The Duty to Repair Defects & Damages
In the first post today, we talked about water intrusion and the preventative measures that must be taken by developers, contractors, and builders to avoid high moisture levels in homes. We also mentioned that one element of the complaint made by Sunset Crossing homeowners’ association against the developer of their townhome complex was failure to repair damages caused by water intrusion. Here, we discuss the duty to repair.
Generally, if a developer or builder is given notice of a construction or design defect, he or she should inspect the alleged problem and repair the defect and any resulting damages. In fact, in California and most states, developers and builders have a “right to repair,” which means they must be given the opportunity to fix the problem or offer payment for damages before legal action can be taken against them. If a developer or builder fails to address the issue, the occupant must take reasonable steps to protect the property from further damage, but these costs are usually recoverable in a lawsuit.
The cost of repairing damage caused by water intrusion, such as repairs to a structure’s frame or mold remediation, can be extremely high depending on the extent of the damage. Furthermore, certain issues almost always require experts to address and resolve the problem at hand. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the existence of mold should be addressed by taking emergency actions to stop water intrusion if needed; identifying vulnerable populations, the extent of contamination, and the moisture dynamic; and planning and implementing remediation activities, such as:
- Establishing appropriate containment and worker and occupant protection
- Eliminating or limiting moisture sources and drying materials
- Decontaminating or removing damaged materials as appropriate
- Evaluating whether the space has been successfully remediated
- Reassembling the space to prevent or limit the possibility or recurrence
If a mold problem or other damage to your home was caused by an error or oversight in construction or design, you should not have to bear the cost of remediation and repairs. The process is complex and intensive, and to be done right, knowledge, expertise, and money are necessary. The duty to repair may relieve you from shouldering the burden of these expenses.
Construction & Design Defect Expert Witness
Licensed Professional Engineer Pierre Handl evaluates construction and design defect cases in California and nationwide to determine the cause of structural failures and damages. If you believe the negligence or mistake of a developer, contractor, or builder compromised the integrity of your home, contact Engineering Expert Witnesses for a free initial consultation.