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Who is Liable for Construction Defects?

January 31, 2020

Litigation involving defective construction includes failed construction projects or deficiencies in the design or engineering of buildings and other construction. When an apartment building has plumbing issues or a bridge collapses, the ensuing litigation involves the practice of real estate law. When a building is constructed improperly, it can be injurious to the people who are involved in its construction and maintenance. Construction defects may require additional expenditures in repair and maintenance costs.

Contracts with Design Professionals and Builders

All construction projects have a variety of actors and several contracts are drawn up to govern the actions and consequences of those actions. When someone wants to construct a building, the initial step often involves the design of the building.

There is a need for architectural drawings and plans necessary for building the project. Architects enter contracts with the owners and often rely on structural engineers to design the buildings to be structurally sound. Often, architects have contracts with engineers to ensure that their designs comply with design principles so that the building designed is safe to use and can withstand loads and are not vulnerable to damage in case of earthquakes or other natural phenomenon.

After the design phase of the building is complete, the owner often requests bids from several general contractors. The owner then enters a contract for construction of the project with the general contractor, who will then rely on the architectural plans to construct the project. There are often contracts in place between the owner, architect, structural engineer, and general contractor.

After the general contractor has secured the project, they often bid out the scope of work to various subcontractors. There are contracts between the general contractor and subcontractors for various trades, including grading, plumbing, electrical, framing, and landscaping, among others.

Indemnification of the Owner and General Contractor

When a subcontractor or architect agrees to indemnification provisions, they are agreeing to compensate the owner or general contractor in case their work is implicated in a defect. If the building collapses due to a design defect involving improper architectural design elements or improper structural calculations, the architect will be liable to the owner and general contractor for the damages caused by the design defect. Similarly, if the building collapses because improper concrete was used to construct the building to save costs by the concrete subcontractor, the subcontractor will be liable to the general contractor and owner for the damages.

Owner Liability

Owners may also be held liable for defects if they were actively involved in critical decisions in the construction of the building. Often, owners may be interested in cost savings and opt to use products that are not in the specifications provided by the architect or engineer. If the owner decides to use a cheaper product that was not in the specification to save costs and that product is the cause of the defect, the owner may be held liable for the construction defects.

Philadelphia Defective Construction Lawyers at the Harty Law Group Help Victims Obtain Compensation

For vigorous legal representation of your interests, contact the Philadelphia defective construction lawyers at the Harty Law Group. To schedule an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 267-262-5650. Located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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