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Top Construction Defect Claims and How to Avoid Them

According to the Insurance and Risk Management Institute, “a construction defect is a deficiency in the design or construction of a building or structure resulting from failure to design or construct in a reasonably workmanlike manner, or as per the buyer’s reasonable expectation.” The most dangerous construction defects often lead to physical injury or damage to other property.

However, some defects present no increased risk of injury or adjoining property. Once identified, these construction defects need to be corrected immediately to avoid project failure. It leads to delays and additional costs, so construction defects often lead to claims and litigation.

Recommended Book: Construction Contract Claims, Changes, and Dispute Resolution

Construction Contract Claims, Changes, and Dispute Resolution

Most Common Types of Construction Defect Claims in Projects

Unlike construction delays, defects are mostly identified at the later project stages when they have already caused significant damage. Here are some common types of claims arising due to defects in construction projects.

The Common Law Standard of Care

According to the Common Law of Standard Care:

“The architects and other design professionals are under a duty to exercise ordinary, reasonable care, technical skill, and ability and diligence, as are ordinarily required of architects, in their plans, inspections, and supervision during construction.”

According to the law, the architect must prepare plans and specifications with care and the highest professional standard. Architects often have construction claims because they don’t hold themselves accountable for their services. Therefore, they are subject to litigation because of damages caused by professional negligence.

In the case of malpractice, the owner or the contractor should contact construction claims consultants UAE and file a claim against such professionals. It is very hard to avoid because everyone establishes that the architect possesses a minimum standard of knowledge and ability to exercise skills and care.

Contract Claims

These typical claims include failure in the design of the building, failure to meet state or local codes, failure to complete the project on time, performance issues like leaking roofs, drainage control, etc. The contracts need to be specific in terms of their wording; however, the courts apply a negligence standard on the claim if the contracts are not specific. In such claims, the claimant needs to show that the architect failed to perform in accordance with professional standards.

Warranty Claims

Generally, the owners and the contractors cannot have warranty claims against the project engineer or the architect. One of the major reasons is that an architect’s work isn’t the type of strict liability claim. However, if the architect states in the contract that he will be liable if he fails to produce specific results as specified in the contract.

In such cases, the architect will be held accountable if he fails to produce specific results despite conforming to the general performance standard. The plaintiff must show that a warranty existed and the defendant has breached it in specific ways to recover the warranty.

There are two common types of breach of implied warranties as follows:

a) Implied Warranty of Habitability

A buyer or the owner is “entitled to relief based on the theory of implied warranty of habitability if he proves the house was not built in a workmanlike manner or that it was not suitable for habitation.” However, it requires proof of improper construction, design specifications, etc., making the property inhabitable.

b) Implied Warranty of Workmanlike Construction

Implied Warranty of Workmanlike Construction doesn’t always guarantee perfect construction because there is no general standard for construction workmanship. It depends upon the average skill of a workman and their intelligence.

Design Liability

State authorities have established that the architect’s work will be judged by a standard of skills shown by a licensed professional in construction projects. This claim usually occurs because of negligence or malpractice in the design and architecture of the project. To file a design claim, the plaintiff needs to present a few things as evidence as follows:

  • The explanation of duty on the defendant’s part, as mentioned in the contract.
  • Detail about the breach of that said duty
  • A causal connection between the breach and its effect on the project’s performance.
  • The effect of breach on the project.

Similarly, the architect will also be liable to the project owner for any damages that he might have incurred due to the architect’s approval of the project drawings and specifications. So, suppose you are facing design defects in your project. In that case, contact construction claims consultants today and hold people accountable for delays and cost overruns in your project.

Supervision of Work-in-Place

If a contractor of the architect takes responsibility for site supervision and inspection, he is responsible for the supervision of work in place. Most of the time, it is a contractual obligation for the engineer or the architect to offer the owner assurance that the works done on the project is according to the scope and specifications. However, the architect or engineer can be diligent in inspection but is not obligated to identify all defects in the contractor’s work.

Therefore, the architect will not be held liable for construction defects in the project as long as these defects are not due to carelessness and negligence on the part of the architect/ engineer. Regardless, the architect or contractor’s failure to fulfill the contract terms and inspect the work can lead to claims by the project owner. Hence, the architect will be liable for the cost incurred in correcting the defect.

Handle Claims like a Pro!

These are some of the most common types of construction defect claims faced in the construction industry. They are defects in a project’s design, manufacture, and structure. Most people are aware of construction delays, but only some are aware of construction defects and their effect on project performance. However, defects are very problematic and dangerous; thus, they need to be resolved quickly. These defects can turn your project into a failure. So make sure to approach the responsible parties and get them fixed. If you plan to file a construction claim, consult professionals, and cover all the extra costs needed to improve the work done.

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