Common Defects in New Homes
Common construction defects in new homes include:
- Water leaking through windows, walls or roof;
- Foundation cracks;
- Cracks in bricks, concrete and drywall;
- Diagonal cracks above windows and doors, and doors and windows that stick or will not open;
- Mold; and
- Water damage to hardwood floors.
Construction defects can be the result of negligent work by the builder, defective building materials, negligent work by an architect or engineer in designing the building, or negligent work by an engineer in analyzing the soil.
Usually the owner of a home, townhome or condo sees only the outward signs that a construction problem may exist. The most significant damage from a construction problem is usually hidden in a wall, roof or under flooring. Homeowners often do not realize they have a significant construction problem until the property is inspected and the extent of the issues are determined.
Some construction problems can become apparent relatively quickly after construction is completed. For example, soil settlement and the resulting foundation cracking often appear within months or a few years of the completion of construction. Other issues, like leaks into walls, often do not become apparent until several years have gone by.
The most important item to remember is to have any problems inspected and addressed within eight years of when a home is constructed and within three years of when you discover a problem. If you do that, the South Carolina laws that limit when certain claims can be brought should not impact your claim. However, if you have a significant construction problem in a home, regardless of how much time has gone by, it is worth having it assessed to determine if claims can be pursued against the builder.