Perhaps you are an executive at a business that hired a construction firm to remodel an abandoned building and turn it into upscale office space. Maybe you are a homeowner who paid to have your kitchen modernized. You might even play a role at a construction firm as an owner or executive.
Many people may find themselves concerned about the possibility of construction defect claims. The companies that provide construction services could face major expenses and damage to their reputation in a construction defect scenario. The clients that hire construction firms could also suffer significant financial losses due to contract breaches or work that does not meet the standard negotiated in a contract.
What are some of the most common reasons that construction defects lead to litigation?
Cut-rate work or substandard materials
Those having work done on a property typically have a vision for the final product. They may request specific materials or provide guidelines for what materials and finishes would be appropriate. When a construction company uses cheap materials to keep costs low, clients may feel defrauded, especially if they paid more because their quote involved prestige materials.
Cut-rate labor provided by unskilled subcontractors can also lead to defect claims. Shoddy tile work and carpentry can make clients feel angry about the condition of the finished product.
While some construction firms will switch out materials in an attempt to trick and defraud their clients, others may have little choice. When someone requests imported tile or exotic hardwood flooring, such materials may suddenly surge in price or become almost impossible to purchase.
Construction firms typically need to communicate with clients about any major changes they will make to the project, including material substitutions. They may need to adjust the price to reflect the use of standard hardwood flooring instead of specialty exotic lumber. Without written permission from the client, a deviation from the contractual expectations could lead to a lawsuit.
There are many situations, ranging from a flu virus burning through a company’s staff members to inclement weather, that could drastically alter the proposed schedule for a large-scale construction project or renovation.
Construction firms need to be realistic when estimating how long it will take to complete the project and should communicate proactively when they have reason to expect a delay in the completion of the project. Especially if the delay results in expenses for the client, it could result in a construction defect claim. Protecting yourself as a client or service provider will typically necessitate addressing known hazards as you negotiate your construction contract.