Hopf & Higley, P.A.
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Practice Center - Construction Law

Construction Defects

The construction industry has experienced record growth in recent years. New construction sprang up in virtually every part of the country. Home construction, in particular, saw rapid growth: in 2004, construction of single-family homes nationwide hit an all-time high (for the third year in a row) of 1.714 million units. The rapid growth in construction was accompanied by a rapid growth in claims for construction defects, as homebuyers and other customers of the construction industry asserted complaints for faulty construction. An attorney with expertise in construction law can advise you about the best way to handle your claim for construction defects.

Causes of Construction Defects

Very few buildings are completed to absolute perfection, but not every variance in quality will be considered a defect by a court. The defects that are most often pursued are those that reduce the value of a building or that interfere with its use. Some common types of defect include:

  • Dry rot,
  • Water seepage,
  • Faulty drainage,
  • Insect infestation,
  • Improper materials,
  • Settlement or movement,
  • Structural failure,
  • Defective plumbing,
  • Faulty wiring, and
  • Environmental hazards.

Many factors have been suggested as the cause in the rise in claims for defective construction. Some experts blame the recent housing and real estate boom, saying the rapid pace of building strained production. It does appear that demand sometimes outstripped the supply of qualified laborers and quality materials. Demands for energy efficiency and environmentally sound products also make buildings more complicated to build today. Furthermore, contractors and construction companies, like most business people, face increasing pressure to reduce their costs, and speed up production.

While no one factor is the sole reason for the rise in claims for construction defects, the fact remains that defective construction can result in a serious loss to the home or building owner. An experienced construction law attorney can pursue your claim, and help lessen the loss caused by defective construction.

Environmental Hazards

Some construction defects do more than affect the value of a building. Some defects can cause serious health problems for people who use or live in a building. Environmental hazards can be caused by either faulty materials or negligent construction. Faulty materials, especially those not intended for use in residential construction, may emit hazardous substances.

Faulty construction, usually in the form of improper ventilation or water seepage, can also cause environmental hazards. A common type of environmental hazard is mold. Hazardous species and concentrations of mold can grow in areas that are not properly ventilated and that are exposed to moisture, either through seepage or leakage. The mold will discolor and damage porous surfaces. More importantly, mold is also a potent allergen, causing allergic reactions and health problems in many people. Young children are especially vulnerable to health problems caused by mold spores, including asthma, which has been linked to mold proliferation.

Conclusion

Construction defects deprive you of the full use of your property. Defective construction is also unfair to the customer, as you have paid for quality construction that you did not receive. If you have a claim for construction defects, you need knowledgeable legal counsel. An experienced construction law attorney can give you the counsel you need to make your claim.

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