Types of Construction Defects

Experienced Representation in Gulf Coast Construction Lawsuits

When you buy a house or condominium that was just constructed along the Gulf Coast of Alabama or Florida, you may expect a relaxing coastal lifestyle. You probably don’t expect to have to repair a new building. Unfortunately, many developers, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers make mistakes while working. This can lead to construction defects that affect your use and enjoyment of your home. These mistakes may be compounded or reveal themselves more quickly as a result of high moisture levels in seaside areas. If your new home has any of the following types of construction defects, or if you are a builder who has been sued for defects in your work, you should consider contacting the knowledgeable attorneys at Milam & Milam.

Common Types of Construction Defects

There are generally four categories of construction defects: construction deficiencies, design deficiencies, material deficiencies, and subsurface deficiencies. Construction deficiencies are often found when there is a failure to construct a home in a reasonably workmanlike manner, or when the structure doesn't perform as intended by the purchaser. Some common examples involve a building's structural integrity, mechanical and plumbing elements, expansive soil, doors and windows, water intrusion and toxic mold, finishes, and electrical, thermal, or moisture protection.

Typical design deficiencies involve a failure to build within a specified code. If an architect fails to consider the need for particular protections against moisture in designing a roof, for example, water penetration, poor drainage, and water intrusion may result. When inferior building materials are specified or used, significant problems can arise.

Material deficiencies include deteriorating flashing or building paper, waterproofing membranes that are inappropriate for the project's location, and inferior drywall or any other products that do not work for projects in that area or that work improperly with another element. If a windows subcontractor is unfamiliar with installation of a particular specialty window, it may not use the proper materials in connection with the installation, leading to leaks. Or the framer might not have installed the rough framing flush with the outside at the window openings, and a later window installer might have improperly flashed the windows, resulting in water intrusion.

It is not uncommon for a design deficiency to be coupled with construction deficiencies in the structure. Poor workmanship can result in water intruding through the structure, cracks in the foundations, dry rot in wood framing, and pest infestation. Workmanship issues may also include electrical, mechanical, or plumbing failures.

Soil conditions vary depending on where a project is built. When out-of-state developers or designers unfamiliar with the soil conditions of the Gulf Coast build here, there may be improper compacting or inadequate drainage. This can manifest in the form of cracked foundations or other damage to a building.

If you notice any of these problems, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against a developer, designer, builder, subcontractor, or suppliers. These causes of action may include breach of contract, negligence, breach of warranty, and breach of implied warranty. A breach of contract claim can only be asserted against a person or entity with whom you have a contract. It is also critical to file your claim within the required time period. For instance, Alabama's statute of limitations for breach of contract is six years. In some cases, there are explicit warranties on the work.

You may also have a claim on the basis of an implied warranty of habitability if your home is in Alabama. This implied warranty may apply when you purchase the residence new from contractors or developers who built it for sale. You also would need to show that nobody else inhabited the residence before you did, the defendants sold it in a defective condition that impaired its ability to be inhabited, and you weren't aware of the defects or could have discovered them before purchase. Finally, you must prove that the defects decreased the fair market value of the residence, causing you to suffer damages.

Consult a Construction Defect Attorney in Alabama or Florida

At Milam & Milam, we use 25 years of combined experience to help Florida and Alabama homeowners in connection with all types of construction defects. Our lawyers rely on clear communication, ethical strategies, and the latest technology to advocate on your behalf in Mobile, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Panama City, among other locations. Our office is located in the Baldwin County city of Fairhope, which is on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Contact us by calling 251-928-0191, or request a consultation through our online form.