Construction Defect Claims

Construction defects can be anything including deficiency in the design, building structure, flaws in building construction, and not providing the structures like the buyers expectations.   The most perilous defect is while constructing the building, any physical injury or damage to the property occurs. Nothing beats the risk of injury or property damage, but whatever the cause may be the owner is the one who lose everything, attenuation in value, and unwanted expenses that occur while correcting the defects.  This particular defect is often mentioned as a passive defect.  To what extent the coverage applies in insurance policy liability for buyers claim construction defects coverage has been considered as a serious matter, and both courts and the insurance circles are debating this issue seriously.

Deconstructing

Substandard Workmanship by Contractors and Builders – The Consumer’s Legal Rights

Nevada’s consumer legal rights permits property owners with numerous legal options or causes of exploit when it becomes essential to take legal action against contractor and builders for defective construction that has been provided in less than a workmanship manner.  Consumer legal rights includes the property complaints about the construction defects and filing a civil lawsuit against contractor or builder for the negligence in providing the flawless construction.  The property owner should consider the cause of action to follow the nature and level of the defects, and also they should consider the level of damages, and time that they have spent in taking the action.

Construction Defect Consumer Complaint

In case the property owners is not satisfied with the construction work, then they should have us register a complaint with the state of Nevada based on its regulatory authority and license over contracting activities, including subcontractors and residential contractors. The rules of Nevada are that all works shall be done skillfully, and should maintain minimum standards for skillful and workmanship construction practice.

The best way for a customer to get a non-responsive or non-compliant contractor attention or subcontractor’s attention can happen only through filing a complaint with Nevada, because mostly this will affect the contractor’s office, forcing an inspection of the worksite as per the complaint.  In the inspection if they observe the non-workmanship or incomplete work, then the inspector will issue an order called “corrective work order” to the contractor or the builder to fix the problem within 15 working days, it should be implemented immediately from the date of the orders issued.  The follow up inspection at the work site will be performed to make sure that the builder is taking care of the problem and the working as per the schedule in a suitable way.

If the issue is not addressed by the authority through ROC because of misuse of funds by the contractor, or irreparable damage or the contractor does not have license to work, then the property owner can choose to take the case to an administrative hearing, where the judge will decide whether the facts determines that the contractor has violated various rules under the valid licensing statute. The property owner must show the facts through testimony, contracts and other documents carried out between the two parties, or they should show the facts through an expert witness that the work provided by the contractor is less than the minimum workmanship standards.

However, the contractor also have right to defend the allegations placed against him by the property owner with the same procedure, the contractor should go through the process thorough ROC to prove that the accusations that are placed on him are not completely true.  The license can be canceled only when the accusations are proved right and the workmanship standards are not reached the minimum level.  The property owner submits a claim for repayment through the Registrar’s ROC recovery fund.  However, it is applicable only after receiving an order that gets the subcontractor or contractor in violation and revokes the license of the contractor, when the property owners submits a claim for any kind of compensation under the Registrar’s ROC fund.

Notice Requisite and Waiting Period

Purchases Dwelling Action pertains to any action brought against a retailer of residential property happening out of stipulation of the property, and mainly requires that before filing a complaint in court the customer must provide written notice initially by certified mail along with return receipt on request to the “seller” that informs the retailer of the customers intention to get a Nevada Revised Statute  along with a report of the legal and accurate basis for each action. If the construction defects subsist in multi-unit dwelling action, the report of reasonable details may list of flaw in sample units. Although, the counter retailer also has the opportunity and right to respond formally with a “good faith written response”  offering the dwellers to make repairs and reconstruct the defects at issue, or to give  compensation to the property owner to suppress the dispute, and also offering the final date when they are going to clear all the problems.  Retailer must respond through certified mail with return receipt within 60 days of notice, or if the property owner do not want to wait that long, then he can file a complaint at superior court mentioning the cause of action.  But, the customer should not the consequences of this Statute, he or she is allowed to sue the seller only if the seller is in the business of constructing, designing or selling property.

Legal Theories of Liability of Superior Court

If the property owner prefers to file a complaint in superior court, then the notice to the constructor or builder should not only  placed based on actual facts, which supports  each claim of faulty workmanship, but it should also notify the builder about the certain legal  action for which the builder is responsible for not fulfilling the customer’s requirements. Seller should face the consequences for breach of contract, or Express/implied warranties, etc.
Contract: Express /Implied Warranties
A contractor may be liable under claims for breach of contract of express and/or implied warranties.  Under current Nevada law, a builder is held responsible for defective conditions in a home under contract principles, including any express warranty on the work (usually limited by a one or two year time period), and also including an implied warranty of workmanlike performance and habitability.
A builder is responsible for the claims for express or implied warranties and for breach of contract principles, and also includes an obscure warranty of workmanship performance.
The indirect warranty issue is very important because it separate from any warranties and can be ignored, opposite to what many contractors and builders believe.  Furthermore, the obscure warranty relates in favor of succeeding purchasers of a home, not just the initial customer who has contact with the builder. Moreover, the theory of liability for implied warranty is an issue to 6 year state of limitation valid to actions. And lastly, this constraint period does not start until the property owners know their loss and claiming under the implied warranty theory.
This legal theory may increase the scope of the act, which is also applicable for constructor of builder in case of improper accusations constructed on them by the property owner.
Tort Liability:
The contractor’s responsibility also exists in tort legal principles. The legal principles are based on the builders breach of promise, and failure to complete the home in a workmanship manner, it includes personal injury or property damage to the homeowner. The property owner claiming for the personal injury or for property damage, then the builder has to face the statue limitation rule that begins from the date of the damage or injury occurred to the purchaser.  The discovery rule for the personal injury or damage means that in 2 year statue limitation period is applied from the date of the injury or damage. However, a tort claim may bring conjunction with an action for warranty or breach of contract. This claim is applicable only when the actual injury occurred to a person or damage to personal property, but it is not applicable to the structure itself. If the builder damages the structure, then the court rules favor of the builder. So, it is very important for the property owner to complaint against builder for tort liability only if there is actual injury or property damage happened.
Statute of Repose
The statue of repose specifically states that in no incident can claim depending on the contract purchased more than 9 year after large completion, since Nevada’s statute contains only one year grace period, which can be valid only if the defect is found after the substantial completion of 8 years. However, the constraints are applicable only for the complaints based in contract, and it does not valid for negligence or tort actions, even among the contracting parties.
If you are having any questions about claims, Construction Defects, or reason for action, then give us a call at Gallian, Welker, and Beckstrom.

Photo Credit: Alessio Maffeis