There are three types of construction defects: workmanship, design and material. Depending on the problem, you may have the right, as a homeowner or new buyer, to have repairs made by the seller or the construction team that led to the defects. In some cases, materials can be replaced by manufacturers, since the defects lie in the materials themselves.
To understand who is responsible for the defects, you need to understand the above three categories. Here's a little more about workmanship, material and design defects.
Material defects are defects direct from the manufacturer. These are things such as windows with leaky seals or doors with cracks. Building materials with defects are normally replaced by the manufacturer as long as they are within the warranty period.
Workmanship defects happen for a few reasons, some of which are not being skilled enough to install parts or to complete a project adequately, the failure to follow through with construction documents or failing to weatherproof designs fully. Whether it's poor water drainage at the foundation footings or improper soil compaction, workmanship defects can devalue a property and lead to damage that seriously hinders the safety of a property.
Like it sounds, a design defect means that architects or engineers did not complete a design accurately or didn't produce well-coordinated instructions or construction documents for others to follow. As a result, the design may be implemented incorrectly.
Site conditions may have an impact on how well a design works and if different products or methods have to be used. Changes that have to be made should be understood by the construction team based on the engineer's or architect's instructions and construction documents.
What should you do if a property has signs of defects?
The first thing to do is to make sure you know what kind of defect it is. Once you know this, you can reach out to the party who may have been responsible. For instance, if there is water damage to the foundation, you may wish to call the construction team to review the damage. Once they view it, they can determine if the cause was poor workmanship or design. You can have any team come to look at the damage, but you will want to approach the team that did the work if it's found to be a result of mistakes, defects or other issues.