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Construction Defect Claims: What Are They And Do You Need a Lawyer To Handle Them?

Fri Dec 17th, 2021 on     Insurance Claims,    

A construction defect occurs when there are structural flaws or failures in a building due to it being constructed in an unreasonable workmanlike manner. Insurance claims regarding construction defects are typically multi-faceted, involving many parties, including engineers, developers, builders, owners, subcontractors, and more. Sifting through the evidence to determine the responsible parties and holding them accountable takes experienced attorneys that understand this nuanced area of the law. The lawyers at our Miami insurance law firm, Ver Ploeg & Marino, are well-versed in these matters. We focus our practice on assisting corporate and individual policyholders in claims made under their insurance policies and have extensive experience in construction defect claims. 

Common Construction Defects

Construction defects can involve everything from the designs, surveys, plans, construction and alteration of a building. Some defects are obvious almost immediately even to an untrained eye. Others are not discovered until years after the construction is complete. Most construction defects fall into one of the following categories:

Design 

The engineer and architect created designs for any building must be all-inclusive, accurate and strictly adhered to. Quality control measures must be in place to ensure all aspects of the design are specifically followed. Sometimes, even with these precautions in place, defects in construction occur. Examples of construction defects due to a faulty design include:

  • Leaking Facade: In areas with high humidity, such as Florida, leaks in the building’s facade are a common design defect. They usually occur around joints or on exterior walls and can be expensive to repair.  
  • Faulty Roofs: All roofs must be designed in a way that provides optimum run-off of water. If the roof is not properly designed for run-off, water may pool and cause leakage. 

Material 

The use of incorrect and cheaply made materials are common causes of construction defects. It is imperative for building integrity that industry standards are met when purchasing materials for building. No matter how great the workmanship of the installation, if the materials themselves are subpar, there will be problems. Examples of construction defects due to improper materials include:

  • Heat/AC Combination Units: Some new condominium developers are installing one unit that handles both the heating and cooling of the condo unit. While these may seem like a great space-saving option, in reality, many of these units are of poor quality. They are, however, a great way to save money as they are less expensive than two separate quality units. 
  • Non-Working Windows: One major complaint with new construction is non-working windows. Some of these problems are caused by windows whose frames are bent during transport, causing the window to leak once installed. This can lead to significant damage. 
  • Inferior Roofing Systems: There are many different types of roofing systems, ranging from seamless to solar tile. All of these systems come in different grades and offer everything from no warranty to extensive warranties. If a builder or contractor chooses to install a sub-par roofing system, leaks will be the inevitable result, leading to property damage. 
  • Poor Grade Insulation: Proper insulation is essential to ensuring a building is able to heat and cool properly. Without quality insulation, a building may have hot and cool spots due to the uneven distribution of heat and air. 

Workmanship

Even if a builder or contractor has satisfactory designs and quality materials, if the workmanship used in the installation is lacking, defects can occur. These are some of the most common types of defects, and contractors and subcontractors can be held responsible and made to repair defects in installation. Unfortunately, these defects often cause extensive damage before they are discovered. 

  • Lack of Fireproofing Materials: Building codes establish standards of where and how fireproofing material should be installed. Even so, many buildings lack fireproofing material in areas necessary to prevent the rapid spread of fire. 
  • Improper Roof Installation: Improper installation of roofing materials leads to leakage. Exposed and chipped roof tiles are significant contributors to this problem.
  • Leaky Plumbing: The improper installation of plumbing often leads to leakage issues. 
  • Improper leveling: Before building a home, the ground must be properly leveled. If it is not, over time, cracks can form and walls can lean. This is particularly true in Florida. 

Reasons You Need An Attorney For Construction Defect Insurance Claims

If your property has a construction defect, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney at a Miami insurance law firm. This area of the law is extremely specific and there are certain notices and procedures which must be complied with. Other reasons include:

  • Builders, contractors, and subcontractors generally have attorneys on retainer to deal with issues such as this. Having an attorney on your side will go far in helping you to receive the assistance you need.
  • There are statutes of limitation that set limits on the time you have to make a claim of defective construction. An attorney will know what these limits are and comply with them whenever possible.
  • Proving that a construction defect exists can sometimes take a team of professionals. A well-versed attorney will know what evidence needs to be obtained, and how to obtain it, in order to make your claim successful. 
  • When an attorney focuses their practice on a certain area of the law, they typically have extensive knowledge in that area. It is possible there are latent areas of concern in your building that you are not yet aware of, and your attorney can help you discover and prove these defects.

Choose A Miami Insurance Law Firm Experienced in Construction Defect Claims

If you suspect you have a construction defect claim, or even if you are already involved in a construction defect claim, the attorneys at our Miami insurance law firm are here to help. We are experienced in this area of the law, and you may contact our office via our contact page.

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