Construction defect claims are serious matters that can result in injuries and even death for workers and homeowners, and a loss of income for investors. Construction defects can occur in the design of a building, or in the materials and parts used to build it. With so much at stake, construction defect claims often involve the use of expert witnesses whose testimony can be pivotal. An ideal expert witness is an authority in their field who can explain crucial technical information in laymen’s terms so that the judge and jury can fully understand it. Expert witnesses may be called upon to investigate construction defects to determine their causes and possible solutions, provide reports of their findings, and give testimony in a trial if necessary.
Types of Expert Witnesses
Every construction defect claim is unique and may require different types of expert witnesses depending on the claim. The following are some of the most common types of experts that may be selected to support a construction defect claim:
Architectural Expert – Many jurisdictions require an affidavit from an architectural expert for claims against another architect. Failure to obtain one could lead to dismissal of the complaint. Architectural experts have broad knowledge of building design, building codes and inspections, building materials, and maintenance of finished structures.
Soil Engineering and Geotech Experts – These experts examine the quality of the soil that a structure is built on and determine the causes of soil movement. Soil composition, compaction, and drainage can all affect how a structure settles over time and these factors also decide the weight bearing capacity of the building site.
General Contractor Expert – The general contractor expert is perhaps the most important expert witness in any construction defect case. In any commercial, residential, or industrial project, the general contractor is involved in every step of the building process from design to completion and knows all the subcontractors on site. The general contractor should also be familiar with the expectations for work and performance for subcontractors as well as the standard of care.
Building Code Expert – While many general contractors are familiar with building codes, they may not have the expertise that enables them to testify as to building codes that were in effect during construction and the efforts that were made to ensure compliance. Building codes can be complex and overlap with federal, state, and local requirements as well as with regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Trade Specific Experts – These experts may be used to speak to the specific defect in the complaint. Examples include experts in roofing, window installation, water proofing, stucco, or framing.
A qualified and experienced defective construction lawyer will have a network of expert witnesses to draw on to ensure the success of a client’s claim.
Philadelphia Defective Construction Lawyers at Harty Law Group Offer Experienced Counsel for All Types of Real Estate Litigation
At Harty Law Group we represent clients from residential landlords and tenants to large commercial property owners. If you have a defective construction complaint, call 267-262-5650 today to speak to one of our skilled Philadelphia defective construction lawyers or contact us online. From our offices in Old City Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.