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Common construction defects? Know them so you can spot them

One of the toughest aspects of the job for homeowner or condominium associations is dealing with construction defects that may affect units built around the same time, by the same builder or with the same materials.

Why are they so tough? Construction defects are not always obvious. The defect itself may be hidden beneath the walls of the unit, visible only because of a symptom (like mold) caused by the defect (improperly installed window that leaks). Yet, there are often strict time limitations in which an HOA or condo association can bring a lawsuit on behalf of the owners.

3 Common Construction Defects

The best thing that these associations can do is stay vigilant. They should treat a single report as an indication that there may be a greater problem. Here are three of the most common construction defects

  1. Leaks: Water is essential to life, but highly damaging to homes. Leaky facades or windows are one of the biggest types of construction defects. A driving factor for these types of defects is the complexity of design and features. A glass curtain wall may look sleek and modern, but was every piece properly installed?
  2. Ventilation and/or exhaust issues: The systems that facilitate airflow are like a puzzle - with plenty of opportunity for mistakes. Failure to connect even one point could affect many different units.
  3. Substitutions: Improper design or failed implementation are not always to blame. A unit can be designed properly and built right but with the wrong materials. During the course of a project, developers/builders may substitute one type of material for another due to availability or cost. In fact, many plans include a disclaimer for these exact reasons, but sometimes the material is substandard.

Every association should be ready to address potential construction defects, get advice and take action to ensure that it has put the proper parties on notice, preserve evidence and protected the interests of its individual owners.

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