Houston Construction Defect Attorney
Construction defects reduce the value of commercial and residential properties and threaten the health and safety of their occupants. Homeowners, builders, contractors, and product manufacturers are likely to have different opinions of what constitutes a construction defect. However, generally speaking, construction defects are the design defects, material defects, or poor workmanship that make a structure unsuitable or unsafe for its intended purpose or which, if left uncorrected, will cause permanent or increasing damage to the property.
Structures such as commercial buildings and residential housing naturally experience degradation and normal wear and tear as they age. However, when a new or recently built structure exhibits unusual leaks and water intrusion, cracks in walls or foundations, or failures of roofing materials, siding, or other exterior products, construction defects in design, materials, or workmanship may be the cause. When serious problems with a new or recently built residential or commercial structure threaten its value, integrity, or the safety of its occupants, the designer, builder, contractor or product manufacturer who is responsible for the defect can and should be held accountable.
Responsibility for construction defects can be difficult to prove, but a competent Houston construction defect attorney can bring the resources and expertise necessary to build a strong case. When you experience losses caused by construction defects, you have a right to recover compensatory damages from those responsible.
Understanding Construction Defect Law
Some construction defects can make a structure unsafe for its occupants resulting in preventable accidents. A defective design can lead to hazardous conditions that result in serious slip and fall injuries. Defective materials can result in exposure to harmful toxins or substances. Poor workmanship can result in water intrusion leading to mold outbreaks and severe health implications for occupants. Unfair business practices include the refusal or failure of a construction company to acknowledge/investigate problems in construction or to disclose known issues with design, materials, or workmanship employed in construction. Negligence in construction involves the failure of a company to recognize and address problems in construction design, materials, workmanship, or other areas that a reasonable operator would have known.
Construction Workers, Contractors & Construction Company's Duty of Care
Construction workers, contractors, and construction companies have a duty of care. They are responsible for manufacturing a product that complies with all of the necessary industry standards so it is reasonably safe for those who will occupy it. Unfortunately, errors in the design of buildings can cause serious injury and can necessitate millions to repair. Construction design defects differ slightly from construction defects. A pure construction defect means a structure would have performed as intended had there not been a mistake in the building process. A defect in the design of a structure means that even if the structure had been manufactured perfectly, it still would have resulted in damage.
You may be able to file a claim against a developer, contractor, architect, or even a bank for this construction design defect. Defects in the design go to the root of the structure and begin on the architect's desk. Any defects in design should be caught before implemented. If the defect is not caught, this can present a major liability. Contractors in many states are required to submit a written document stating that the structure is in good repair upon completion. Unfortunately, construction workers and other entities will try to shift the liability onto the owner of the building. A design defect can cause a property owner upwards of millions of dollars to repair the issue fully.
In order to avoid wrongfully paying for a defect, contact Arnold & Itkin first. Call (888) 493-1629 now.
Why Defects in Construction Occur
There can be many causative factors in the case of design defects. Upon first sight, this may be difficult to prove. If you have a case such as this, you will need extensive investigations so the cause can be brought to light. If there was a defect in the design, we can investigate to present the evidence compellingly. One reason defects occur is that the architect designed the structure with the wrong material. Even if the construction workers follow the specifications correctly, this will still result in a defect. Another cause of construction defects is the poor quality of workmanship. The contractor may have cut corners to save time while sacrificing quality. Contractors may also manufacture the structure as intended, but do so using low-quality materials. By using cheap materials, the contractors will cut down on costs, but put building owners at risk.
Poor Workmanship in Construction
Defects from poor workmanship devalue property and can lead to additional damage to structures and materials. Poor workmanship is frequently the root cause of construction defects. Even quality building products, if installed or used incorrectly, may fail.
Poor workmanship is often the real cause of construction defects such as:
- Broken floor tiles
- Crumbling grout
- Peeling paint
- Other problems
- Leaking roofs, window, and doors
- Doors and windows that don't open or close
Nearly every building product available today requires that certain conditions exist and instructions be followed to ensure proper installation, performance, and longevity of the product. For example, a quality paint applied to a dirty or oily surface can reasonably be expected to fail, not because the product was defective, but because it was applied with poor workmanship.
Poor workmanship is so commonplace that it should be suspected as a potential root cause of almost any construction defect until it can be ruled out. Construction requires quality-conscious, professional tradesmen and women at nearly every stage. When construction companies employ unskilled labor without adequate training and supervision, poor workmanship in construction is the predictable result.
Resulting Damage & Seeking Compensation
The resulting damage from a construction design defect can be devastating. On top of the costs of construction, a building owner will have to worry about repair costs sooner than they should have. Defects in the design of a structure can result in everything from electrocution injuries because of faulty wiring or mold because of poorly placed piping. You may be unsure whether or not you have a case, but that is exactly why our firm is here. Arnold & Itkin LLP offers free consultations so you can discuss your situation with us. Should you become our client, rest assured, we will fight until you recover the financial losses you suffered. One factor that can be indicative of a design defect is a serious problem in a home less than three years old. If you would like to investigate the possibility of a claim further, please do not hesitate to contact our firm today.
