When you finish the construction of a building, you hope that is the end of your concerns. Unfortunately, construction defect allegations can arise down the road – even years after a project is complete. You may receive notice that the building owner is suing you for a construction defect.
Construction defects involve the early failure of a component or system and are usually caused by improper design, installation or material selection. So how can you prevent these issues from occurring? One of the most effective strategies to avoid construction defect claims is developing a quality assurance/quality control program. Here are some important elements of such a program.
You must ensure all the materials and equipment you obtain meet building code requirements and design specifications. Thoroughly inspect all pieces upon delivery and store them properly.
Be diligent in inspecting installations. Conduct an inspection before, during and after installations. Encourage your employees to notify you of any questionable installations so you can stop work immediately if necessary. This is a vital task that helps you verify the quality of your construction.
Always follow the instructions from the manufacturer. Read over any plans or specifications before using or installing anything. If something is unclear or seems wrong, do not keep going. Write to the planner, architect and owner about the issue.
During the course of constructing a building, you create and deal with a wide variety of documents, including the following:
- Inspection forms
- Change orders
- Material purchase orders
- Requests for information
- Maintenance requirements for building owners
- Training documents
All of this documentation may be important if you face a lawsuit for a construction defect. These documents will help investigators understand the whole situation. One document may exonerate you from being liable for a defect.
When you create and implement a QA/QC program, leadership must completely support and fulfill it. This includes assigning tasks, verifying drawings and providing necessary training.