Contractors provide a wide range of services to property owners. Few construction projects are completed without some hiccups, but there are times when the owners unhappy with the work will file a lawsuit, perhaps using a construction defect claim. While not every lawsuit filed by a plaintiff goes to trial, nor do they always have a winning case, this should not stop the contractor from staunchly defending themselves with the help of a real estate law attorney with a background in litigation.
Defenses against the claims
Together, the client and attorney may be to refute the following claims.
- Codes and standards compliance: The contractor may argue that they followed all applicable laws and standards, backing this claim up with inspections, permits and certifications.
- Contractual limitations: An effective contract will include clauses, requirements for dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, etc.) and limits on how long they can wait to file a claim.
- Contributory negligence: The contractor may argue that the client contributed to the alleged defect. The owner may not have followed a maintenance schedule or misused the structure somehow.
- Third-party liability: Responsible contractors try to use the best possible materials for the job, but the manufacturer may create a defect that has nothing to do with how the materials were used or installed. The contractor may argue that the fault lies with the third-party manufacturer.
It may also be useful for the defense to use an expert witness. These professionals can provide their expert opinion on why one of the above issues (or another) led to unsatisfactory results.
Protect the business
Any contractor knows that having to go back and fix something already done means they are doing the same work twice. It also means that they are unavailable to do new income-generating work. Finally, many take pride in their work and understand that a reputation for excellence is essential for success in construction. Considering all this, it is crucial to take construction defect claims seriously.