What are construction defects?

Construction defects may be excluded from home owner’s policies

Almost any condition that reduces the value of a home, condominium, or common area can be legally recognized as a defect in design or workmanship, or a defect related to land movement.Faulty construction is generally excluded from home owner’s policies, although some ensuing damage like a fire due to an improperly installed gas pipe might pass–it’s a gray area.

In California, for any home or condo completed or closed escrow after January 1, 2003, SB 800 (Civil Code Section 895 et seq.) clarified the types of defects that the builders are responsible to fix.

Construction defects in design, workmanship and materials

Examples include, water seepage through roofs windows and sliding glass doors; siding and stucco deficiencies; slab leaks or cracks; faulty drainage; improper landscaping and irrigation; termite infestation; improper materials; structural failure or collapse; defective mechanical and plumbing; faulty electrical wiring; inadequate environmental controls; improper security measures and devices; insufficient insulation and poor sound protection; and inadequate firewall protection.

Construction Defects may result in landslide and earth settlement problems

Examples are expansive soils; underground water or streams; landslides; settlement; earth movement; improper compaction; inadequate grading; and drainage.Structural failures and earth movement conditions can be catastrophic in nature and present both personal injury and substantial property damage exposure. Landslide and settlement conditions may result in collapse of buildings; cracks in slabs, walls, foundations, and ceilings; disturbance of public or private utilities; and sometimes a complete undermining of the structures.

How do I prove that construction defects exists?

In most cases, you will need to hire the services of an independent construction defect expert. Experts are those who have the necessary training, education and experience to give testimony in court as to the cause of a defect. For example, if your roof leaks, a waterproofing expert who has designed effective roofs, evaluated other defective roof systems and knows how roofs should be built would be in a good position to testify. Your   lawyer cannot, in most cases, prove his case against the developer unless he has a qualified expert. Experts are available in nearly every aspect of residential construction.

DiJulio Law Group