The legal basics of a construction defect claim: part I

From building materials to the actual construction of a structure, to ensure projects are completed on-time and on-budget, residential and commercial developers must rely upon numerous suppliers, contractors and builders. Unfortunately, despite a developer’s best intentions, there are times when one or more of the parties that are involved in the building and construction process fails to fulfill their contractual obligations.

In cases where defects related to the construction of a building are identified; a developer, individual or business owner may choose to take legal action. Legal disputes involving construction defects may relate to the actual building materials used in a project, design deficiencies, construction problems and even deficiencies with the subsurface or soil upon which a structure was built.


In these types of cases, any and all existing contracts that relate to a building project must be closely reviewed. Contracts outlining the specific roles, responsibilities and deliverables associated with developers, materials suppliers, architects, engineers and construction contractors should be examined to determine which party may be responsible for a reported defect.

The legal claims that must be proven in these cases typically relate to negligence, strict liability, fraud and breach of contract and warranty. In this two-part blog post, we’ll examine these claims in greater detail with regard to scenarios that may illicit such claims as well as the parties that may be involved.

With regard to negligence, a developer and general contractor have a duty to “exercise the reasonable degree of care, skill and knowledge.” When a homeowner or business owner asserts that a developer, general contractor or subcontractor is negligent in failing to ensure a structure is built according to industry standards, “the duty of care is extended to all who may foreseeably be injured by the construction defect.”

In our next blog post, we’ll continue to discuss the legal claims associated with construction defect cases.

Source:, “Construction Defect Basics,” Jan. 25, 2016