Office Park, Condo & HOA: Construction Defects in Multi-Tenant Developments
Office parks, condominium, and homeowner associations can seek damages from companies responsible for losses caused by construction defects. The same errors in planning, design, materials, and workmanship that can impact single tenant structures can afflict an entire condo development, office park, or neighborhood with the potential to cause significant financial losses for property owners. Lawsuits for construction defects in condos and communities can be brought by a homeowners association that represents the combined interests of its members.
Commercial property owners, condominium, and homeowners associations can bring suits to recover damages for construction problems with roadways, landscapes, and shared infrastructures, such as the following:
- Street collapses
- Utility failures
- Drainage and sewage problems
- Serious erosion problems
Developers and construction companies are expected to evaluate the suitability construction sites in the planning process carefully. Through careful survey and examination of the intended roadway, parking lot, and foundation locations, they should be able to determine whether factors like expansive or collapsing soils exist that would threaten the long-term stability of the construction. Before building, they should take measures to stabilize the underlying surfaces to ensure that the structure will not collapse. Failure to do so may constitute negligence.
About Sinkholes in the Community
Sinkholes result when surface soils sink or collapse in a natural or man-made underground void. In karst regions rich in limestone like the Texas hill country, a sinkhole can be caused by the collapse of a cave or cavern roof. Even where there are no caves, other man-made causes such as collapsing drainage culverts can lead to sinkholes. These can develop rapidly. Sometimes they are small and may not be immediately obvious.
These are usually discovered because of the damage they inflict:
- Cracks in foundations and walls
- Cracks in windows
- Doors that stick and are hard to open
In rare instances, large sinkholes, some large enough to collapse streets and foundations, can open suddenly causing severe and costly damage to any home or structure that overlies them. Failure to identify and mitigate the risk of developing sinkholes from natural voids like caves and caverns may constitute negligence on the part of a developer or builder. Sinkholes from collapsing culverts or other man-made causes may be evidence of poor workmanship or defective construction materials. In either case, whoever is responsible for your losses should be accountable.
Other Types of Construction Defects
Poorly planned, designed, or construction utility systems can adversely affect the use of homes and commercial properties. Broken and downed power lines disrupt power, telecommunication, and other critical services. Power outages and surges that result can permanently damage costly equipment and appliance. Drainage and sewage systems are shared infrastructure. Systemic problems resulting from poor planning, defective design, or poor workmanship can impact an entire neighborhood, complex, or office park. When properties do not drain properly, flooding can occur causing water damage and mold growth. Faulty sewer systems that fail to drain properly, backup, or leak can present serious health and environmental risks. Erosion is a naturally occurring process wherein the land surface is transformed and reshaped.
This naturally occurring process occurs wherever surface soils are exposed to wind and, especially, water. However, erosion is a predictable process that can be managed through planning, design, and construction that mitigates its impact. When the predictable impact of unchecked erosion is not considered by planners, designers, and construction companies, they may be guilty of negligence. Even when erosion is anticipated and planned for, poor workmanship in the implementation of those plans can lead to unchecked erosion with serious consequences to property.
Construction Defect FAQ
What Is a Construction Defect?
Construction defects can be categorized as design defects, material defects, or poor workmanship. The impact that results can be substantial. The nature of the impact depends on the defect and can range from mere inconvenience to the total loss of property.
Can Construction Defects Cause Financial Losses?
Construction defects can diminish the value of a property. Depending on the nature of the defect and its impact, defect can result in substantial financial losses due to the costs of investigating and repairing the damage.
Will a Construction Defect Decrease the Value of My Property?
Serious defects can have a substantial negative impact on the value of a property. Unpremeditated damages from a construction defect are a liability for current or future owners of a property and will be reflected in substantial reductions in property value as long as they exist. Some construction defects, particularly defects involving structural and design defects can be extremely difficult or impossible to remediate fully.
What Is Constructive Eviction?
Constructive eviction occurs when a construction defect results in the temporary or permanent loss of living space when occupants are forced to abandon a structure for remediation or repairs. Most states have statutes that allow a property owner to recover damages suffered as a direct consequence of constructive eviction due to a defect.
Will I Lose My Insurance If My Home or Building Has a Defect?
In some cases, an insurance company may refuse to insure your property unless serious defects that threaten the property are remediated or repaired. When this happens, property owners are exposed to potentially greater losses due to the negligence of the construction company.
Contact a Houston Construction Defect Lawyer: (888) 493-1629
If you have suffered a serious loss as a result of a personal injury, unfair business practices, or negligence related to a construction defect, you should consult with an experienced Houston business litigation lawyer to learn more about your options. At Arnold & Itkin LLP, our legal team has extensive experience in the area of business litigation and construction defect law that can be used to your advantage when filing a claim.
We understand that this may be a frustrating, emotional, or a financially devastating time in the lives of victims, and we do everything in our power to ensure that our clients are compensated for what they have lost. When dealing with a matter relating to a construction defect or a defect in the structure of your building, you may be entitled to claim compensation from those responsible for your loss, and we can help you seek it.
For a free consultation, contact a Houston construction defect attorney at Arnold & Itkin LLP.