What can you do if you find a construction defect?

On Behalf of Dunlap Fiore, LLC |

You’ve been looking forward to your new home for a long time. You deliberated over renderings and floor plans before finally deciding on the best one for your family. After the hectic activity of moving in, you’re ready to enjoy your new home. Then, you notice some discoloration on the kitchen wall. Upon further inspection, you realize that the drywall is moist. A plumber explains that the water supply hookup was completed incorrectly, causing significant damage.

What can you do if you find defects in your newly-constructed home? What does your purchase contract say about addressing problems with the home after move-in?

Address your concerns with the builder

Meet with your builder and show them the issue. Your builder and any contractors involved may honor the building contract and immediately take steps to fix the problem and repair the damage.

Understanding your legal options

Louisiana law permits you to immediately file a lawsuit against the builder. This may be your preferred option if you’ve already had problems with the builder. If so, you can consider pursing two types of civil claims.

Breach of contract claims

The example at the beginning of this post could be an example of a passive breach of contract. The builder’s final product was defective and resulted in damage and malfunction in part of the home.

Other types of passive breaches include failing to perform the agreed upon function (construction of the house) or a significant delay in completing a task. An active breach of contract could be if the construction company, or one of its contractors, refused to fulfill an agreed-upon service or product.

Pursuing a negligence claim

A negligence claim against a contractor asserts that they failed to perform the task to acceptable standards, such as per state code. Other reasons to claim negligence include:

• Lack of skill or the knowledge to perform a task

• Lack of ability to provide a satisfactory outcome

Successfully resolving the damage

You most likely want another construction firm to fix problems and the damages they’ve caused. If your original home builder is responsible for the construction defect, they will need to pay the costs of remediation. Legal consultation can help you sort through options for recourse in your particular case.