Architects, engineers and property developers in Florida and around the country can face lawsuits when the buildings they design or build are defective in some way. A construction defect is a deficiency in the design, materials or workmanship of a structure that results in a component or the entire building failing and causes its owner injury, loss or damage. Construction defects can be grouped into two main categories. These are design and subsurface deficiencies and material and construction deficiencies.
Design and subsurface deficiencies
Lawsuits over design and subsurface deficiencies are usually filed against architects or engineers who design buildings that are not suitable for the purpose intended or fail to detect that a lot will not provide a stable foundation or sufficient drainage. Examples of design defects include building plans that allow water to accumulate, do not provide adequate support or violate local building codes.
Material and construction deficiencies
The defendants in lawsuits that allege buildings were erected shoddily or constructed using substandard materials are usually contractors or property developers. This kind of defect may not be immediately apparent, and building owners may only realize that they have a problem when cracks or signs of deterioration appear near vulnerable areas like windows, doors and rooflines or mold begins to grow in bathrooms.
Remedies in construction defect lawsuits
The remedies in a construction defect lawsuit will depend on the type of deficiency and the impact it has on the building’s usability and value. If the defect is minor and repairable, attorneys with experience in this area could seek damages sufficient to cover repairs and compensate building owners their out-of-pocket expenses. When deficiencies are more serious, attorneys may seek lost rental income or diminished value damages. If the defendants in construction defect lawsuits appear to have acted with gross negligence, attorneys may also seek punitive damages.