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Common examples of construction defects

Building a new home is one of life’s happiest and most stressful moments. There is the thrill of enjoying everything a new house has to offer: a place to call your own, peace and quiet, custom features, etc. However, because it is also likely to most expensive transaction you will ever make, you want to make sure everything is just right.

When you notice a problem then, what do you do? Is it your responsibility to fix it? Did the builder screw something up? Are you going to be out thousands of dollars to correct the problem?

The problem could actually be a “construction defect.” This is a deficiency that reduces the value of your home and indicates a failure on the part of the builder to construct your home in a “reasonably workmanlike manner.” While some construction defects may be relatively easy to fix, others can put your safety or the safety of your family in jeopardy. The types of defects are:

  • Design deficiencies: These are defects introduced by architects and engineers that cause systems not to work properly. This can include a poorly designed roof that causes water seepage, bad drainage or bad structural support.
  • Material deficiencies: This is the use of poor building materials, such as lower quality windows, building paper, waterproofing membranes, shingles and drywall that leak or do not properly function.
  • Construction deficiencies: These are flaws introduced by the builder that come from poor workmanship. Some signs of potential construction deficiencies include the growth of mold, rotting wood, electrical problems, leaks and cracks in the foundation.
  • Subsoil deficiencies: When building houses on hills here in Western Pennsylvania, the builder has to take into account the potential for settling, shifting foundations or even landslides.

If you suspect that your new home has a defect, whether it showed up soon after moving in or a few years down the line, it is important to remember that you have rights. Even if you make immediate repairs to fix the damage, you will not sacrifice your right to take legal action against the builder, architect or any party liable for the damage to your home.

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