7 Common Construction Defects and How an Tallahassee Construction Attorneys Can Help
Despite working with integrity and completing projects in a timely manner, construction defects and construction defect claims can still occur. A construction defect is any flaw in the design, workmanship, or materials of a structure which results in a failure of one or more of the structure’s components. Tallahassee construction law firms regularly protect construction professionals against these types of claims.
What is a Construction Defect?
A construction defect typically refers to a deficiency in the construction process which leads to a failure in some aspect of the structure and causes someone damages. These defects can be patent (obvious upon inspection) or latent (not readily observable). There are numerous factors that can cause a construction defect, including poor workmanship, improper preparation, defective materials, negligence, or site selection and planning. The three most common defect types are design, material, and workmanship defects.
Construction defects can be the fault of a subcontractor or third-party, but may still be brought against the general contractor on the project. Legal representation is important when facing a potential dispute or claim of any type, but especially in regard to construction defects and liability. Construction defects are covered under Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes and require the claimant, or property owner, to “serve written notice of claim on the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional, as applicable” prior to filing an action. The notice of the claim must detail “the nature of each construction defect and if known, the damage or loss resulting from the defect.” These claims could occur weeks or even years after a construction project has concluded; however, Florida has a strict statute of limitations on when a construction defect claim can be filed.
A Tallahassee construction defect lawyer can help contractors understand and navigate claims of construction defects. Some of the most common construction defects include:
Water and Plumbing Issues
Water damage and plumbing issues are often the most obvious construction defects. These defects can be caused by faulty materials, poor design, or poor workmanship. These may also be related to shifting soil and foundation issues or improper drainage.
Improper drainage encompasses defects that cause flooding. This includes issues with the design of gutters and drainage systems. These types of defects may occur outside or inside of the house. When a structure has flood damage, mold and other structural instabilities may occur.
Foundation issues may be caused by poor soil, erosion, soil shifting, and soil shrinkage, among other reasons. These are a big issue in Florida, and the most common foundation issues are sinking foundation, shifting foundation, foundation settlement, and cracks in the foundation. These issues pose a major issue because they can threaten the structural integrity and cause instability, leaning walls, and uneven floors.
Electrical systems are extremely important. Defects to the electrical systems can, at best, cause shortages and inconveniences and, at worst, cause fires and dangerous outages. If combined with water damage or improper plumbing issues, this can become incredibly dangerous for occupants of the structure.
Nearly all Floridians experience frequent, steady rainstorms. This can be made even worse during hurricane season, which means the roof may be at greater risk of water damage. Water damage that comes through the roof can cause major structural issues and can eventually lead to rot and mold (which can cause illness when ignored). A number of roof defects frequently arise, but the most common defects include improperly installed roofing, missing anti-ponding metal at eaves, exposed roof tiles, broken or chipped roof tiles, and gutters that are unable to drain.
Hot and Cold Spots
Although pop culture might have people believe that cold spots are a sign of the paranormal, hot and cold spots in a house or other structure can actually be indicators of a defect in the physical structure (like doors, windows, insulation, or ductwork). Any faults in the ductwork, whether it’s inadequate sizing or poor design, will reflect in the air circulation of the home, leading to these hot or cold spots. It is important to ensure that airflow is properly circulated throughout the house, especially in somewhere like Florida.
Doors, Windows, and Glass
Doors, windows, and glass defects are often caused by material defects, but claims can still be brought against builders and contractors. Defects with doors, windows, and glass may result in improper heating and cooling. An example of a defect with doors is a door that was improperly installed and was not treated for heat, resulting in swelling and sticking during peak humidity.
If a construction defect claim is made, contractors have a specific time limit allotted to respond. This response may include requests for testing or further proof or settlement, including repairs of the defect. The defect may need to be proven in court, and damages may be recovered. A Tallahassee construction lawyer will discuss the entire process and guide construction professionals through all available options. Additionally, an attorney will help defend against improper claims of construction defects.
If you’ve been given a notice of a construction defect by a property owner, it is critical that you contact a construction attorney who excels in construction defect defense. Cotney Attorneys & Consultants can guide construction professionals through the complex nature of construction defects, including the statute of limitations and the statute of repose. Without an experienced team, these types of cases are often very time-consuming and can become costly. The legal team of Cotney Attorneys & Consultants is intimately familiar with the legal processes of construction defects and may be the key to effectively resolving your defect claims.
If you would like to speak with a Tallahassee construction defect lawyer, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.