People often assume that construction defects will be readily apparent – a visual clue centered on poor workmanship or shoddy materials. Obvious defects such as undersized beams or understrength concrete can quickly become visually apparent during the construction phase or soon thereafter. Unfortunately, there are numerous defects that can go undetected for months or years after the construction is completed. These are referred to as latent defects and can lead to costly repairs.
A latent defect is a type of concealed flaw either in the materials used or the construction method itself. Latent defects can lead to trouble for asset owners and can include:
- Defective waterproofing
- Insufficient foundations and footings
- Failure to install proper wall ties
- Use of understrength materials
- Poorly assembled reinforcements
Different regions are susceptible to different environmental forces. From relentless freeze-thaw cycles to heavy wind and rain, construction projects must proceed according to the engineer’s specifications. Contractors might attempt to save time or money by using substandard materials or insufficient construction methods. Unfortunately, while these cost-cutting methods might appear fine on the surface, they can ultimately result in devastating problems:
- Mold growth
- Sinking foundation
- Leaking roof
Deviations from the construction plan or shoddy craftsmanship can lead to latent defects. Asset owners might not be aware of any problem until it is too late to correct it. In these situations, it is crucial that the contractors are held accountable for substandard work or faulty materials. Do not hesitate to discuss your situation with an experienced legal professional who can fight for your rights.