Emerging technologies, changing standards and a shortage of skilled labor can present increased potential for construction defect exposure.
The costs and challenges associated with construction defects can change and increase rapidly. With new materials and techniques entering the market, codes and other requirements that can vary by state, and a lack of skilled labor, the causes and consequences of a construction defect can seem like a moving target.
As a contractor, completing projects safely, on time, and within budget should be your primary concerns — not the potential for costly repairs, unwarranted claims or expensive litigation. Even if you do everything right, you can still end up the target of a construction defect claim. When something goes wrong, understanding what happened and why it happened can help save your business the expense of re-performing work or defending claims.
Proactively managing construction defect risk is your best defense. Construction defect claims can be complex, expensive and can take years to resolve. As a contractor, you should:
- KNOW YOUR CODES – Keep up with current codes and standards, including building codes, industry advisories and best practices.
- UNDERSTAND THE PRODUCTS YOU USE – Follow manufacturer guidelines, study product warranties and know the limitations and compatibility issues of every material and system.
- SELECT THE RIGHT SUBCONTRACTORS – Pre-qualify subcontractors to help ensure each has the proper credentials, experience and skills to deliver quality work.
- TRANSFER RISK WHEN APPROPRIATE – Rely on your legal counsel and risk advisors to help ensure contracts protect you against errors and limit your obligations.
- DOCUMENT EVERYTHING – Build (and backup) a solid record of every step in the construction process to help defend against claims of poor workmanship.
Obviously it is extremely important to have the proper insurance policies and coverage in place in case all of your attempts to protect yourself still results in a lawsuit or claim. Our agency would be happy to help you decide what policies would best protect your business and would assist you in defending yourself in this situation. As always, please let us know how we can help.