The construction boom and its connection to the economic and financial difficulties facing our country have been all over the news in the last several months. But behind the nation-wide economic crisis, there are businesses that have been affected by the construction boom in a much more direct way—the buildings they purchased are falling apart — hospitals, surgical centers, apartment buildings and even schools.
There are systemic problems that lead to construction defects. Relaxed building codes and overworked housing inspectors mean that poor construction can slide under the radar, and in some places, the time to complete a building is less than a fifth of the normal time. This rush led to shortcuts, untrained and unsupervised labor, and the use of untested products.
Businesses have been faced with a flood of problems in their brand new buildings—cracked walls, broken pipes, crooked and warped door and window frames, leaky roofs, window leaks, HVAC imbalance (building won’t cool or heat), water pooling next to the building, unexplained odors in the building.
There are several things businesses can do to either avoid a messy construction defect situation altogether or to get relief if they have fallen victim to an unscrupulous contractor.
If you’re in the process of having a building built for your business, be vigilant to make sure that you don’t end up with defective construction:
- Research and know your builder. Find out about any complaints against them, and get references.
- Consult your lawyer. Have them read your construction contract and make sure that you aren’t waiving your rights to a trial and that the warranty is clear.
- Monitor the construction site frequently to observe the process.
And if you do have problems after the building is completed, consult with your lawyer. Correcting the defects can be expensive. There are lawyers who pursue construction defect cases on a contingency fee basis.