Three different types of construction defects may occur, including design, materials and workmanship. These can cause property damage, resulting in structural problems that leave a homeowner hurt or cause them financial loss.
Your obligation as a contractor is to exhibit a particular “standard of care” when fulfilling your contractual obligations to your client. Any deviation you make from the design or from your contractual agreement could expose you to legal liability. There are steps that you can take to minimize the chances of this happening, though.
Do thorough pre-planning
You should take time to visit a prospective worksite and apprise yourself of local conditions there before agreeing to take on a building project. You may want to have your subcontractors, engineers, and architects do the same or at least meet with them so that you can all get on the same before breaking ground. It’s possible there will be certain workmanship standards that you’ll need to vet these individuals on before adding them to your project. Your risk of a construction defect occurring will reduce if you take these steps.
Take charge of your company’s quality control efforts
As someone in the industry, you’re likely well aware of how addressing construction defects can be a waste of valuable time and costly to do. There’s the time involved in getting your engineer or architect to redesign the defective component. You may also need to source the building materials anew and foot the bill for the labor and damages your customer suffered due to the defect or flaw.
You can greatly reduce your chances of a customer suing you by putting in place a quality control protocol. You can minimize your expenditures by clearly outlining how all parties are responsible for their work and insurance for damages if something goes awry. If your customer does bring a defect to your attention, you’ll want to address it right away to avoid exposing yourself to any additional legal liability.
How to proceed if a construction dispute arises
You may take your time to plan and do everything right, but a subcontractor, engineer or architect that you hire may let you down. It can be daunting to feel like liability for someone else’s indiscretion is all on your shoulders. You may want to consult with a construction litigation attorney to find out what rights New York law affords you in instances such as this.