Everything You Need to Know About Patent Defects
Construction defects are unfortunately very common and often lead to disputes over whether or not the deficiency is actually a construction defect, whether the construction defect is a design, material, or workmanship defect, and who should be held responsible for the defect. When most defects are discovered long after the completion of the project, it’s not unusual for contractors to be caught off-guard and unprepared for a construction defect claim. To give you a starting point and help you know what you should be on the lookout for during your next construction project, keep reading this article to learn everything you need to know about patent construction defects. If you have been accused of a construction defect, partner with one of our Miami construction defect lawyers who understands the specifics of construction law and will work diligently to protect the reputation of your business.
What Is the Difference Between a Patent and Latent Construction Defect?
A construction defect can be defined as any inadequacy or deficiency in the design, materials, or workmanship used in the construction process that results in the failure of a component of the structure and causes damage to a person or property. Generally speaking, the owner of the building has faced financial damages as a result of the construction defect. There are two main classifications of construction defects — patent and latent.
A patent defect on a property is one that is able to be readily identified during an inspection or is already known. It is the responsibility of the contractor, subcontractor, or other construction professionals to locate these types of defects during inspections. A latent defect, on the other hand, is one that’s hidden or concealed and would not be readily apparent to a contractor or subcontractor upon inspection. Apart from the three main classifications of material, design, and workmanship defects, construction defects can also be broken down further into the classifications of structural, electrical, water, mechanical defects, and so on.
What Are Some Examples of Patent Construction Defects?
Patent defects that are discovered during an inspection by a contractor or other construction professional can be rectified before the completion of the project. Some examples of patent construction defects typically found on construction sites include the following:
- Wall cracks
- Broken windows
- Sagging gutters
- Missing tiles
- Leaky roof
- Issues with the building’s plumbing system
- Issues with the building’s electrical systems
In Florida, the time limit to make a construction defect claim is generally four years from when the patent defect is discovered or should have been discovered during an inspection. This varies from latent defects in which the deadline is generally ten years from the completion of the project. If the work has been completed more than ten years ago or four years have passed since the defect should have been discovered, no claim can be made.
How Can You Defend Yourself Against Construction Defect Claims?
There’s a number of measures you can take to decrease the likelihood of encountering a construction defect, including implementing quality control programs, performing a walk-through of the jobsite, repairing defective work prior to completion of the project, and reviewing your contract terms and policy coverage. When you partner with one of the Miami construction defect attorneys from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, we can sit down to review your current contracts and ensure that the terms of the agreement clearly assign accountability and responsibility for work performed and materials provided. Having a better understanding of your liability coverage and responsibilities of the project alone will help to minimize your exposure to defect claims.
If you would like to speak with one of our Miami construction defect attorneys, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.