Houston Construction Defect Attorneys
The construction of a commercial building or one’s home is a process whereby people heavily rely on and confide in their contractors and service providers. Property owners expect for their newly-constructed home or other investment or commercial property to be a safe, reliable, and enjoyable environment. The steep costs of construction services in today’s world reflect these expectations. However, construction projects are usually never perfect and can sometimes result in defective and unsafe construction and workmanship. Not only does this create a safety hazard, but also results in significant financial loss and time wasted for many parties, especially the property owners.
The experienced construction litigation attorneys at Padua Law Firm represent and fight for Texas homeowners, condominium associations, real estate investors and developers, and many other property owners who suffered financial losses due to construction defects. These construction defects include conditions that result in the reduced value of the property, present a danger to those who plan to use and operated the property and have significant reconstruction costs to rectify. Furthermore, because our lawyers have an extensive business background in property development, construction, and the real estate business in general, they are uniquely suited to effectively and successfully analyze and prosecute your case against the responsible parties.
How do I know if my Property Suffered Construction Defects?
Every piece of property has a different purpose and therefore can face a variety of potential construction defects. Some conditions may be obvious, such as large cracks in the foundation, floor slab, or walls. However, many defective conditions become apparent only after many years after completion of construction. Some signs of defective construction include:
- Cracks in walls or ceilings
- Water seepage through the roof, doors, and/or windows
- Dry rot
- Doors, windows, or cabinets that do not open or close correctly
- Stained walls or ceilings
- Flaking or cracking paint
- Heating and furnaces failing to operate
- External patios and walls separating from the rest of property
- Low water pressure
- Cracked or disintegrating driveways, sidewalks, or garage slabs
- Water damage
If you have a recently constructed property and it is experiencing any of the above defects, you may be eligible for compensation from the construction company that built your home or commercial property as well as the other subcontractors and consultants involved in the project. In all circumstanced, we encourage you to contact your builder or developer for an explanation and hopefully rectification of the problem. Make sure that any remedy that is offered to you is a permanent solution, and not a temporary “band-aid” to the problem. In many cases, we also encourage you to have a qualified construction inspector conduct and independent investigation if you suspect that a problem exists.
What Causes Defective Construction?
Construction companies and other subcontractors are obligated to perform their duties in a safe and workmanlike manner and follow the applicable building codes and construction standards. Failure to adhere to these standards is a clear cause of many construction defects. However, keep in mind that these construction companies, and subcontractors are also working pursuant to architectural and engineering plans and specifications. These architectural and engineering plans and specifications are part of the construction design and can also contain defects, which are many times called “design defects.” Construction design defects can be even more costly and time consuming because they many times have structural problems, which can affect all other parts of the construction process.
Defective Construction or construction design defects can arise from any of the following:
- Original design/architectural errors (aka architect and civil engineer malpractice)
- Building code violations
- Improper foundation construction
- Improper site preparation
- Use of improper materials
- Improper landscaping and irrigation
- Insufficient insulation
- Failure to abide by environmental regulations
Design defects can have a particularly delayed onset or are difficult for the average person to observe. It is best to engage a professional inspector or consultant to evaluate the property (and its designed plans and specifications) in order to determine whether there are structural or other deficiencies. Failure to properly inspect the property can result in dangerous, irreparable conditions down the line. Successfully bringing and proving a construction design defect can be a long and difficult process. Prudent property owners need experienced construction litigation lawyers to represent them. If you believe your home or property has a construction design defect, Padua Law Firm will ensure that your rights are protected. If structural or other design defects are found, you may have a claim against the responsible parties.
Commercial Property Construction Defects – Even Greater Liability
In the case of commercial property developments, construction defects pose an even greater risk. A property that is not built to code (or has other defects) can potentially lead to a premises liability case, where the owner may have to pay damages to a third part for losses to life or property. If you are a commercial property owner, it is in your best interest to have the property inspected before any construction defects create liability for you and your business.
Construction Delay Claims
Another issue that can arise during the construction process of a project is a construction delay. Most construction contracts will address delays and whether the delay is excusable or not. Usually, if the delay is due to an unforeseeable or unavoidable circumstance—such as the weather—it is excusable. The exact language of your construction contract is of utmost importance in these situations. A construction delay becomes actionable when the delay could have been avoided or is not excused under the contract. Some examples of avoidable situations in construction delays are:
- When the construction contract specifically provided for a remedy or safeguard
- A lack of staffing on the construction project when the construction company was fully staffed
- Inadequate performance by a subcontractor
Most construction companies and contractors seek to shield themselves from liability for these inexcusable delays by including a “No Damage for Delay” provision in their contracts. However, Texas courts have established five situations in which these “no damage” provisions are unenforceable because the delay:
- Was not intended or contemplated by the parties to be within the scope of the no damage provision;
- Resulted from fraud, misrepresentation, or other bad faith by the party seeking benefit of the provision;
- Has extended for such an unreasonable amount of time that the party suffering from the delay would have been justified in abandoning the contract;
- Is not within the specifically enumerated delays to which the clause applies; or
- Was caused by arbitrary and capricious acts.
Why do I need a Construction Defect Lawyer?
Attorneys with expertise in litigating construction issues can significantly increase your probability and magnitude of financial recovery and make the process much smoother for you. Our construction claim attorneys know the strategic steps to take to avoid having your case being dismissed or underpaid and can also speed up the recovery process. There are several critical steps in pursuing a claim and failure to incorporate each one of them can be detrimental to your recovery and getting your property up to standard.
Padua Law Firm has extensive expertise in the areas of construction claim litigation as well as invaluable general real estate business experience. With this background, our attorneys can understand the various stages and players in the construction and development process, have an extensive network of necessary experts that are needed to properly pursue a construction defect lawsuit or construction delay claim. Do not let your investment of time and money crumble before your eyes, call the Padua Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation and discuss your case in more detail.
Phone: (713) 840-1411