Whenever a new building is erected, there is the possibility that a construction dispute could occur. The phrase “construction dispute” encompasses many legal issues, but some of the most common and difficult issues involve allegations of construction defects. It is important for builders to understand what constitutes a construction defect and what they are responsible for.
What is a construction defect?
The standard definition of a construction defect is rather broad. A defect is any sort of problem with the design or structure of a building stemming from an unreasonable workmanlike manner and/or what the buyer reasonably expected. That being said, definitions of construction defects and standards are evolving, making the matter more confusing for developers and general contractors.
Strict liability and construction litigation
General contractors are under strict liability laws with regards to the condition of homes they build. This means that the displeased homeowners are not obligated to prove negligence to prevail in construction litigation. They only have to show that the contractor mass produced housing, a defect existed that caused damages and that the contractor was the entity that caused the defect.
Watch out for latent defects
Many defects are latent defects. This mean they grow over time and generally are not noticed right away. Many states have laws that construction lawsuits can be brought within six to 10 years following the completion of the construction. For this reason, it is important for builders to understand their duties and possible liabilities following the completion of any construction project, so they do not face unnecessary construction litigation.