Members of the construction industry are held to a high-standard of care when working on a project. This is true whether they are constructing a new project or remodeling an old one. These standards may cause the general contractor, subcontractors, architects, engineers, suppliers and the developer to be the subject of a construction defect claim.
A construction defect lawsuit can carry severe damages, cause issues with the Contractors State License Board and your bonding company, and may even jeopardize your professional license. When faced with construction defect allegations, construction professionals need to take immediate action to protect themselves.
Construction defect disputes can arise for a number of different reasons. Some common defect allegations that may lead to litigation include:
- Water intrusion
- Lack of structural integrity
- Mechanical and electrical issues
If you're facing allegations of a construction defect, there are several options that can be used to resolve the dispute. These dispute resolution solutions may occur within or outside of a courtroom.
Resolving construction defect disputes can be a time-consuming process. One procedure that can accelerate the dispute resolution process is mediation. Mediation allows both parties to talk directly with each other. A mediator is present to facilitate the conversation and help both sides find areas of common ground.
Some contracts may specify that disputes need to be resolved via arbitration. Arbitration functions similarly to a court of law. An arbitrator will hear arguments and review evidence presented from both parties. The arbitrator will then render a decision. This decision is typically final and usually cannot be appealed.
It is usually preferable to have a defect dispute settled out of court, but that is not always an option. If the dispute needs to be litigated, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands the contract and each party's role in the agreement, as well as the law that applies.
No matter how diligently contractors and developers work, there's always the potential of a looming construction defect lawsuit. Taking the right approach to resolving a dispute can help professionals in the construction industry achieve a more favorable outcome.