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Common Types of Construction Defects

Mosaic Law, P.C.  Oct. 6, 2022

Buying a home or any other property is a significant investment. Unfortunately, many types of construction defects can diminish your investment and may even put your life and the lives of your loved ones in danger.   

If you are a homeowner or business owner who discovered a construction defect in your residential or commercial property, contact our real estate attorneys at Mosaic Law, P.C., today for reliable legal assistance. With an office in San Jose, California, we help residential and commercial property owners resolve disputes with construction companies, contractors, designers, and other parties over poor construction.   

Our law firm represents clients throughout Santa Clara Valley, South County, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. 

Common Construction Defects  

A construction defect is any deficiency in the construction process that results in the failure of a part of a structure and causes damage to the property or owner. In other words, a construction defect occurs when any element of a structure fails to perform as intended and/or does not conform to construction or safety standards.  

Construction defects come in different forms. Some of the most common types of construction defects are: 

  • Faulty wiring 

  • Roof problems (e.g., roof leaks) 

  • Inadequate fire protection 

  • Foundation movement or defects in the foundation 

  • Cracking walls 

  • Problems with flooring 

  • Structural issues 

A construction defect can substantially reduce the value of the property and cause financial losses to the owner. Furthermore, defects may affect the safety of your family. You need to understand your options for financial compensation when dealing with any of the above-mentioned types of construction defects. Contact our real estate attorneys at Mosaic Law, P.C., for a case review today. 

Types of Construction Defects  

Broadly speaking, construction defects can be broken down into four categories:  

  1. Construction defects 

  1. Material defects 

  1. Design defects 

  1. Subsurface defects 

In addition, a construction defect can be either obvious or latent. As the name suggests, obvious defects are easily and readily discoverable upon inspection. Latent defects, on the other hand, are hidden or undetected until years after the construction is complete.  

Builder Warranties  

Most home builders use a warranty on their work. A builder warranty offers limited coverage and can be treated as an insurance policy for the homebuyer. The length of the warranty depends on the specific features of the house. For example, a homeowner may be issued: 

  • One year of coverage on workmanship and exterior materials 

  • Two years of coverage for mechanical deficiencies 

  • Ten years of coverage for structural defects 

However, homeowners usually have a wide range of responsibilities under the builder warranty. If you fail to fulfill your duties under warranty (e.g., specific maintenance obligations), you may end up getting your warranty claim denied. It is vital to review the documents to check your duties, excluded items, coverage restrictions, and warranty expiration date before bringing a claim.   

Who’s Responsible for Construction Defects?  

When a construction defect is discovered, the property owner will need to determine who can be held responsible for the losses and damages they have suffered. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to bring a claim against: 

  1. The builder. Builders, including contractors and subcontractors, may be held responsible for construction defects due to their failure to comply with accepted standards or conduct work according to contractual requirements or design specifications.  

  1. The designer. Often, construction defects occur as a result of the designer’s negligence. Designers, including engineers and architects, must exercise reasonable care when developing and implementing a design plan.  

  1. The owner. Since the owner of the property takes approved plans, some of the construction defects may be their responsibility.  

There may be other liable parties depending on the type of construction defect. It is essential to contact a knowledgeable attorney to help you identify liable parties and seek the compensation to which you are entitled.   

Proving Liability  

As a residential or commercial property owner, you may wonder, “Who can be held responsible for a construction defect?” Every party involved in construction has a duty to perform their contractual obligations in a reasonable way.  

Finding the parties responsible for the defect in your property can be tricky. However, it is critical to determine and prove liability for a construction defect to recover the financial losses you have suffered. Depending on the details of your case, you may be able to bring a legal claim based on any of the following legal concepts: 

  • Negligence 

  • Breach of warranty 

  • Breach of contract 

  • Strict liability 

If you have discovered a construction defect in your home or commercial property, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options.   

Discuss Your Case with a Real Estate Attorney 

At Mosaic Law, P.C., our real estate attorneys assist clients in resolving construction defect disputes at all stages. We can help you pursue the financial compensation to which you are entitled and have the resources and experience necessary to guide you towards success. Contact our office in San Jose, California, and tell us about your case so we can get started fighting for you. Our team also serves clients throughout Santa Clara Valley, South County, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, California.