It’s not uncommon for buildings to have defects due to the negligence of the construction company. Learn how to sue for construction defects in Houston and more.
When you buy a house, pay for an apartment, or lease an office building, you do it with the hope that it serves a specific purpose. For homeowners, it could be that owning a personal property provides you with a sense of security or fulfills a lifelong dream. For entrepreneurs and business professionals, this could be a conducive working environment.
However, after a while, you may discover defects in the building. Construction defects refer to a deficiency in the construction process, which leads to a failure in some aspects of the structure being built, and that causes damage to a person or property. If you’re a property owner seeking help with construction defect litigation, our team of board-certified construction attorneys can help.
Common Types of Construction Defects in Houston
Generally, construction defects are classified into four categories that we’ll explain below. Defective work starts from the planning stage and could even be found affecting the structure of the building.
Defective architectural designs are some of the most common construction defects caused by design professionals. They are also commonly found in residential construction. An example of a defective design on a residential property is a poorly designed roof that leads to water intrusion or poor drainage during bad weather. There could also be deficiencies in a building’s architectural plans. You can file claims for design defects or sue the contractors for design defects to get back your project expenses and other reasonable expense.
Material defects refer to defects that occur due to inadequate or low-quality materials. A construction company is expected to build according to specified standards. However, some contractors proceed to build with defective materials.
When experiencing a material shortage, some construction workers could often decide to skimp on some building materials. In some cases, they could also come from the manufacturer. Unfortunately, by the time they are discovered, it is often late, and fixing the problem often drives up the cost of construction.
Construction deficiencies are often caused by poor quality. Poor workmanship is caused when a construction company or independent contractor does not build according to building codes and industry standards. These deficiencies could range from simple deficiencies in design to problems with the structure’s integrity.
A failure to build according to the accepted standards within the construction industry could constitute a breach of contract (this could be a material breach or anticipatory breach). Shoddy workmanship is dangerous because it can lead to the loss of lives and property in the future. You can sue the engineer for breach of contract.
Subsurface deficiencies are not immediately visible and are usually caused by expansive soils. Expansive soils increase as they absorb water and cause structural damage to a building. Therefore, construction workers are expected to take the necessary precautions on the construction site. If they don’t, you can file a claim for breach of contract with the help of a lawyer board certified in construction law.
Who Is Liable for Your Construction Defect?
To sue a contractor for construction defects in residential construction disputes, you need to know who is liable. Unfortunately, determining liability for construction defects can be tricky as not everyone may be responsible for the defect. In some cases, the fault could be from the materials manufacturer. In some cases, it could be from independent contractors involved in the project or other construction workers who did a shoddy job.
Adequately proving liability will, in most cases, depend on your residential construction defect lawyer and the provision of your residential construction contracts. You also need to show how negligent builders put you in harm’s way.
What Compensation Can You Get When You File a Lawsuit for Defective Construction?
Texas laws allow property owners to sue for defective construction. As a property owner, you could sue for a wide range of issues, including breach of contract and poor workmanship. You can also get delay damages if the contractor does not complete your work in time.
When property owners file a lawsuit for defective construction, they are usually awarded economic damages. They could be awarded compensation that covers the lost construction funds or costs of restoring your building to the proper condition. Depending on the defects, you may not be able to stay in the building during repairs. In some cases, you may be able to recover what you spent in litigation costs.
Texas laws limit the compensation you can receive in these cases to the reasonable cost required to fix the defects and replace any damaged property. Also called compensatory damages, the actual damages awarded to a building owner would often depend on the damages and injury suffered. In addition, consequential damages may also be awarded to you, and you get compensated for any mental anguish suffered.
What About Construction Liens?
A construction lien is a claim made against a property by a contractor or subcontractor who has not been paid for work done on that property. In a property transaction, the lien gives the contractor rights to foreclose on a property if the owner doesn’t pay. The contractor files the lien document at the Harris County Civil Courthouse. They then issue you a pre-lien notice or formal notice.
The contractor can thus recover their money as long as they don’t file invalid liens, bad liens, or fraudulent lien. Note that construction liens may affect your potential recovery amount in a formal claim for compensation. Find out more from your real estate lawyer.
How To Sue for Construction Defects in Houston
Construction defect litigation can be a long process and often involve several defendants. Therefore, we advise that your first step should involve taking your construction defect claims to the construction company. Then, check for the contractual requirement for sending a notice provision.
Make sure you back up your claim with a report from a licensed building inspector. In some cases, they will acknowledge their fault and make amends saving a lot of time. However, you can hire a construction defects lawyer for your construction defect claims when that does not happen. Before filing a direct claim in a Texas small claims court, go through the notice of acceptance to ensure that you did not accept the conditions you are dissatisfied with. In addition, ensure you meet all the pre-suit requirements.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Construction Defects in Houston
If you discover defects in a construction project, you need to act quickly to get the compensation you deserve. Texas property owners need to do this before the Statute of Limitations runs out or the Statute of Repose bars them.
The Statute of Limitations limits the time in which individuals can bring lawsuits in a matter. The timeline for construction defects in Texas differs depending on the issue. For negligence claims, the lawsuit must be brought within two years, while the limit is four years for fraud, breach of contract, and breach of warranty.
The Statute of Repose, on the other hand, takes away a person’s right to file a lawsuit after a certain period. This way, potential defendants are protected from indefinite liability. The Statute of Repose for construction defects in Houston is ten years, after which you can’t bring claims for construction defects. Speak to construction defect attorneys as soon as you detect defects in your property to know the applicable statute for your case.
Talk to Construction Defects Lawyers in Houston
Discovering defects in your residential, office, or homestead property is disheartening. But with excellent assistance from reasonable attorneys, you can get damages. An experienced residential construction defects lawyer will examine the original contract and Texas lien laws to free you of liability.
The experienced lawyers in our construction law department have extensive experience representing several clients from private property to condominium unit owners.
Don’t worry about the consulting fee as we work with a contingent fee contract. Our legal team can also offer legal advice if you’re uncertain of your legal claims and explain legal jargon. Contact McDonald Worley today to speak with one of our lawyers.