Construction defects in new high-end custom home construction are more common than one might expect. Often these homes are complicated designs with details and features that require skilled contractors and subcontractors. Defects often arise when builders cut corners on supervision and oversight. In these cases, there can be a multitude of defects in all areas of the home.
Different Types of Construction Defects
These defects are within interior walls, embedded in structural elements and not apparent to visual inspection. These are latent defects, which manifest themselves over time, often after a severe rain, or through subtle but significant signs, such as cracked foundations, movement in retaining walls or failure of the systems that heat and cool the interior.
Change Order Fraud
Also, custom home construction is more expensive than conventional construction, certainly more detailed and complex, and disputes over change orders are common. Often the owner is unaware of the change order process as it develops and may be surprised at the end of construction by a large change order bill.
Change order fraud is quite prevalent in the industry. Many builders bid their projects low and make up for lost profits by misusing change orders to create additional charges, which can be a significant component of the overall cost. A careful analysis of the change orders, their sequence and scope and the underlying “change” will often expose the fraud.
Construction Defects and the Law
California law protects property owners and provides remedies for construction defects. However, the law is complex and obtaining a recovery from any builder can be difficult, especially when they have misused the change order process to escalate their bill and use these change orders as an offset to your claims. There are time limits that need to be watched carefully to ensure that your claim remains viable. In many cases, it may take 5-7 years for the defects to become apparent.
Construction Defects & Statutes of Limitation
Because of the statutes of limitation, it is important to take action as soon as you become aware of the problem, to document the conditions and retain an attorney to evaluate the conditions and determine whether or when you should file suit. Often the safest solution is simply to file suit as soon as practical to preserve your claims.
If the builder offers to repair the problem, this could affect the statute of limitations. However, one should be wary of builder repairs, which often do not address the root of the problem. The builder who created the defects is not likely to repair them correctly or completely.
Help with Real Estate and Construction Defect Claims
The solution to these problems is simple: Contact Timothy Norton of Norton & Associates, with over 30 years’ experience representing custom homeowners in construction defect and contractor/builder related claims.
Real estate and construction defect attorney Timothy Norton specializes in handling all types of construction-related claims. Contact Norton & Associates today online or by phone at 310-706-4134 to learn how we can help you.