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What are the 4 common types of construction defects?

While an official list doesn't really exist, construction defects can be categorized into four major types. Each type can come with different considerations with regard to liability and lawsuit requirements, which is why it's important to understand what type of defect you are dealing with.

One type of defect comes from what is known as deficiencies in construction. These defects occur because workmanship is poor or because a contractor cut too many corners when completing a project. Results might include leaks, finish damage, foundation or wall cracks and problems with plumbing or electrical function.

A second type of defect is deficiency of material. This occurs when the correct material is not used either out of a lack of knowledge, a lack of resources or a desire to save money. Inferior materials might not last as long as you expect or can cause functional problems in a building.

Next are deficiencies of design. Often, these don't originate with the contractor but with the person responsible for designing the product, building or renovation. Finally, you might experience issues with maintenance and operation. Depending on how the property changes hands and who is contractually obligated to maintain a property, issues of operation and maintenance might be an owner's responsibility. Warranties on product and work can also impact who might be liable for damages that result from issues of operation or maintenance.

Understanding the type of defect and damage you are dealing with can help you understand who might be liable for financial losses associated with those damages. A legal professional can often help you understand these details and what your options might be for recovery.

Source: Travelers Insurance, "The continued evolution of construction defect," accessed Feb. 05, 2016

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