The easiest way to avoid liability for construction defect claims is by preventing them altogether. However, since prevention of a claim is not always possible, it is impor- tant that adjusters take early steps upon receipt of a new
construction defect claim in order to limit liability and ensure
the most efficient expenditure of defense costs.
When does liability arise?
A construction defect generally occurs when a construction
project either fails to conform to contractual requirements and
specifications, or fails to comply with generally accepted principles governing the industry standards, resulting in damages.
Whether your insured is an architect, builder or contractor, they
can generally be held liable for negligence for failure to perform
their duties consistent with the generally expected degree of
competence that a reasonably skilled professional would exercise
under similar conditions. Some of the common construction defect theories of liability include:
• Quality of work issues
One of the driving forces behind construction defect claims
are defects attributed to poor workmanship or quality of work.
Whether your insured is a design professional, developer or
subcontractor, a requisite expertise and standard of care set
the minimum threshold requirements for the work performed.
Construction defect claims are often categorized as being either
patent (obvious or reasonable discovery) or latent (concealed).
Latent defects may exist during construction, but are not discovered or identified until several years following its completion.
These defects can include differential settlement due to improper
soil compaction resulting in cracks to foundational structures
By Luis A. Barba, Esq. and Anthony daFonseca, Esq.