Types of Construction Defects
Construction defects can result from deficiencies in a product itself, how something is designed, installed, operated or maintained. Damages might be seen immediately (such as a burst water pipe) or appear over time (such as a slowly shifting foundation).
When allegations of construction defect are presented, understanding each of these potential failure mechanisms (design, installation, products and operation/maintenance) can help to identify potential culpable parties.
#1 Design Deficiencies
Such as failure of architects or engineers in the design of a building or system. Flawed roof designs that result in water penetration, poor drainage or inadequate structural support are examples.
#2 Material Deficiencies
Such as failure due to defective or damaged building materials. Inferior products that do not last as long as intended or window frames bent during transit that do not allow for proper installation, leading to water intrusion, are examples.
#3 Construction Deficiencies
Such as failure due to poor quality workmanship, which can result in a range of damages. Improper plumbing work causing leaks that might promote mold growth or damage electrical wires in a wall is an example.
#4 Operational and Maintenance Deficiencies
Such as failure of the owner to use or maintain the structure or system properly. Not maintaining an exterior sealant may cause it to break down and let water in is one example. Keeping the temperature on an HVAC system too low through the winter, causing pipes to freeze is another.
Protecting Your Work Against Construction Defect Allegations.
Being prepared to defend yourself against a construction defect claim is a good business strategy. Document every step in the construction process to build a solid record that can be used in the defense of a claim. Pay attention to current laws and code requirements in the regions where you work. Work closely with your insurance and legal advisors to help prevent and mitigate your construction defect liability.
More Prepare & Prevent
Subcontractors can have a significant impact on your financial and operational risks. Here are some tips from Travelers to help reduce risks when selecting a construction subcontractor.
A contractual risk transfer (CRT) program can help protect contractors when working with third party services or products.