Construction defects are frustrating for every party involved in a construction project. Typically, when a construction defect arises, contractors and owners start pointing fingers. After all, construction defects can greatly increase costs and throw a project off its course. When construction defects reveal themselves later on, sometimes even years after construction has wrapped up, the last thing contractors want to do is pay for a project they detached themselves from long ago. Fortunately, construction defects aren’t always the contractor’s fault.
In part one of this two-part series, the Denver contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law discussed different types of construction defects and the allegations that typically surface in response to such a defect. Now, we will focus on various parties who can be liable for construction defects.
The consummate construction contractor is well-aware of construction defects and how they come about. Generally, an experienced contractor will establish a checklist of areas prone to defect and assign an employee in a supervisory role to ensure that these areas are free of defects. Even the most cautious contractor can fall victim to poor workmanship if their team lacks cohesion and communicates poorly. The contractor is often responsible for construction defects when deviating from the design plan or failing to hire suitable subcontractors to perform certain jobs. If the contractor fails to demonstrate a positive workmanlike manner, they could be liable for construction defects.
Architects and engineers must exercise rational care and decision making when providing design specifications to the contractor. Construction defects stemming from issues with the design plan will typically fall on the designer’s shoulders. For example, if a structural engineer fails to calculate load bearing walls accurately, they could be liable for construction defects. Additionally, if the designer is contracted to survey the structure for defects post-construction, and they fail to do a satisfactory job, they could be liable.
Owners often believe that they are not responsible for construction-related defects, but that’s not always the case. Owners supply contractors with information about the structure that needs to be built as well as its intended use. If this report is inaccurate, it could affect the building after completion. For instance, if an owner were to request that a parking garage be built and then they decided to land a helicopter on the top floor, they could be responsible for any construction defects that follow.
Product failures are relatively common in the construction industry. When adhesives don’t stick, water sealants are permeated, copper wires fizzle out prematurely, or other materials don’t behave according to their warranty, the manufacturer could be liable for any resulting construction defects. Typically, claimants can seek remedies for any lost profits or personal injuries that arise as a result of construction defects.
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.