It's a common enough factor in news stories around the world-faulty construction practices cause massive loss of property value or loss of lives. There are many different defects in home construction that can be categorized under faulty construction practices, and any of them can lead to serious issues throughout the life of the building. While contractor licensing and building codes seek to eliminate faulty construction practices, it's not always possible to detect problems immediately-or ever, if the events that reveal the fault never transpire.
It is very common to see a higher incidence of faulty construction practices during periods of very fast construction; inspectors are overworked, and building authorities are under constant pressure to issue permits and move the workload through their offices.
Reasons for faulty construction practices
There are a number of reasons for faulty construction, some of which might be intentional while others are not. Some elements of faulty construction are unknown at the time the building actually goes up, but then the contractor might keep revelations about the design or materials secret and simply try to do better in the future.
One of the primary causes of faulty construction practices is simply economics: The contractor or construction foreman has a lot of jobs to do in very little time if he wants the job at all, and he may feel pressured to cut corners. Alternatively, a materials manufacturer may recall a certain component during a construction project, but the construction company may already have a lot on hand. The temptation is to simply finish using current stock, or finish the current job with that potentially faulty stock, and then buy the improved product for future construction.
Faulty construction practices may not be intentional. It could be a design flaw that the architect didn't detect before passing down the blueprint for construction. Elements of the design might not have been carried out precisely as depicted on the blueprint. A construction worker may accidentally assemble something wrong. There may be an undetected flaw in the materials used. Inexperience, such as may be the case when homeowners choose to do their own construction, may also lead to faulty construction.
Impact of faulty construction practices
Most buildings with some type of faulty construction may never have issues, which is one of the reasons that some contractors deem it acceptable to cut corners. However, in the event of a natural disaster or some other abnormal circumstance, the faulty construction may cause loss of life or substantial property damage. Faulty wiring could cause fires, while faulty gas lines may result in explosions. A fault in the foundation may cause cracking and, over time, threaten the integrity of the entire building.
Faulty construction practices litigation
To sue successfully for faulty construction practices, a potential plaintiff must prove two things: that the flaw is the fault of construction and not any other factor, and that it resulted due to intention or negligence. Much of the time, this is an extremely difficult thing to do. Only gross construction faults that result in dramatic problems within the first few years after building are even somewhat likely to be litigated successfully. After that, the question of the role of natural elements becomes a greater consideration. More often, successful litigation relies on repeated offenses by the same company, where obvious disregard for building codes or safety rules is apparent.