Hidden Conditions: Dealing With the Unexpected Part 1
Our Jacksonville construction attorneys are sure that many construction professionals such as owners and contractors have come across their share of unanticipated issues during a project or after the completion of the project. Frequently, hidden conditions are discovered which can lead to strife when determining who liable for the condition. This two-part article will focus mainly on hidden conditions, but will also discuss changed conditions, liabilities, and drafting the a contract to mitigate risks. Part 2 will wrap up the article.
Types of Hidden Conditions
Hidden conditions are concealed and not readily seen, unless by a trained eye. A changed condition on a job-site is one that is different from what is in the plans and specification. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), differing site conditions are conditions that are materially different from what is was originally in the contract documents or an unusual condition that is different materially from what is normally encountered. If the conditions of the job-site fall under the AIA definition, this entitles a contractor to some type of adjustment on the contract. There are plenty of examples of hidden conditions that pop up in construction projects. They include the following:
- Rotted framing
- The presence of lead or asbestos
- Damaged wires or pipes
- Decay damage
- Foundation issues
- Wrong placement of wires or pipes
- Missing essentials like pipes or beams
Who is the Responsible Party?
Whenever there’s an unforeseen issue on a construction project, the issue will likely spur communication about who’s responsible and how much it’s going to cost the responsible party. Owners want to pass on the responsibility to contractors and vice versa. Usually, contractors will assume risk, but there are also times where contracts can be unenforceable. This why the language used in contracts is vital.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.