Patent versus latent construction defects

On Behalf of Dunlap Fiore, LLC |

A construction project in Louisiana can be a complex affair involving many parties doing many different tasks. As such, it is sometimes the case that construction defects occur. A construction defect is something that goes wrong in the construction process that causes some aspect of the structure to fail in a way that causes another party to suffer financially.

In general, there are three elements that must be present for a construction defect to exist. First, there must be a deficiency in the construction process itself. This could take the form of a bad design, damaged materials or poor workmanship. Second, this deficiency must cause the structure to fail in some way. Finally, that failure must lead another party to suffer financial or other damages.

Construction defects can be either patent or latent. A patent defect is something that is readily observable or should be obvious through a normal inspection. Patent defects, because they are easily identified, can be simple to remedy.

A latent defect is not observable and would normally not be found in an inspection. In general, they are below the surface or relatively hidden in some way. For these reasons, latent defects can be more difficult to remedy than patent defects.

When it comes to construction defects, it is important that all parties understand what type of defect they are dealing with, so it can be remedied accordingly. If a designer, contractor or subcontractor fail to meet their standard of care, it could lead to litigation. Construction attorneys understand what a party’s rights and duties are in such cases and can advise accordingly.