Construction Defects: Why Things Can Go Wrong

Construction defect litigation is a significant part of our practice, and the procedures for prosecuting or defending such claims are complex.  Most construction projects are inherently complicated and present many opportunities for things to go wrong.  Locating defects can be particularly challenging as many of the construction elements are covered over with other parts of the structure, so called “latent defects.”  Finding them and determining a cost-effective repair plan can be difficult.  However, once the defects are identified, the problems are not necessarily over.

The questions remain as to who is going to repair them, and who is going to pay?  This path is not as straightforward as we might like.  Resolution of a construction defect dispute generally begins with procedures prescribed by the Colorado Construction Defect Act (“CDARA”) which prescribes certain notice and inspection sequences.  CDARA also imposes other requirements such as limitations on certain categories of damages.  CDARA is discussed in more detail here.

Below is a video animation that we presented to a jury to demonstrate the complexity of a construction project and, in that case, how latent construction defects caused water leakage problems in a multi-family, residential construction project.  Water leakage sources are particularly elusive as water can enter a structure at almost any opening such as around windows or doors, or though different components of the roof.

The animation depicts the construction details and sequence for a 200-unit apartment building that had long term water infiltration issues.  The video sequence was presented through the testimony of an expert witness which allowed the jury to better understand the complexity of the construction, and the potential sources of water infiltration.