Construction Defects Can Be Costly And Dangerous Without The Right Attorney

Building a new home is an exciting prospect and a great opportunity for homeowners to get the house that they are looking for. When constructing a new house, property owners rely on contractors to get it right. When a defect occurs, the homeowners may be able to pursue legal action against the contractors involved.

Common Types Of Defects

Construction defects are physical conditions that decrease the value of the property or put its occupants at risk. A defect can occur either in the design of the house or in its construction. Examples of common construction defects include:

  • Water intrusion
  • Inadequate drainage
  • Cracks in the foundation, roof or walls
  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Mold or dry rot
  • Structural failure
  • Insufficient insulation

Understanding Liability In Defective Construction Cases

The nature of the defect will determine who can be held liable for defects. For example, if there was an inherent flaw in the design of the house, such as a set of stairs that appear suddenly and could be a tripping hazard, the architect or engineer may be responsible. If the issue occurred during the building phase, it may have been caused by the carpenter, excavator, plumber, electrician or another contractor or subcontractor. The defect could also be caused by shoddy materials, in which case the manufacturers might be liable for defects that occur.

The structure of the contracts on the project also has an impact on who can be held liable for defects. There are several contractors and subcontractors needed to complete a construction project, each of which has their own agreement in place with stipulations regarding liability. Most contracts will include indemnity clauses that pass liability from contractor to subcontractor and force the subcontractor to pay any damages awarded as a result of a suit against the contractor. As a result, many subcontractors have extensive insurance policies to cover potential damages.

How We Address Defective Construction

There are some defects that will be obvious, known as patent defects. Some, however, may take some time to become apparent, known as latent defects. If you discover a construction defect in your new home that is not the result of normal wear and tear, it is important to act as quickly as possible. Reporting the defect to your builder is often the first step, although it may be necessary to bring in an outside expert to identify the source of the issue and address any immediate repercussions, such as water flowing into your living space. The builder should provide you with a solution, but if they fail to do so, legal action may be needed.

Addressing a construction defect can be time-sensitive, depending on the structure of the warranty on the home. In New Jersey, builders are required to provide homeowners with a warranty that covers categories of defects over a certain number of years; as the years progress, fewer defects are covered. Pennsylvania homeowners are protected by an implied warranty, which requires new homes to meet a benchmark of habitability and the work to be completed to a reasonable standard.

Call Today To Discuss Your Options

Construction defects can be extremely costly to repair and may cause injuries to people on the property. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault for a construction defect. The Philadelphia real estate lawyers at the Harty Law Group have the knowledge and experience to handle all types of defective construction cases. With a thorough understanding of real estate law and the ability to untangle complex contracts, we will prepare a sound legal strategy to get you the best possible outcome. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 267-383-3899 or contact us online to discuss your case.