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Responding when a client claims there’s a defect in a building

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2020 | First-Party Property Insurance Claims

As a construction professional, your success depends on completing projects and satisfying clients. If someone who hires you is unhappy with the finished product or experiences problems with their property, they might try to blame you for that issue.

What can you do as a construction professional when facing a defect claim by a client?

Validate the issue

The first step in handling a defect claim by a client is to make sure that the claim is accurate. Some people might knowingly bring a false claim against your business in the hope of getting out of paying you. Other people might think there is a defect because they don’t understand the systems or materials in the building.

Asking for access to the property to validate the concern or for documentation of the issue can help you determine whether a claim is credible.

Review your contract

Once you know there is an issue with the property, the next step might involve checking your contract. Specific requirements from your clients might have contributed to the issue, or they may have signed a waiver acknowledging potential problems that could stem from their design preferences or requested materials.

Determine whether another professional could have avoided the issue

If there is a problem deep underground below the foundation of a property, a developing sinkhole could cause foundation sinkage. That would not reasonably be an issue that your company could identify or prevent. However, failing to properly prepare the ground under the foundation might constitute negligence for which you are responsible because other professionals could have prevented the problem.

Determining whether your behavior reflected the standard in the industry and whether other professionals could have prevented the same outcome can help you decide how to defend against construction defect claims made by a client. An experienced attorney can help you.

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