Understanding construction defects

When the decision is made to undertake extensive home renovations or build a new home, it can prove to be something of an emotionally draining experience for the individuals financing these major residential construction projects.

On the one hand, they likely feel exhilarated, eager to see a new take on their longstanding surroundings or start living in entirely new surroundings. On the other hand, however, they likely feel apprehensive, worried about the large sum of money involved and, of course, the possibility that something could go wrong in the building process.

As much as people in this situation likely don't want to hear it, the reality is that things can -- and do -- go wrong in the building process. Specifically, their dream project may be compromised by what are known as construction defects.

Construction defects: The basics

In very basic terms, construction defects are those conditions that reduce the value of a home. While the cause of most construction defects is negligent construction/poor workmanship, a home can also see its value diminished as a result of multiple factors, including some of the following:

  • Inferior/defective building materials
  • Faulty soil analysis/preparation
  • Substandard site selection/planning

It's important to understand that there are two different types of construction defects in the eyes of the law: latent and patent.

A latent defect is one that does not manifest itself until years after the renovation was completed or the home was built. By way of example, consider mold growth or foundation cracks. A patent defect, on the other hand, is one that is readily apparent to the homeowner. For example, consider water seepage onto a floor.  

We'll continue this discussion in a future post, including the timeframe in which lawsuits alleging patent or latent defects must be brought here in California.

If you have questions or concerns relating to what you believe are construction defects, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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