Construction Defect Litigation: Construction Delays

On behalf of Smith Jadin Johnson, PLLC posted on Monday, January 29, 2018.

When a declarant, developer, general contractor, or subcontrator works on a property, they are required to do their work correctly. This means following building codes and product manufacturer’s instructions, and using the skill and care one would expect a reasonably prudent builder to use. Errors and resulting damages arising from improper work must be properly repaired. If a builder refuses to address errors and damage resulting from his improper work, the property owners should seek the advice of a skilled construction defect lawyer to advocate for their rights. At Smith Jadin Johnson, PLLC, we can and do help our clients get the justice they deserve.

Know Your Rights!

Homeowners may not know it, but every home built in Minnesota is covered by a statutory warranty. This warranty covers the entire home for one year; the plumbing, mechanical and HVAC problems for two years; and major construction defects affecting the structural integrity of the home for ten years.

Condominium and townhome owners and their respective associations have additional legal rights. Under the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act, or MCIOA (Minn. Stat. 515B), condominiums and townhomes are covered by a six-year statutory warranty.

Additionally, all property owners may have rights under the “common law” for things like negligence, breach of contract, and fraud.

Commercial construction contracts often have much more complex warranty provisions. They may require equipment and unique structures to last over a specific period. Some commercial structures, like refrigerated warehouses, computer server centers, skyscrapers and other facilities use a tremendous amount of electricity. Tenants might want a warranty that replaces any electrical fuse breakdown for example. In case of outage, tenants may sue for repair and economic losses incurred.

Within these above time periods, if you discover a defect in your residential or commercial structure, the builder may be responsible for the repairs. However, in many cases, the contractor responsible for the project may be resistant to the claim that a defect exists. It is possible that they will ignore or dispute the claim. In that case, legal representation is required.

Structural Damage

Structural damage claims may be the most serious type of construction defect. Structural problems put homes and the people that reside within them in serious danger. If a structural defect is discovered on the property, there must be an immediate resolution if there is any chance to avoid having to vacate the premises until repairs can be completed.

Fortunately, Minnesota requires a newly constructed home to carry a ten-year warranty for structural issues.  The contractor (or their insurance company) is required to ensure the structural integrity of the property. Additionally, the contractor may be responsible for any items or property damaged as a result of their failure to ensure the property’s structural integrity. A good attorney can help recover these.

Frost Heave

Minnesota’s environment leaves all buildings at risk of frost heaving. This occurs when frost starts to actually displace the base of buildings, which can cause significant damage. Unfortunately, because of our climate, this type of damage can occur in virtually any part of the state. If construction firms fail to take frost heaving into account when building a foundation, they may be legally obligated to fix the issue and pay any damages that were incurred.

Water Intrusion and Mold

Similar to frost heaves, construction firms must take preventative action against water intrusion and mold growing in the building. When constructing a new building, one of the most important objectives is to create a weather barrier that does not allow moisture to penetrate into the interior of the building.

Construction firms are cognizant of this, and must properly install shingles, siding, flashing, caulking, and insulation on every property. A failure to create a moisture-resistant envelope in any one of these aspects of the project can cause a general contractor to be liable for damages. An attorney can help to recover the costs incurred to repair these damages.

Smith Jadin Johnson, PLLC is a leading Minnesota law firm protecting property owners.   Our attorneys have substantial experience helping our clients get the construction defect justice they deserve. For more information, contact our Bloomington office.