Construction Defects

New home construction is big business in Texas. According to a report issued by Texas A&M University, from 2000 through 2007 over 1,000,000 new homes were built in the State of Texas. In the year 2007 alone, it has been estimated that on average 10,000 new homes were built each month in Texas.

While no home is perfect, even a newly-constructed home, many of the problems that homeowners encounter during the new home construction process occur with surprising regularity. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders and the American Society of Home Inspectors, the most common problems associated with new home construction fall into a few identifiable categories: roofing, ventilation, flashing, grading and site drainage, and building code violations.

Improper roofing is a common area of defects in new home construction and can result in substantial losses due to water intrusion and leakage. Thirty-two percent of inspectors surveyed found that inadequate nailing kept roofing from meeting manufacturer’s specifications. Absent or missing felt, exposed nails, and absence of a drip edge are among the other roofing problems continually found by inspectors. Inspectors also routinely encounter design problems, such as roof valleys that dead-end at walls, and improper roof slope. Any of these items can result in substantial losses due to water intrusion and leakage and drastically decrease a home’s resale value.

Another often-cited area of defects in new home construction is flashing, which includes the metal strips used to keep water from penetrating into one surface from another. Inadequate or missing flashing is most often found near chimneys, as well on other areas of roofs, wood decks, windows and doors. Ninety-two percent of the inspectors surveyed in the National Association of Home Builders and the American Society of Home Inspectors Survey stated that improper installation was the most common cause of flashing problems.

Grading and site drainage problems, which can lead to foundation problems, are also routinely reported by new home inspectors. These defects typically consist of a builder constructing a home in a way that surface water to drains toward the home, instead of away from the home’s foundation.

Additionally, ventilation problems, which can lead to mold and other moisture related problems, are a typical source of new home defects. These problems are typically found in the attic, roof, kitchen, and bathroom areas of a home and usually consist of improper exhaust fan venting, improperly sized ducts, and blocked ducting.

Inspectors surveyed in the National Association of Home Builders and the American Society of Home Inspectors Survey cited violations of building codes as a common problem with new home construction. The most common building code violations involve ungrounded electrical outlets, loose wiring, chimney flues too close to a combustible material, inadequate flashing, and inadequately installed water heater relief valve pipes. Any one of these defects could pose a serious risk to the safety of a home and its occupants.

Constructing a new home is a major investment, both financially and in the time it takes to progress along each step of the process. New home construction also contains one additional major investment – the trust placed in the developer, contractor, and builder. When the new home construction process breaks down at any phase, the new home construction attorneys at Powers Taylor can help.

The Powers Taylor team can assist clients with the following disputes involving sellers, developers, builders, and contractors:

  • Post-construction defects
  • Change order disputes
  • Failure to follow construction contract specifications or plans
  • Breach of new home construction contract
  • Incomplete or unfinished home construction
  • Violations of building codes, regulations, or permit requirements
  • Water leakage and mold claims
  • Payment and nonpayment issues
  • Residential Construction Liability (RCLA) claims
  • Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) claims
  • State-sponsored Inspection and Dispute Resolution Process (SIRP)
  • Fraud in a real estate transaction and construction misrepresentations
  • Developer and seller’s failure to disclose
  • Warranty breaches

Many times, homeowners faced with defective construction, may also have a claim against their buyer’s real estate agent, broker or the seller’s real estate agent. Depending on the facts of a specific case, Powers Taylor can assist homeowners with claims against real estate agents and brokers.

Appraisers and real estate inspectors may also share the blame and potential responsibility for a new home construction defect. The new home construction attorneys at Powers Taylor evaluate all aspects of a home construction defect dispute, including whether a real estate appraiser or inspector should have alerted the parties involved to a potential problem before the homeowner closed on the home.

If you have experienced a defect in your new home construction, call the residential construction defect attorneys at Powers Taylor today.