Construction Defect Attorneys Serving Property Owners and Associations Throughout Arizona
The construction defect lawyers at Burg Simpson Law Firm in Phoenix handle legal disputes on behalf of individual and multi-family homeowners, homeowner associations, townhome associations, condominium associations, and commercial property owners, in cases involving construction defects and failures. You should not have to bear the costs alone if failures or defects in design, manufacture, planning, construction, and/or repair cause damage to your property.
Burg Simpson has substantial experience with these complex cases. We are dedicated to fully investigating construction defects and pursuing maximum compensation for your losses.
Call 602-777-7000 today for a FREE and confidential case evaluation with a Phoenix construction defects lawyer. Burg Simpson Law Firm serves clients throughout Arizona and nationwide.
What Is a Construction Defect?
In Arizona, a construction defect is defined as:
[A] material deficiency in the design, construction, manufacture, repair, alteration, remodeling or landscaping of a dwelling that is the result of one of the following:
(a) A violation of construction codes applicable to the construction of the dwelling.
(b) The use of defective materials, products, components or equipment in the design, construction, manufacture, repair, alteration, remodeling or landscaping of the dwelling.
(c) The failure to adhere to generally accepted workmanship standards in the community.
The term “material deficiency” refers to a defect that either currently hinders the structural integrity, functionality, or appearance of the dwelling at the time of the claim or is likely to hinder any of these factors in the near future, should it remain unrepaired or unaddressed.
Most of the time, construction defects – whether they are residential or commercial – are a result of poor workmanship, careless construction, defective materials, improper site selection or preparation, and more. Burg Simpson’s Arizona office specializes in construction defects mediation and litigation.
Construction defects typically show up in one of two ways:
- Patent defects: These are flaws that are obvious or visible.
- Latent defects: These flaws are not noticeable, are not visible, or do not appear until much later.
Common examples of construction defects include:
- Cracks in the foundation
- Electrical defects, including faulty wiring, improper connections, etc.
- Mold and mildew growth
- Sinkholes, buckled driveways, and other infrastructure failures
- Poorly constructed balconies and decks
- Leaky windows and sliding glass doors
- Defects in the building’s exterior, including walls and siding
- Water intrusion
Construction defects range from costly structural issues such as a cracked foundation to relatively simple concerns such as poorly installed kitchen cabinetry. The Phoenix construction defect attorneys at Burg Simpson have been fighting for homeowners and homeowner associations for over 45 years – in Arizona and across the country.
What Causes Construction Defects?
Multiple errors before and during construction can cause damage to your property. This includes issues during the design, planning, and surveying phases, as well as during construction itself.
Potential grounds for a construction defect claim include:
- Design defects: Design flaws may arise when an engineer, architect, or other design expert does not produce precise, well-structured, and comprehensive construction plans. Such flaws are usually due to either a mistake or a missing element. Mistakes necessitate the redesign and replacement of a part, while omissions can be remedied by amending the contractor’s work orders.
- Material defects: Material deficiencies refer to situations when building components are damaged or insufficient. Such defects can pose significant problems, especially if they are a result of manufacturer defects, as construction workers may not detect the problem until after incorporating the materials into the project. Repairing these defects can be quite expensive, as it may entail purchasing new materials and incurring additional labor costs. Examples of material defects include subpar drywall, deteriorating flashing, and low-quality asphalt roofing shingles.
- Workmanship defects: Workmanship flaws may arise when a contractor fails to adhere to the construction plan, resulting in substandard work. Instances of this could include improper plumbing that leads to leaks, damage to electrical wiring inside walls, or cracks in the foundation or walls.
- Subsurface deficiencies: If a structure is built on an unstable foundation, it can lead to cracked foundations, floor slabs, or other substantial damage to the building. Inadequate drainage due to subsurface conditions may also cause the property to shift, increasing the risk of flooding or even landslides if the issue worsens.
At Burg Simpson, we fully investigate these situations to determine what caused the construction defect and who is responsible. Our team will come to your property and examine any defect, meticulously review all contracts, and work with experts to obtain testimony supporting your claim.
Who Is Liable for a Construction Defect?
Construction projects generally involve multiple parties. A construction defect lawyer can assess the cause of the problem and determine which party or parties may be held accountable.
Potentially liable parties in a construction defect lawsuit may include:
- General Contractor: The liability of the contractor is determined by the construction contract. The contractor is generally not held responsible for construction flaws if they precisely adhere to the terms of the agreement. However, if the contractor is aware – or should have been aware – that the plan is inadequate, they can become liable. For instance, if the contractor devises a plan with a support beam that they know cannot hold the constructed materials, they will be accountable for any issues that may arise.
- Subcontractor: Like a contractor, the liability of the subcontractor is also determined by the construction contract. In these cases, however, the contractor typically initiates legal action against the subcontractor for the defect in their work. If the subcontractor performs their task according to the contract, they are not accountable for any defects, except if they were aware or should have known that their work would result in a defect.
