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San Diego Construction Law Blog

Construction defects come from a host of issues

When you pay for a contractor to build you a home or any other structure, you expect that the structure will be sturdy and ready to withstand weather and normal usages. When the building doesn't perform as expected, you might be facing a construction defect situation.

A construction defect can be due to several different factors. The same result is apparent in all cases -- the structure isn't what it was meant to be.

Construction defects demand action

Problems with construction are a nightmare that nobody wants to deal with. When the problem is with your home or business, you can't exactly just walk away and ignore the problem. We understand that construction defect claims are related to what is often your biggest investment. We can help you to learn about the options you have for seeking compensation after a construction defect occurs.

In recent blog posts, we have discussed how climate change and similar matters are affecting the construction industry here. Those factors can come into the picture in a good number of construction defect claims, but that doesn't mean that you should just sit back quietly and watch your investment just fall apart. Instead, you might opt to take action.

California climate cycles likely to intensify

For developers and construction professional, the California climate cycle of drought followed by too much rain at once is a way of life. Builders have to accommodate for arid, dusty conditions and for the possibility of high rains, flooding and landslides, and construction defects can make the impact of such climate extremes devastating. Researchers note that this isn't something that is going to go away anytime soon. In fact, they believe that the swings in weather are only likely to get worse.

The climate in many parts of the state has always moved from arid to rainy season and back again. Recent years have seen much harder swings that are recorded in history, though. Officials and researchers say warming temperatures have something to do with that, and that the implications for dangerous flood and drought conditions are growing.

California weather and construction defects

You don't always see construction defects when you look at a home or property, and families or individuals can actually live in a home for years without realizing a defect is present. In California, one of the things that can bring a defect to the surface is weather conditions.

While it is prone to extreme weather, especially in El Nino seasons, California is known for its beautiful, sunny weather. Seasonal weather is slightly different in the various areas of the state. Coastal areas in the south, such as those around San Diego, typically experience a Mediterranean climate. That means warm days most of the year, with winters coming with more rainfall that the dry summers.

What should be disclosed during real estate transactions

Numerous types of disclosures are required by law in California when one person or entity sells a property to another. The goal of these disclosures is to ensure that buyers are fully aware of the condition and any issues related to a property. While one hopes any seller would be honest, that doesn't always happen. The law ensures that sellers don't try to cover up issues with a property in order to sell it or get a higher price.

Disclosures are usually indicated on boilerplate documents. These documents are templates that make it easy for problems to be disclosed; sellers usually answer the questions in the documents, which ferret out most common issues. If any documents or communications exist about potential defects with the property, the seller might also be required to present them to the buyer prior to any closing.

What is the Cardinal Change rule?

The Cardinal Change rule is a provision that sometimes comes into play when contractors are working with government agencies on a project or development. When you work with private individuals and agencies, the contracts you create are supposed to provide protection and structure for everyone involved, but there are often numerous avenues by which you can make alterations to those agreements, especially when everyone is on board with the changes. Government contract structures are much more rigid.

When contracting with government entities, rules and regulations are even more stringent than when contracting with private agencies. It's not enough that everyone involved agrees that a change in scope or definition needs to be made. If the original contract spells something out, then you can't go against what is spelled out until you go through a formal change process.

Soil Movement and Erosion

While Californians across the state welcome the rain, the amount of rain we got this past week has property managers and homeowners focused on soil stability and erosion control.


Soil erosion can go beyond destroying landscapes, it can cause structural problems and ground instability. Here in Southern California slope stability is an ongoing concern, especially during heavy rains.

The most immediate concerns of course are flash floods and mudslides. Not to long ago we saw the dramatic impact of such events.

California is Landslide Territory

On January 10, 2005, residents of La Conchita worst nightmares became true. Heavy rain triggered a massive landslide that swallowed 13 houses and damaged 23 other homes. By the time rescuers pulled out the last bodies, ten were confirmed dead.

California's natural landscapes are filled with rock cliffs and verdant rolling hills. However, a deep, dark secret is lurking underneath the veneer if beauty. The sad truth is that many California slopes have the potential to catastrophically move.

3 mistakes you might make during the home-building process

A new home is exciting. A home that's not just new to you but is completely brand new can be even more exciting, but getting involved in the residential building process can be stressful. Here's a look at three mistakes that new home owners sometimes make during what can be a complicated process.

Relying on the pros for all the ideas isn't always the best path to happiness with your abode. Yes, professionals should vet your ideas or tell you when something you've dreamed up is impossible, but you shouldn't look to them to design every aspect of your home or know exactly what your preferences are. While contracts and other professionals involved in the process can provide much-needed guidance, only you can decide how many bathrooms you need or whether you want an open or closed floor plan.

Landslide destroys Home!

Landslides, slope failures and soil movement are occurring due to the massive rains hitting California this winter.  Here is a video of a house in northern California being ripped in two from a mudslide.  Slides, subsidence, and other soil movement issues can be both traumatic and a difficult legal challenge. We have handled many cases related to all types of soil movement, from catastrophic slides to cracking foundations and slabs. 


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