Construction defect law exploded in the 1980s when new home construction rates rose dramatically. As homes and condos were hurriedly mass produced, builders began cutting corners and defects proliferated. Some San Antonio housing defect cases are simple waterproofing problems or air quality problems(not actually so simple to the inconvenienced homeowner), but others concern structural defects that render then entire home unsafe or uninhabitable.
Almost any condition that reduces a home’s value could be legally characterized as a construction defect. Defects may be in design, materials, or workmanship; only the first two, however, give rise to products liability claims. Construction defects can consist of or lead to dry rot, water seepage, faulty drainage, termite infestation, structural failure or collapse, defective plumbing, faulty electrical wiring, defective lighting or security, insufficient insulation, and inadequate firewalls, to name just a few examples.
In most cases, expert testimony will be required to prove a construction defect. Experts must have the necessary training and experience to give testimony in court as to the cause of housing damage. If, for example, you have a leaky roof, an architect who has designed effective roofs and evaluated other roofs would be in a good position to give credible testimony on why your roof leaks. A general contractor, by contrast, although possibly the right person to repair your leaky roof, may not be the best authority to convince a judge or jury that your roof was defective.
If you experience losses as a result of a housing defect, you may be able to recover the costs of necessary repairs, relocation costs if you have to temporarily vacate your home, and punitive damages if the contractor’s conduct demonstrated a conscious disregard for your rights. Housing defect claims are, however, subject to statutes of limitations, which limit the time period in which you may bring a claim, so it is best to act promptly once a defect is known. In some cases, statutes of repose will entirely prevent the bringing of a claim if the subject property was completed a number of years earlier, even if you only recently became aware of the damages.