Below are some frequently asked questions about construction defects. If you have any questions that are not on the list or would like more information, please contact us.
What is a construction defect?
A “construction defect” typically includes any failure to construct a home or building in a reasonably workmanlike manner, including errors in the construction, design, planning, supervision, inspection, or observation which result in physical damage to the property, life-safety risk to the building’s occupants, or an inability of the property to perform in the manner reasonably expected by the buyer. Common examples include asphalt and concrete cracking and heaving, poor grading and drainage, failing retaining walls, cracked walls, uneven floors, inoperable doors and windows resulting from expansive soils, water intrusion, mold, and improperly designed or constructed firewalls.
Who is responsible for construction defects?
Typically, the developer, general contractor, subcontractors, and designers can all potentially be responsible for construction defects. In some cases, a material manufacturer or supplier can have liability for construction defects as well. However, since developers are generally liable for their own acts as well as for the acts of their subcontractors, homeowners often bring suit solely against the developer, unless issues of insurance coverage or the developer’s solvency warrant bringing claims against other parties as well.
Who can make a construction defect claim?
The owner of the damaged property will typically be the “real party in interest” (the person who can make the claim) for a construction defect claim, though a tenant may also be able to recover damages in some situations. The owner does not have to be the original owner or first purchaser of the home, and in certain cases, prior owners or tenants may have claims. Additionally, a community or homeowners’ association may bring construction defect claims on behalf of itself or two or more unit owners for matters affecting the community.
How did my home pass inspection?
Many homeowners wonder how a home with construction defects can pass a city inspection. The reality is that budget restraints severely limit the amount of time building inspectors can spend on any particular job site, and cities simply do not have the manpower to keep up with the pace of construction. As a result, most inspectors focus their attention on life-safety issues and rely on builders to follow plans and perform general standards of workmanship. For more information, see founder Doug Benson’s article, I have Construction Defects? How Did My Home Ever Pass Inspection?
What is a “Notice of Claim” in Colorado?
In Colorado, before any construction defect lawsuit or arbitration can be filed, a homeowner must serve a “notice of claim” on the builder. This notice must provide details sufficient to determine the general nature of the construction defect, including a general description of the defects location and resultant damage. The builder must then be given an opportunity to inspect the property, after which he or she can present an offer to repair the construction defect or pay a settlement. If the builder chooses to offer repairs, he or she must turn over the findings and results of his or her inspection to the homeowner. The process should take no more than ninety days, during which time the statutes of limitation and repose are tolled (or stopped).