“Construction defect” is a term you may hear homeowner’s associations throw around and business insurers warn against. It’s a concept that many don’t necessarily understand, though, due to the complicated nature of the issue.
But in October 2014 in Lakewood, Colorado, it became a household term as Lakewood city council took action and changed legislation, and not without protest. The measure, ordinance 7-4, allows builders, contractors, and developers the ability or “right” to repair the defects in a home before they’re faced with litigation. The measure also made it so now a condo-association/board needs the majority of homeowners in a condominium community to file a lawsuit with developers, contractors, or builders.
Lakewood’s measure did not pass without amendment, though, one of which gave homeowners the right to not accept an offer from a contractor or builder to repair the defect.
Homes are being built throughout Jefferson County, Colorado, and with this new measure in place, along with the previous Colorado construction defect laws and ordinances, it is common for contractors, builders, developers, painters, landscapers, and homeowners alike to have pressing questions.
As a construction defect attorney, I help people in the Greater Denver area throughout the construction process, as well as when and if they run into issues later. And I don’t just help homeowners; I also defend construction companies, contractors, and developers. Therefore, I understand construction defect from every angle and can answer a wide range of questions. Using my experience in the construction industry and helping people work through construction defect lawsuits, let’s clarify a few aspects about construction defect process.
Defining a Construction Defect
Defining what a construction defect is can be difficult to do succinctly because of the broad areas the term covers. When you hear the term, immediately you picture a construction site, complete with bright colored attired workers and contractors. In reality, these defects cover much more than specifically property construction. Landscaping, contract repair work, tile work, commercial real estate, roof repairs, and even painting all can fall under the umbrella of construction defect.
Construction defects aren’t subjective. One can’t look at something, claim they don’t like the way it looks, and therefore have a construction defect. In terms of commercial real estate, the end result must be varying from the plan, and not look as you had been told. Defects can also occur due to a misstep. These can be obvious to the eye, or not. If you aren’t a roofer, you won’t necessarily know every step to the process, and know what is layered on top of one another. However, you will know when your new roof is leaking.
When Defending a Construction Company, Contractor, or Developer
As a construction defect defense attorney located in Lakewood / Golden, I defend construction companies when their defect issues aren’t necessarily insurance related. Sometimes, this means that I am helping companies who do not have insurance. Other times, I am working with ones that do not want to file an insurance claim about the matter.
Contractors, developers, and landscapers alike can all be held accountable for actions that aren’t necessarily their own. Sometimes, defects occur not due to lack of care in ones work or carelessness but because there were defective aspects of property or material that were blind even to expert eyes. When you finish and call it a job well done, these issues can come as a shock, blindsiding everyone involved.
When Defending a Property Owner
When hiring someone to have property built, landscaped, repaired, or painted, property owners put trust in experts and professionals to get the job done in a safe, correct fashion, When this does not occur, it isn’t just an annoyance, but it also puts people’s safety at risk. When a defect occurs in one’s home, the ever-present question is who to call. Do you call your insurance company or a lawyer? Do you focus on the repair first or focus on the fact the need for repair exists?
Free Lakewood Construction Defect Consultation
One of the most confusing aspects about construction defects, from both sides, is knowing when and how to ask for help. Who do you call first, your insurance company (if you have one) or your attorney? If you call an attorney, does that make the defect issue a larger or smaller problem?
I offer free consultations for a person to discuss this issue. You can call engineers, experts, and tradesmen, but they will charge you and not necessarily tell you what next steps to take. They’ll tell you their professional opinion, yes, but that is their opinion. I work with people concerning their construction defect, and help them figure out how and if they should pursue it. I also work with construction companies to help them decide whether or not they should consult their insurance company.
I offer these free consultations to discuss construction defects because I know how confusing this can be. All you see is the problem right in front of you, but that doesn’t mean you know how to solve it, or if it can be solved. When you call me, it’s now my job to figure out if it is a defect or not.
When to Involve a Construction Defect Lawyer
For both construction companies (and contractors, landscapers, painters, etc.) and homeowners, it can save thousands of dollars by involving a construction defect attorney while the contracts are being signed. It is cheaper to have one in the beginning than in the end. I can review the contract and make sure both sides are protected. Up front, each party knows what is expected and understands the legal binding. Construction companies and contractors will then be held more accountable for their insurance and the homeowner can feel more secure in the transaction.
For more information about construction defect defense, contact my office, Hunsaker | Emmi, P.C. for a free consultation. Especially with the recent changes in Lakewood’s policies, this process is even more confusing. It’s difficult to understand your rights as a homeowner, as well as how to protect yourself as a contractor. Find that protection today.