When it comes to construction defects, diagnosing the defect is oftentimes much simpler than figuring out who is responsible for it in the first place. Some defects reveal themselves during construction, while others could take years to discover. Since construction defects include a wide range of issues — from unstable or cracked foundations to poor insulation to malfunctioning electrical systems and virtually anything else that is a result of substandard designs, materials, or construction — figuring out whether the contractor, designer, owner, or manufacturer is liable can be challenging.
In this two-part series, the Denver construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law will discuss liability for construction defects. If you are a contractor who has been accused of defective construction, or you believe another party is responsible for a defect on one of your projects, consult a Denver construction lawyer.
Types of Construction Defects
Before you can determine who is liable for a construction defect, you must understand what kind of defect you’re dealing with. Generally, there are four basic categories of construction defects including:
- Subsurface Defects: defects related to the ground beneath a building. Subsurface defects tend to occur when contractors fail to account for factors like shifting soil, hillside slopes, or proximity to mapped sinkholes.
- Material Defects: defects related to the materials used during the construction project. Material defects include faulty electrical systems, porous shingles, asbestos-rich plaster, and more.
- Design Defects: defects related to the architectural or engineering design specifications. Design defects can be a result of poor planning on behalf of the designer or lackluster execution by the builders. Some examples are poorly designed roofs that don’t drain or a lack of structural support throughout a building.
- Construction Defects: defects related to subpar construction that stem from inferior workmanship. Examples of construction defects include improperly installed ventilation, slanted flooring, or even issues with water pressure.
Types of Liability for Construction Defects
Before we discuss the specifics of who is liable for construction defects in part two, it’s important to understand the allegations that are typically made when a construction defect is discovered. Generally, liability for construction defects is tied to one of the following allegations:
- Negligence: failure to perform the necessary actions to ensure that all aspects of construction have been performed adequately.
- Breach of Contract: failure to fulfill one or more aspects of the contract.
- Breach of Warranty: violation of expressed or implied warranties.
- Strict Liability: typically related to the violation of implied warranties of habitability.
- Fraud: intentional misrepresentation of a home as advertised or expressed in sales documents and contracts.
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.