Common Causes for Construction Defects

Construction defects can be the result of various deficiencies from the products used, construction and installation methods, or the design of the work. Some damage is immediately obvious, like burst pipes, but other damage may take more time to discover, like a slowly shifting foundation or a small leak resulting from flashing problems.

There are three main types of construction defects:

  1. Building Materials: failure caused by defective or damaged materials.
    • Examples include inferior products that do not last as long as intended or window frames bent during transit that do not allow for proper installation, leading to water intrusion.

  2. Workmanship: defect is due to poor quality workmanship, which can result in a range of damages.
    • For example, improper plumbing work can cause leaks that might promote mold growth or damage electrical wires in a wall.
  3. Design: failure of architects or engineers in the design of the building or system.
    • This might be a flawed roof design that results in water intrusion, poor drainage, or inadequate structural support.

Some of the most common and high-cost construction defect areas include:

        • Structural integrity
        • Expansive soils
        • Mechanical
        • Electrical
        • Building envelope/water leaks
        • Thermal and moisture protection
        • Doors, windows, and glass installation
        • Finishes

When allegations of construction defects are presented, understanding each of these potential failure mechanisms (materials, workmanship, or design) can help to identify potential responsible parties. If you end up needing an expert witness to investigate a construction defect, the engineers at CED have the experience and expertise to determine construction defects.