A construction defect is any physical condition that reduces the value of a structure or endangers the health or safety of its occupants, that is a result of a flaw in design, materials, or workmanship, and that is not the result of normal aging or wear and tear. Individuals and Associations often have rights which the developer/builder will not tell you about, including the right to have defects in the construction of homes corrected beyond the one year warranty that builder’s typically include in the contract for the construction or sale of a home. Contact the Floyd Law Firm for a full evaluation of your rights and potential for pursuing those rights.
Construction Defect Claims In South Carolina
In this article, you will learn…
- How South Carolina law can protect home purchasers,
- What role an HOA may play in a defect claim, and
- Who will pay out the damages of your construction defect claim.
How Does South Carolina Law Protect Home Purchasers?
The primary way that South Carolina law protects home purchasers is through the implied warranties that are recognized by those involved in construction work, be it new build or remodeling.
There are also some protections against sellers which would involve habitability.
What Are Some Common Causes Of Construction Defects?
Some common causes of construction defects are…
- Failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions or plans,
- Water intrusion due to a humid or wet environment, and
- Structural problems resulting from water leaks.
What Evidence Are We Looking For When It Comes To Proving A Construction Defect In A Claim?
The most important thing when proving a construction defect in a claim is having good expert work, which involves engineers and, to a lesser degree, home inspectors. You also have to have a cost of repair, which is usually obtained from a contractor who has experience doing the type of work needed.
Who Is Potentially Liable And Responsible For A Construction Defect?
The primary parties potentially liable for a construction defect would be general contractors who obtained the permits for the work. You would then follow the chain down to subcontractors, secretaries, and materials suppliers until you have identified all parties that were involved.
What Role Would A Homeowner Association Play In Addressing Construction Defects?
The role a homeowner association would play in addressing construction defects would be context and neighborhood-specific, and then specific to the governing documents of the HOA. An HOA would have more involvement in a condominium complex than in other track-style neighborhoods.
You would have to look at who owns the aspects of the building that have defects. In condominiums, a lot of times the governing documents will indicate that the HOA owns the windows or the roof. The right to repair is important to identify because that will govern who has the ability to bring the lawsuit and recover, to have defects repaired.
If Successful In My Construction Defect Claim, Who Is Actually Paying Out The Settlement Of The Damages?
Ultimately, you can potentially go after three people for the settlement of the damages:
- The general contractor,
- The builder, or
- The developer.
The judgment laws are not the strongest in South Carolina, so you want to try to find liability insurance that will potentially afford coverage for the claims. This way insurance can cover the claim. Even the bigger builders or national builders have insurance, so that’s usually the first line that you look for. Other times it comes straight out of the builder’s pocket.
How Long Could These Potential Lawsuits Actually Take?
It’s always hard to project how long these potential lawsuits will take because of the nature of the case and the necessity of tracking down subs of subs. Very few builders will hand over their file and tell you everyone who did work on your house. Tracking down the subs plays a big role in your case and COVID, of course, has complicated this process even further.
As a general rule of thumb for a start-to-finish construction case for a single-family home, you’re probably looking somewhere in the realm of two to three years. COVID has slowed everything down and the backlogs and the court systems are complicating factors due to this.
If the case is for a condominium complex, it would typically take even longer. These can be more complex than when dealing with single-family homes.
For more information on Construction Defect Claims In South Carolina, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (803) 361-4812 today.