Property owners can get angry when they discover something is wrong with a property you’ve built for them. They might hurl accusations without giving you a chance to explain your side of things.
If there is an issue with a property you’ve worked on, it could be your fault, but it might not be. Defining which type of defect you are dealing with can help you make that distinction.
The 4 types of construction defects
When courts look at construction defects, they put them into one of four categories:
- Problems with the design: Let’s say the property owner contracted you to carry out plans an architect had drawn up. If the architect stipulates a lintel of insufficient strength to hold the weight of material above it, you could argue that any issues that occurred are their fault rather than yours. You followed the design to the letter.
- Problems with the materials: Maybe the lintel should have been strong enough, but the particular one supplied was from a faulty batch. In this case, it may be the manufacturer’s fault.
- Problems with the construction: The design was good, and the lintel was sound. Only one of your team did not install it correctly. You might not be able to escape responsibility here.
- Problems with the subsurface: Maybe the lintel was appropriate, sound and correctly installed. The problem arose because it moved. That happened because the whole house moved because the soil underneath shifted. A surveyor or engineer who failed to note the challenges the soil posed could be at fault here.
Whether you believe a defect was your fault or are certain it wasn’t, it’s wise to get legal help to better understand how to proceed.