One of the most common causes of a dispute or litigation in the construction business, a construction defect applies to a wide range of issues. There is often disagreement over the defect because different construction professionals view it in different ways. In short, the flaw revolves around a defective design or defective workmanship, with each side often blaming the other.

Defective design

These typically result from the design professional’s inability to produce a well-coordinated set of construction documents. The defective design usually involves an omission, an error or both.

  • Design error is a mistake usually discovered by the contractor during construction. It requires a redesign or some fix to correct it.
  • Design omission revolves around an incorrect design item or scope of work included in the construction documents drafted by design professionals for the contractor.

Defective workmanship

This involves the contractor’s inability to execute the job outlined in the construction documents. It can include building the structure or a part of the structure. Typical examples would consist of improperly installing an exterior wall system, weatherproofing or flashing, or ground that was not properly compacted.

Defective material

This involves building materials. They could be damaged before delivery to the job site or prove inadequate for the job. Often the job is over or near completion when they are identified. This makes them expensive to fix.

Who is at fault?

The owner is rarely accused of creating a construction defect. Instead, it is design professionals, contractors, consultants, and subcontractors who fall under design, contractor or materials. The contractor is responsible for following acceptable standards of quality, reviewing documents to facilitate the work. They guarantee that the work is free of error or defect. To do this, the contractor should exercise various quality control strategies. For their part, the designer must accommodate all applicable laws, statutes and ordinances. The materials sold by the supplier must serve their stated purpose if adequately maintained.

The nature of this relationship often pits the designer and contractor at odds. Any disputes involve a review of the construction contract to see what was missed. The first goal would be for the contractor to solve the issue, which may not involve removing the defective work.

The contractor should also notify the owner. The owner can then determine if they wish to take further action or legal action with the help of a construction law attorney to remedy the construction defect or get financial compensation to cover the defect’s expense.