Construction Defects Laws

Construction Defect Laws

Construction quality is a hot issue, gaining national attention due to enormous class-action lawsuits brought against architects and contractors in states all across the U.S. The size and number of these lawsuits with their large payouts is crippling to the commercial construction industry in their states.

Construction Defects Laws enacted in the 1990’s and 2000’s were at first welcomed by tenants, architects and contractors alike in the hopes they would standardize the laws and lower the risk of litigation. However, lawsuits persisted and increased to the point that now several states are enacting bills to curb the lawsuits and prevent frivolous suits that are making it financially unfeasible to build new structures. To be fair to both sides involved, the courts are requiring mediation as a first step to avoid litigation.

This is all well and good, but tenants fear that the rights they’ve been accorded with the past laws – the right of remuneration against loss due to shoddy workmanship, or the right to expect quality construction, the gains in standardization – will be lost in the legal revision melee. The fact is that commercial construction needs to have standards, and the industry must abide to those standards.

California law firms will tell you that two primary categories of defects that California Courts recognize are:

1) Defects in design, workmanship, and materials – a major component of which is water damage caused by leaks, seepage, and molds.

2) Landslide and earth settlement problems.

This provides a lot of room for litigation, and although the revised laws seem to now support the builder, the best defense is always a good offense.

Yes, you should design and build affordably, but do it intelligently. Utilize high quality air and water-resistant barriers above and below grade, provide appropriate foundation drainage and damp-proofing and wall waterproofing. You must proactively apply quality materials to prevent the issues that generate lawsuits.

From garden roof systems, wall systems, and multiple drainage systems, Dörken works with the developer, architect and/or contractors to provide air and water control materials and the education to choose the appropriate system for each application.