Cases that deal with construction defects are often very complex. They deal with problems with the construction of a building, home, or other structure and any damage which results from those defects. In these cases, it can be difficult to figure out the full range of damages which result, or even who the responsible party may be.
Construction Defects in Homes and Commercial Property in Massachusetts
There are many different types of defects that can arise in the construction of residential homes and commercial properties. Many of them amount to a breach of contract by the builder. In some cases, it can reach the level of a contractor default. Some of the more common defects are described below.
When a building's structure is defective in some way, there may be great danger in occupying that structure. It may be unstable or unsafe. It may also not function as designed or intended. Structural issues include:
- Weak wood for studs;
- Improperly installed doors;
- Drywall problems; or
- Defective or weak flooring.
When water leaks into a home or commercial property, it can cause a wide range of very serious problems. Water tends to infiltrate into improperly installed windows, doors, and into basements. When water leaks in, it destroys drywall and other parts of the property.
One of the most serious issues with water leakage is mold. When mold grows in a home, especially black mold, the property may be completely unsafe to live in. The resulting damage and the cost to fix it can be extremely high.
When heating and air conditioning systems are defective in a newly constructed property, the cost to repair or replace those systems should be appropriately placed on the responsible parties.
When plumbing is improperly installed, it may leak. The damage from a broken water pipe can be severe, but the damage can be far worse if any sewer pipes break. Plumbing issues can quickly become expensive, and it should be the contractor who installed the defective plumbing that should bear the cost of any repairs.
When land is prepped for construction, there is specific work that must be done to prepare the land for construction. When that preparation is not done, or not done correctly, water can collect on the property and ruin the new construction. Drainage issues may cost a great deal of money to remedy.
Defective Concrete Work
Concrete construction requires expertise and hard work. When concrete is improperly prepared and poured, it can look terrible and often cracks. It may also be structurally unsafe, and unable to support any weight without crumbling. In most cases, the only way to remedy issues with concrete is to tear it out and completely replace it.
Soil Settlement Problems
Before building, and before laying a foundation for new construction, the soil must be appropriately prepared to prevent settlement. Settlement can greatly damage constructed property, and it is only with great cost and effort that repair can be made.
Paint or Plaster Work
Paint is part of what makes a new construction look finished, and attractive. When a paint contractor fails to paint with the skill necessary to do good work, the finished product may be unsightly. That paint must likely be stripped and repainted. If the contractor does not perform the work expected, then that contractor should be responsible for the cost of any repairs.
Fraud that occurs during construction can be incredibly costly and is all too common in the construction world. Fraud can occur in many different ways, in the form of certain schemes.
Person Posing as a Contractor
A person may pose as a particular type of contractor, when in fact he or she is not qualified to perform the work he or she promises to do. Often, the person poses as the contractor, promises to do the work, and asks for a down payment to provide that work. Afterward, the supposed contractor never shows and absconds with your money. Construction litigation against the fake contractor can recover your losses.
Contractor Has Someone Else Do the Work
After paying a contractor to do the work, and without telling the hiring party, some contractors hire someone else to do the work instead of themselves. Often this work is shoddy or defective. In that case, you have a right of legal action against the original contractor hired to do the work.
Billing for Work Not Performed
Probably the most common and sneaky form of construction fraud is overbilling or billing for work which is never performed. Many contractors attempt to hide this fake work with the use of confusing or poorly itemized billing statements or invoices. This overbilling can happen slowly, and in small amounts so as to throw you off the scent of fraud.
Remedies for Construction Defects
When construction defects occur in a residential home or commercial property, legal action may be taken against the responsible party. Legal action may include:
- The lawsuit in Court: An action for breach of contract or other cause of action is often the best course of action, and the most likely way to compensate you for the damages caused by poor workmanship or construction fraud.
- Mediation: Mediation is a non-binding alternative to litigation. It occurs before a mediator, a neutral third party whose job is to attempt to foster settlement and a mutual resolution of claims. It may save on legal fees and costs of litigation if it is able to work.
- Arbitration: Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which the arbitrator plays the role of a judge. The results of arbitration are binding and are usually not reversible on any appeal. Arbitration can be created by an arbitration provision in a contract, or if all of the parties involved agree to proceed to arbitration.
Massachusetts Construction Attorneys at the Katz Law Group
If construction defects are an issue with a residential home or commercial property that you have had constructed, it should be the responsible parties that bear the cost of repairs, not you.
At the Katz Law Group, we are highly experienced in the area of construction litigation and have the years of experience necessary to protect your rights in Worcester, Marlborough, Framingham, or the rest of Massachusetts. Contact us online today or call our law office at (508) 480-8202 for a consultation.