If you have been in the construction industry for a while, you will know that not every building turns out precisely as planned. While some variations are minor and could even add character, those paying for the work may view some as defects. If they are upset enough, or the flaw is significant enough, they may file a lawsuit.
Defects are usually due to one of three things:
- Design: If you own a construction company, perhaps you followed the architect’s instructions to the letter, and the design fault was theirs. However, if your workers varied from the original design, the architect and their client may blame you.
- Materials: As with any product, building materials can occasionally be subpar when they emerge from the manufacturer. If substandard material needs ripping out and replacing, a client may try to claim that you should do it for free.
- Workmanship: As a building company owner, this is likely to be your problem. Even if you hired subcontractors who let you down with shoddy work, the client would likely file against you. A construction law attorney can help you create contracts for subcontractors you hire and review those you sign with clients.
Sometimes defects are not noticed till years after you completed the project. When called to defend yourself, you may struggle to remember the precise chain of events or who was working on the contract. Your best form of defense is accurate record-keeping and strict quality control during the building process. A transparent chain of command and clearly defined responsibilities prevent things from slipping through the gaps. You may know you acted correctly, but being able to show you did carries far more weight if you face construction litigation.