For developers, contractors and specialty trades, getting complaints of a construction defect can be stressful and costly. They often immediately think of the damage their reputation – and their business – could suffer in this situation, but with certain safeguards in place such pitfalls will be easier to resolve. The mantra should be: act quickly, say nothing, and seek the advice of a construction attorney.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO ACT FAST?
Defect claims often involve a series of other legal issues that multiply challenges and risks, including:
- Breaches of contract – If the alleged defect, or resulting damage from the defect, goes against the terms of the contract.
- Breaches of warranty – Specifically if the defect contravenes an express or implied warranty, or guarantee, regarding quality that the parties outlined in the contract.
- Negligence – If workers do not uphold the standard of care required of them under the law and the individual contract.
- Strict liability – Which is only a risk for mass developers in California, but is a risk nonetheless.
CRITICAL STEPS TO TAKE AGAINST DEFECT CLAIMS
As we have discussed in previous blog posts, California law provides an avenue for dispute-resolution before taking matters to court. Even so, business owners must take great care as they move forward to handle these claims.
If a construction defect claim is brought to their attention, business owners should:
- Carefully review the claim
- Reevaluate the documents and records from that specific project
- Seek legal advice regarding the options and obligations under California law
Many business owners might wish to respond to the claim as soon as possible to defend their reputation. And while it is critical to act quickly, owners must still act strategically.