
  • Improperly installed plumbing
  • Poorly installed waterproofing
  • Poor flashing
  • Window defects

Understanding the construction defect process

Latent defects can typically be hidden inside a building for years. Hiring a qualified professional to evaluate construction quality may be a good first step. Despite precautions, lawsuits do often arise after a finished project, maybe years after. Depending on the size of the claim, the case may be handled in a small court and or the party filing the lawsuit may choose to negotiate. If the construction defect claim isn’t filed after a certain amount of years, the claim may be considered invalid in court. It is possible for project managers and contractors to find a defense against claims with legal counsel. An organized construction defect litigation requires evidence and an assessment of the main issues.

How to avoid construction defect

Maryland’s Statue of Repose holds the purpose of protecting builders, contractors, realtors and landlords from suits for latent defects. Maryland law follows a general rule that the employer of an independent contractor is not liable for the negligence of a contractor or his employees. Aside from different laws, codes and regulations put in place, construction defects are still common. Defects and errors are not always avoidable even after a carefully executed construction project. Fortunately, defect disputes can be litigated, defended and resolved with the help of a construction defect attorney.

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