What is a Construction Defect?

Part of the American dream is owning a home. It is often the largest purchase a person or family will make in their lives. However, such an important purchase can also come with a set of problems that no family should have to face. What happens when a home’s foundation moves or settles? What do cracks in concrete or drywall mean? What about uneven floors/windows/walls, water intrusions, sewage backups, etc.?

Johnson Law specializes in helping homeowners reach solutions when they encounter construction defects. But what exactly is a construction defect?

Colorado law does not define the term “defect”, but construction defects generally occur when a construction professional’s work falls below the standard of care. The standard of care is established through industry standards, manufacturer specifications, and building codes. These standards are in place to protect public health and safety by regulating and controlling buildings, structures, and equipment, including, but not limited to, foundations, stucco, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and drainage, signage, elevators and escalators, electrical systems, framing, siding, roofing, painting, and interior finishes.

The standard of care sets a minimum level of quality for construction professionals to use the products and materials as intended, fully incorporate the individual products and materials into the larger project, and achieve the desired outcome anticipated by the project documents. Defects can occur when inappropriate and/or defective products are used, products and materials are improperly installed, or design and engineering plans are not followed. Experts specialized in establishing the standard of care and determining whether the standard of care was met are important in construction defect cases.

What this means for a homeowner is that a defect can vary significantly and is unique to each case. For example, a homeowner may discover the physical manifestations of a defect if they see cracked drywall or concrete, have difficulty opening and closing doors, notice out-of-plumb walls, have broken pipes, observe discoloration of stucco, discover mold on walls, experience deteriorating building materials, encounter dysfunctional household systems and appliances etc.

Colorado law does not require a homeowner to know what the cause of the construction defect is at the time it is observed, but a homeowner’s claim arises when the homeowner discovers some physical manifestation of a construction defect. In other words, if you see a crack or some problem that could be a defect, the clock could begin ticking on when you can bring a timely claim against your builder or other construction professional.

If you have questions regarding potential defects at your home, please contact Johnson Law to speak with an attorney and hear more about potential solutions today.

-Tessa DeVault

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