No one wants to be on the other end of a construction defect claim, especially when these claims could mean lengthy litigation, costly personal injuries and property damage, and severe threats to your profitability and reputation. That being said, there are proactive, proven steps you can take as a contractor through every stage of the construction project to minimize your risk of being found liable in litigation and prevent defects overall. In this brief article, we’ll review a few of the trusted strategies for minimizing liability and reducing the risk for construction defects.
If you have been accused of a construction defect, it’s time to consult a Florida construction defect attorney who is experienced in construction defect claims and will ensure your case is handled cost-effectively and efficiently. Whether your case is the result of poor workmanship, negligence, or something else entirely, an attorney with Cotney Construction Law will have the experience necessary to provide you with valuable legal counsel and representation.
Review Your Contract
In the construction industry, contracts are a force to be reckoned with. One minor provision often means the difference in deciding where the blame will land in the event of a construction defect. By simply reviewing your contract to determine whether it clearly assigns accountability and contains the necessary provisions for liabilities, you’ll minimize your potential exposure to construction defect claims.
The ideal construction contract is clear, unambiguous, and adequately defines any obligations owed to other parties. For owners, you should also review your insurance policies to determine whether any damages or injuries will be compensated. It’s a good rule to confirm not only that you have sufficient liability coverage but that everyone else on your project has the necessary coverage as well.
Be Mindful of Quality Assurance
Quality control, at first glance, seems like a no-brainer. It’s only logical that a well-administered quality control program could be the necessary step towards mitigating the likelihood and severity of construction defects. However, quality control specifications are often vague or ineffective; the burden is placed on the contractor without a plan or checklist that might ensure your project is protected. To combat this issue, you should create a quality management program that includes specific steps to take towards this goal, such as:
- Form a quality control committee
- Hold pre-construction meetings
- Conduct pre-work site assessments
- Perform regular inspections
- Keep records of formal approvals and verifications
A quality control committee or group of some kind will likely be your best bet at preventing defects as everyone assumes responsibility for potential defects. Even something as simple as conducting daily inspections of materials and work performed can help detect issues before they arise.
Proper documentation is one of your first lines of defense against construction defect claims and potential disputes. The greatest amount of weight in the decision of a construction lawsuit is given the documentation to the project and the credibility of any witnesses. It can easily become a difficult, if not impossible, task to gather all the appropriate documentation required to prove your case when the clock begins to tick on your case. This is especially relevant if you’re being faced with a construction defect on a project that’s long since been completed.
That’s why you need to act proactively. Systematic photos of completed work, conducted testing, or other quality assurance activities are the best evidence you can get in terms of as-built condition and proof of acceptability. The best practice is to periodically conduct audits of as-builts to ensure compliance. If you are concerned you may be held liable for project damages, it’s crucial that you contact a Florida construction dispute lawyer with Cotney Construction Law as soon as possible. We have years of experience in the intricacies of construction defect law and are prepared to guide you through your dispute with a strong defense.
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.