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New York Construction Law Blog

Construction defects vs. client choices

Posted by Karl Silverberg | Oct 26, 2022 | 0 Comments

When a client hires your construction company to do a job, they probably have a lot of opinions about the aesthetics of that future building. Perhaps it is a home or a commercial location. The client is going to have ideas about the finishings that they want and the end stages of the job that include things like painting, installing flooring, putting up trim and installing light fixtures. These are just a few examples.

What if the client later comes to the site and decides that they don't like the aesthetics of the building? The materials don't work together or it's not what they were envisioning. They claim that your company has not built the structure according to their high standards, and they don't want to pay. You claim, of course, that you simply did the job per their instructions. Are they correct that this counts as a construction defect?

It's only a defect if a mistake was made

The thing to remember is that mistakes are what lead to defects. For instance, finishing defects are certainly an example of a construction defect. A house could be built perfectly, but a sloppy coat of paint can make the interior look terrible and lower the value of the home. This would be a defect that needs to be rectified if the paint job was below industry standards.

However, it is definitely not a defect if the client just doesn't like the color of the paint or the style of the trim. The only way they could make this claim is if they asked you to use a different material and you used the wrong one. But if you simply used the materials that the client asked for and they found out in retrospect that they don't like them, your company is not liable.

That's not to say that this isn't going to lead to a dispute, so make sure you know about your legal options.

About the Author

Karl Silverberg

Karl Silverberg Contact Me: (631) 778-6077 Email me Practice Areas: Construction Law Biography Prior to law school, Mr. Silverberg worked as a professional engineer, and has eight years of experience working as a structural engineer on public sector transportation projects. Mr. Silver...


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