Most people expect their contractors to know what they're doing and to deliver on their promises. When that doesn't happen, it's easy to end up in a lawsuit over a construction defect. If that's a possibility for you right now, there are some basics that you should know:
1. Construction defects usually into four main categories:
- Design Flaws
- Inferior Materials
- Poor Construction
- Foundation Issues
Your issue with your contractor may include just one of these problems, or several.
For example, your contractor may have used a perfect design, solid building materials and expert craftsmanship -- but if he or she didn't test the soil to make certain that the foundation of your newly built home would be stable, none of that matters.
Similarly, you could have a strong foundation and a great design, but the contractor cut corners and used inexperienced labor and defective building materials. Either way, your building isn't going to be what you had a right to expect.
2. Not all construction defects are immediately visible.
If you are able to see problems with the design or workmanship -- like a stairwell that goes to nowhere or windows that aren't hung straight -- you're dealing with "patent," or obvious, defects. Other defects may not show until several years after construction, like a foundation that crumbles after a few years. Those are "latent" defects. They each take a different style of approach in court and different types of experts may be necessary to prove your claim.
3. Your ability to file a lawsuit has an expiration date.
How long you have to file a lawsuit depends on whether the defect is obvious or latent -- but you don't want to delay. Discuss the issue with an attorney as soon as you suspect a problem. Otherwise, you may be legally barred by the statute of limitations from bringing your suit.
If you need help handling construction litigation or a dispute with a contractor, talk to an attorney today. He or she may be able to help you understand the basic legal issues you face in the dispute. For more information about how our firm might be able to assist you, please visit our webpage.