- Manufacturer: In some cases, liability may fall on the manufacturer of a defective product. For instance, if a water sealant fails to prevent water from seeping through, it is not appropriate to hold the contractor responsible for utilizing that particular water sealant. Instead, the manufacturer of the sealant should be held accountable for producing a defective product.
- Engineer/Architect: An engineer or architect may be held liable for construction defects that result from flawed designs or miscalculations they made. For example, if an engineer miscalculated the weight that the completed construction can bear, resulting in a structural failure. However, if the contractor knew or should have known that the plan would not support the construction, they can also be held accountable for any resulting issues.
How Long Do I Have to Sue a Contractor for a Construction Defect in Arizona?
The state of Arizona imposes a two-year statute of limitations for negligence claims related to construction defects under ARS 12-542, while breach of contract claims under ARS 12-548 can be pursued for up to six years.
Although breach of contract claims may cover most construction defect issues, it is generally in your best interest to address these issues promptly to keep both legal options open.
Arizona has specific laws for new builds, enabling homeowners to pursue claims for defects for up to eight years from the date of substantial completion. This law safeguards new build purchasers from the original homeowner, allowing them to hold the builder liable within the stipulated timeframe, with an additional year’s allowance if the defect is discovered after the eighth year of homeownership.
How Do I File a Construction Defect Claim?
In Arizona, the process for filing a construction defect claim typically involves the following steps:
- Review the contract: Review the contract you signed with the contractor to determine the specific terms and conditions of the agreement, including any warranty provisions or dispute resolution clauses.
- Notify the contractor: Contact the contractor in writing and inform them of the alleged defect(s) and request that they take corrective action.
- Consult with an attorney: Contact Burg Simpson to speak with an experienced construction defects lawyer for free. During your confidential case review, an attorney will examine the details of your case and explain your rights and legal options.
- Obtain a professional inspection: A qualified professional, such as a licensed contractor or engineer, should perform an independent inspection of the property and provide a written report that documents existing defects and their potential causes.
- Provide notice of claim: In March 2015, Arizona House Bill 2578 was enacted, which changed the Purchaser Dwelling Act. Under the Act, homeowners in Arizona must notify the builders and/or contractors of any construction defects. This provides builders and contractors with an opportunity to inspect the work and suggest a remedy for the defect to avoid facing a lawsuit.
- Attempt to resolve the claim: Your attorney may work to negotiate a fair resolution to the dispute.
- File a lawsuit: If a fair resolution cannot be reached through negotiations, your lawyer may recommend taking your case to court to seek damages for the cost of repairs and other losses.
The specific process for filing a construction defect claim can vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case. It is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to fully understand your rights and legal options.
How Burg Simpson Can Help Your Construction Defect Claim
With four decades of experience, Burg Simpson is a nationwide leader in construction defects law. We have fought for homeowner’s rights against developers, builders, and even building material manufacturers. If you need guidance with your case, our construction defects lawyers in Phoenix are here to help!
We Represent Individual Homeowners
Buying a home is more than just another big-ticket purchase – it is a lifelong investment for you and your family. Because of that, we think it is only fair that you get what you have worked so hard to pay for. We are a nationally recognized leader in construction defects. Each Phoenix construction defect attorney at Burg Simpson has effectively represented thousands of homeowners over the years.
What most homeowners do not understand is that you do not have to be the original homeowner to file a suit against a builder or developer, as is often the case with latent construction defects. In fact, you could potentially have a claim against other parties involved in the home-building process.
As part of our representation, we work diligently to get construction defects fixed permanently. We do not believe in quick fixes. Burg Simpson works with our clients to enlist skilled professionals to assess the construction flaws, evaluate repair options, and evaluate the repair or replacement costs involved. Because these cases can be so time-consuming, our Phoenix construction defect attorneys also work with homeowners in the event there are any emergency repairs that need to be addressed before a final resolution is reached.
We Also Represent Homeowner Associations
While a new residential development is being built – and for months or even years after they are completed – developers run the new homeowner associations. One of their priorities, while they are in charge, is to keep repair costs to a minimum. And all too often, when the residents ultimately wrest control of the associations from the developers, they discover a laundry list of repairs that need to be made, along with the associated costs.
We have experience working with homeowner associations to help them hire trained construction professionals to examine the problems and affect the necessary repairs. Our construction defect lawyers in Arizona also work with our clients in an attempt to negotiate settlements with builders and developers when issues arise. These negotiations are almost always a better, more cost-effective way of resolving construction defect issues. Unfortunately, that does not always work. And when it doesn’t, we will not hesitate to pursue a case all the way to a courtroom.
Contact a Phoenix Construction Defect Lawyer Today
For more than 45 years, Burg Simpson has been fighting to hold negligent parties responsible for the harm they cause. We have the experience, resources, and power of a large law firm while maintaining a small-firm focus on the needs of the individual client.
We fight for the underdog. Our attorneys and staff are committed to pursuing fair resolutions for those who have been wronged through no fault of their own.
Good Lawyers. Changing Lives.®
Please call Burg Simpson Law Firm at 602-777-7000 today for a FREE and confidential case evaluation. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers serve clients throughout Arizona and nationwide.