How long is a home builder responsible for construction defects?

If there are major issues with the construction of your new home that are causing damage, now is the time to act.

Building a custom home from scratch or renovating your space can be very exciting. As everyone knows, however, there are many issues that can arise during and after the building process.

Worse than discovering small imperfections in your home is realizing that major construction errors cause real damage. Construction defects like leaks, mold, sagging or cracks can adversely affect your property and your physical health. Maybe these mistakes were easy to ignore on inspection day, but over time you realize that the mistakes are bigger than you think. Your biggest investment also loses value.

What are construction defects in a house?

Construction defects come in many forms and create a variety of problems for homeowners. Each state has different laws and limitation periods regarding construction policy.

In Texas, construction defects are defined as “a matter relating to the design, construction or repair of a new residence, of a modification or repair or addition to an existing residence, or of an addiction to a residence, about which a person has a complaint against an entrepreneur. This includes any physical damage to the residence or its property.

Here are some examples of common construction faults that can have serious repercussions and be expensive to repair:

  • Water leaks affecting the integrity of the structure
  • Inappropriate site selection or preparation
  • Windows or doors installed incorrectly
  • Stucco or other improperly applied exterior coating
  • Badly installed roof
  • Development of toxic molds
  • Mold development by water intrusion
  • Architectural design errors that threaten the safety of the structure
  • Lack of structural support
  • foundation sinking or cracking
  • Soil warping
  • Cracking and crumbling of walls
  • Defective plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems

Example in the news

A major construction defect lawsuit currently unfolding is the one in response to the Miami condominium collapse. 98 people were killed in the Surfside condo fall in June 2021, and now developers of a nearby project are being sued by the families of the survivors. Families believe the excavation and construction of a nearby luxury apartment building caused the collapse.

Is your builder responsible for construction defects?

Every certified building contractor has a legal responsibility to build to certain standards and codes to ensure safety. Unfortunately, a serious construction defect can stand in the way of these reasonable expectations.

InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, CA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

When faults do occur, it is the duty of the builder or developer, or in some cases the manufacturer of the defective materials, to repair any problem, repair any resulting damage, and compensate you for economic and quality of life losses. that you and your family members have suffered.

Most home builders have a warranty on their work, but the warranty may not last long. Be sure to take a look at your contract to see how long the warranty is. If the construction is not up to reasonable standards, you may have a breach of contract case on your hands. Most suits for construction defect are considered breach of contract, since the builder has legally agreed to build a safe and faultless home.

Limitation period

You only have a certain number of years to report your construction defects. Depending on the condition, you will need to prove that the problem occurred or was discovered within three to ten years. Some states also have a rest statute, which is essentially the opposite of a statute of limitations. It prevents construction fault claims from being made after a certain number of years, in order to protect builders.

What Can a Construction Lawyer Do?

If you have discovered any flaws in the construction of your home, there are a few steps you need to take. If you haven’t already, be sure to hire a licensed home inspector. You’ll want to get a full picture of the issues, in the language of a home inspector. It will also be helpful to have some documentation and a second opinion in addition to your own. Next, you must report construction defects to the builder or developer of your home. If they are a reputable builder, they should offer to fix the issues. Don’t count on it, however. Many builders, once paid, won’t jump in to return your calls.

This is where legal professionals come in. A home construction defect attorney will be able to walk you through the builders accountability process. In the vast majority of cases, your lawyer will be able to compel the builder to make repairs and compensate you for damage to your health, the value of your home, and your quality of life that their negligence has caused.

A construction lawyer will likely be able to negotiate a resolution without you having to go to court. If a solution cannot be found during the initial negotiations with the builder, the next step is usually mediation or arbitration. If the case does indeed go to court, your attorney will fight for your cause at trial, using expert testimony from professionals in the construction industry. Soon you should have the compensation you deserve and be on your way to fixing your house.

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