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4 types of construction defects

Having a home built to your specifications is one of the greatest dreams anyone can achieve. You can specify details, from the types of built-in appliances in the kitchen, to the number of bedrooms, to the bathroom facilities.

While lifting boxes and hauling furniture isn't always easy, the day you finally move in is more than exciting. Everything is shiny and new. You get a clean start, deciding where to put the silverware or cutting the law for the first time. The smell of fresh paint still lingers in the air.

Purchasing your home was a dream. You spent thousands to make your dream come true, and will be paying a large mortgage for the next 10, 15 or 30 years. The truth is that your dream was also a significant investment, one of which can swiftly turn into a nightmare if you find that your home is compromised by construction defects.

What is a construction defect? A stain can be painted over and a scratch repaired, but at what point do the little things become a legal liability? When can you bring an action against a builder, contractor or other party?

Construction defects can be classified in four general groups:

  • Design defects can be caused by mistakes made by the architect or by a misunderstanding about what you want in your new home. A cracked foundation or a ceiling collapse, for example, may be actionable. Another example may be as simple as not electrical wiring run where it needs to be.
  • Materials defects are caused by a contractor who tries to cut corners by using inferior building materials or materials that have been damaged in transit. Using such materials could compromise the integrity of the home once it is completed.
  • Construction defects are often the result of a contractor using an untrained, inexperienced workforce. Improperly installed pipes can cause leaks. Poorly wired electrical systems can cause power problems. The possibilities for a poorly constructed home being compromised in this way are almost endless.
  • Maintenance issues can result when you are unaware of what needs to be done to keep your home in working order. Issues ranging from failed sealants to frozen pipes can arise from these kinds of issues. You need to be made aware by the building contractor of what sort of maintenance is required to keep your home in good shape and to avoid costly repairs.

The advance of new technology has only increased the problem of construction defects. Building contractors have traditionally relied on best practices developed over years of experience to make sure that they avoid construction defects. But, everything from new construction materials to rooftop solar power systems have introduced an element of uncertainty to building new homes.

Since you are not likely trained to read blueprints nor are up to speed on current building codes, you have been mostly dependent on the contractor to do a good job. It is disheartening to say the least if, having moved into to your brand new home, you conclude that some construction defect is going to cost you thousands of dollars that you didn't anticipate spending.

How do you know that the construction defect is a minor, unforeseeable problem that could be addressed relatively cheaply or a major catastrophe that could be actionable in a court of law? Clearly, the best course of action will be for you to consult with an attorney that specializes in construction issues.

Tannenbaum Law Group is a firm that represents individuals and homeowners or condominium associations with construction defect claims throughout Florida. We've been at it for years, and have developed a track record and reputation for success. Simply put: we know what we are doing.

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