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THE SHEENA LAW FIRM
Attorneys & Counselors at Law

 

Construction Defects

Many homeowners are discovering that their new homes have serious defects. Purchasers of commercial real estate face a plight similar to that of individual consumers. Structural defects and design flaws pose a serious financial burden for consumers as well as a safety and liability risk.

Construction defects are often difficult to detect and seemingly insignificant symptoms may indicate that a much larger underlying defect is present. In many cases, the full extent of construction defects is very difficult for property owners to assess until the passage of time reveals a significant problem. Many states have adopted legislation that imposes strict time limits, procedures, and deadlines for asserting construction defect claims. These limitations and restrictions may bar claims for construction and design defects before the underlying defects are discovered.

The difficulties faced by property owners are exacerbated when they offer their property for sale. Most states have now adopted a version of the Uniform Real Property Disclosure Act. Real estate sellers are required to deliver purchasers a signed statement regarding the condition of their property. Undisclosed problems frequently result in lawsuits by secondary purchasers of real property.

We provide experienced representation for individuals and businesses faced with construction defects. We understand the unique issues presented by construction defects. We have successfully resolved cases involving synthetic stucco (exterior insulated finishing systems or "EIFS"), negligent design, inferior materials, and poor workmanship. We work with architects engineers, contractors, and inspection professionals in conjunction with personal, hands-on, on-site investigations in order to protect our clients interests and maximize their recoveries. If you suspect that your residence, manufacturing facility, office building, or other real estate improvement was constructed or renovated using inferior or defective materials or workmanship, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We assist homeowners associations and individual home owners in lawsuits seeking compensation for building material and product failures such as:

  • Leaking and prematurely deteriorating roofs

  • Defective shingles

  • Defective plumbing

  • Leaking windows and doors

  • Degraded or rotted flooring

  • Siding and exterior surface system failures

  • Real and synthetic (EIFS) stucco installation problems

  • Water intrusion of all kinds from all sources


Is Substandard Construction the Norm?

Construction defects lawsuits have increased over the last 20 years. There is little question among those involved, construction litigation attorneys, property managers, construction experts and homeowners,  that the quality of construction in the mass produced housing industry is substandard at best, and disastrous at worst.

The Profit Game

While construction projects without serious deficiencies do exist, they are the exception to the rule.  Profits are made by getting the job done as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Developers often spend money on the cosmetic aspects of a project for purposes of enhancing sales, at the expense of the structural aspects, which are hidden within the walls and below the ground. Contractors will often submit the lowest bid, knowing they can make a profit by taking shortcuts, and/or by omitting or substituting materials  called for in the plans and specifications.  Faulty and improper workmanship by inexperienced, unprofessional
subcontractor employees results in problems down the road for the homeowner.

Hidden Faults

There is a common misconception that, because a project appears to be in good shape cosmetically, it must be well built. Therefore, developers know that appearance must be excellent, or the units won't sell.  Unfortunately, the most serious problems are hidden and generally are not capable of being observed by the average consumer. Absent an inspection by experienced professional consultants, often requiring destructive inspections for hidden deficiencies, they will remain hidden until discovered the hard way.

Fire code omissions, for example, will not be discovered until one of the buildings burns down. Absent an affirmative inspection, structural deficiencies will remain hidden until there is an
earthquake.

Liability For Construction Defects

Lawsuits against builders and developers are typically based on one or more of the following:

  • Breach of contract

  • Breach of express and/or

  • Implied warranties

  • Negligence

  • Strict liability

  • Fraud and Misrepresentation.  

However, in the last few years there have been some significant developments, both in the courts and the Legislature, directly affecting the ability of homeowners to recover the cost of repairing construction defects in their homes including changes in many statutes of limitations for new homes sold after January 1, 2003.

Conclusion

If you have construction defects, it is essential to hire an experienced, knowledgeable attorney. Danny Sheena will assist you in determining if you have a case. Contact us today for a Free Consultation.


Danny M. Sheena, P.E.

 
The Sheena Law Firm
2500 West Loop South, Suite 518
Houston, Texas 77027
 
(713) 224-6508 - Office
(713) 225-1560 - Fax
 

Email: Danny@Sheenalawfirm.com

 

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