Filing a House Damage Claim – When Your Home Becomes a Disaster Zone

By Burg Simpson

Cracked foundation for a house damage claim.

November 19, 2018   Blog, Colorado Construction Defects

A house damage claim, or construction defects claim, is broadly defined as a deficiency in a building’s design, workmanship, and/or the materials used on a project. Construction defects stem from the failure of a component part of a building or structure that causes damage to a person or property. The consequence of defective construction is usually financial harm to the building owner.

Types of Construction Defects

Construction defects and house damage can arise from a variety of factors, but most cases result from deficiencies in design, materials, or construction.

  • Design Deficiencies are the failures of architects or civil and structural engineers in the site selection and/or the design of the building, structure, or system. Examples of design deficiencies include flawed roof designs that result in water penetration, poor drainage, or inadequate structural support.
  • Material deficiencies include the use of defective or damaged building materials. The improper installation of inferior or damaged products will often result in construction defect claims
  • Construction deficiencies due to negligent construction and poor workmanship, can result in a wide range of damages. For example, the improper installation of a plumbing system can cause water intrusion that causes mold or damage to the structure’s foundation or electrical systems.
  • Subsurface Deficiencies can occur following improper soil analysis and preparation. Unstable sub-surface conditions can result in cracked foundations and other structural damage. If the subsurface is not adequately compacted and prepared for proper drainage, it also increases the likelihood that the structure could be subject to moving, shifting or flooding.

Patent vs. Latent Construction Defects

Generally, there are two types of construction defects:

  1. Patent defects are those that are readily apparent or visible to the naked eye.
  2. Latent defects are those that are not obvious or simply are not visible.

Some obvious, or patent defects, like cracked concrete or heaving pavement are often very apparent at the time of construction when liability is clear and the cost of correction is relatively minimal.

Latent defects are those that exists at the time of construction, but remains undetected until after construction has been completed and the structure is in use.  A latent defect will often gradually worsen over a period of time. Examples of latent defects can include a concrete or pavement driveway that progressively deteriorates over several seasons, or a basement that begins to exhibit cracks years later when the supporting subgrade shifts.

Building a Construction Defects Case for Your House Damage

The Increase in Construction Defect Claims Due to Building Booms

Buyers have a reasonable expectation to purchase a structure that has been built and designed in a workmanlike manner. But since the construction boom of the 1990’s the number of number of construction defect claims that have gone to court have increased significantly. Construction defect claims have been filed ever since construction projects began, but as the building boom continues, more cases of shoddy new construction are coming to light, many the result of unseasoned developers, and inexperienced construction crews.  .

Common Types of Construction Defects Litigation:

The most common types of issues involved in construction defect litigation include:

  • Mold
  • Water intrusions
  • Improper drainage
  • Volatile landscaping, expansive soil, and shifting terrain
  • Structural integrity: Concrete, masonry, carpentry, unstable foundations
  • Dry rot
  • Mechanical: heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and electrical systems
  • Thermal and moisture protection
  • Doors, windows, and glass
  • Finishes

Who is Responsible?

When owners file a construction defect claim, there may be several responsible parties. Typically, however, the responsibility is that of the developers, construction companies, general contractors, builders, and engineers of residential structures. This is generally the case, even if the work was performed by subcontractors, or if the defective materials used in construction were manufactured by others. Architects, designers and other involved parties may also be named as defendants in construction defect litigation.

Recovering Damages

Obtaining compensation for damages depends on the cost of the necessary repairs and the decline in the value of the building or structure. Other recoverable damages might include the

  • Loss of the use of property during the repair
  • Cost of temporary housing
  • Court costs
  • Personal injuries

Typically the defendant’s insurance company that was in effect when the damage was first noticed will be responsible for paying the damages.

Expert Witnesses

A successful construction defect litigation claim relies on the testimony of experts who specialize in specific areas of construction. The experts investigate the defect, evaluate the cause and make recommendations for how to remedy the problem.

Expert witnesses are often the contractors and construction workers who have experience erecting structures and understand the building process from design to the completion. Based on their expertise, they are often able to explain what went wrong and why. Expert witness who have experience in the construction industry can often clearly identify the problem, and the party accountable for damages.

What to Do if You Need to File a House Damage Claim

Burg Simpson’s lawyers have represented thousands of construction defect plaintiffs who have suffered damages due to the negligence of developers, architects, engineers, and general contractors. Our team of Colorado construction defects lawyers has the experience and expertise to pursue even high-profile construction litigation cases. If you have a construction defect claim, our attorneys at Burg Simpson can help you. Although case is different, we can work with you to determine whether you have a valid claim. We will discuss the circumstances of your case and the technical aspects of your case. We have the experience and the resources to provide you with the vital insight you need. Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form today or call us at 303-792-5595 to find out how we can help you now.

Burg Simpson’s Construction Defect Lawyers:

There are many factors that determine what a construction defect claim is worth. Every case is different and a reputable lawyer cannot guarantee a specific compensation amount. But the construction defect attorneys at Burg Simpson can evaluate your claim and provide you with an assessment of what your claim may be worth.

Top 100 National Trial Lawyers Legal 500 Best Lawyers in America Super Lawyers US News 2014 Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers