Construction Defects in North Carolina & South Carolina

Assistance from a Skilled Civil Litigation Attorney

The largest investment most families have is their home. It is where you head to at the end of the day. Your home is where you rest at night and raise your families. But, what happens if your dream becomes a nightmare? You need an experienced, effective advocate to protect your piece of the American Dream.

Instances of defective construction have escalated to unprecedented levels as the pace of new residential and commercial building has exploded. These problems have been well-documented in numerous probing news reports throughout the country. These problems will only grow as areas in North Carolina & South Carolina continue to prosper and attract new homebuyers.

A “perfect storm” of conditions has inspired this virtual epidemic of construction defects. This includes the following facts:

  • Many subcontractors are untrained, unlicensed, inadequately insured, and employ poorly skilled transient workers
  • Large, national production builders rush the completion of entire neighborhoods under tight deadlines without properly supervising the work being performed
  • Large, national production builders do not invest in proper site work leaving many homes vulnerable to foundation issues long after the builder has moved on
  • Builders are cutting corners along the way by using inferior, cheaper materials while charging buyers for more expensive products
  • Cheap foreign materials have flooded in the building market in the United States. Some of these materials contain harmful chemicals which can cause illness if installed in a home.
  • Underpaid or unscrupulous workers will begin a project but then walk off the job demanding more money
  • Builders fail to oversee and adequately coordinate construction leading to rushed, slapdash work
  • Underfunded builders use a “Rob Peter to pay Paul” by financing the next project by using the funds from current job. Serious disruptions in weather, supplies or workers can cause these builders to run out of money and not complete a job
  • Building products have become more complex, require skilled installation, and require greater attention in application
  • Builders brag that they are “insured” but then buy the wrong kind of insurance that does not protect the buyer if the builder performs faulty work
  • Government inspection departments are understaffed, overworked and underfunded
  • Laws are generally designed to protect the economic interests of the builders and not the consumer
  • Laws and government inspection departments do not require a builder to be adequately bonded and properly insured
  • Large builders rely on non-judicial remedies such as arbitration to avoid the accountability of the courts and juries

Don’t allow a construction defect to harm you, your property, or your profitability. Contact our North Carolina and South Carolina civil litigation lawyers at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor for a free consultation.

Warning Signs

There are some warning signs you should look for before you purchase a house or in your current home:

Exterior

Take a walk around the outside of your newly built home, with a camera and notepad in hand. Issues with exterior surfaces, sealing of windows and doors, a patio or deck, and concrete surfacing should be your main focus here. Water intrusion is the enemy.

Look for cracks that are larger than “hairline” – particularly at the corners of windows and doors if the exterior of your house is stucco. If the surface of the stucco is flaking or “spalling” off, this may indicate that the stucco was not applied properly.

Look for gaps between the stucco and windows, doors, hose bibs, pipes, ducts, and electrical fixtures. These gaps could be sources of water intrusion. Water intrusion will cause serious damage to stucco.

Where the siding is a wood or vinyl siding, look for significant waviness of the boards and (if it has rained since the house was built) see if the ends and edges of the boards appear swollen from moisture intrusion. Inspect wood trim around doors, windows, and other locations to see if joints have opened up or cracks in the wood have developed. These conditions may develop over time.

Look for cracks in the walking surfaces and at the intersection between the deck and the wall of the house.

Look for cracks in the foundation or crawlspace. Issues with subsurface preparation typically show up first in the foundation.

Problems with your roof are more difficult to observe and require the assistance of a trained professional. You should not walk on your roof. In fact, if the roof is made of tile, you could void the manufacturer’s warranty by doing so. Watch for signs of water intrusion on the interior ceilings and walls.

Cracks in concrete sidewalks, driveways, garage floors, or retaining walls could indicate that the soils were not properly prepared or that the concrete structures were not properly installed.

Interior

Put a ball down in the middle of the floor. Does it stay put or roll? While no floor is ever perfect, it should be level enough that a ball will stay put no matter where you put it.

Look for water stains around windows and doors on the wood trim or drywall, particularly at the window sills or at the base of exterior doors.

Inspect all interior wall and ceiling surfaces for cracks in the drywall, which could indicate soils movement or structural framing problems. (Lesser drywall problems such as nail pops and tape cracks can easily be addressed the next time you paint the interior of the home.)

If doors are sticking shut, they may have been installed incorrectly. In the case of bathroom or kitchen doors, if the tops and bottoms were not painted, moisture may be causing the wood to expand.

Check for flooring issues such as: tile cracks; uneven wood floor boards or widening cracks between boards; water stains in carpeting or other flooring at the base of windows, doors, or showers; and discolored or curling linoleum. Some of these problems could result from water infiltrating through cracks in the foundation.

Look for water stains under kitchen sinks.

An inability to control heat and air conditioning in rooms may indicate problems with your HVAC system.

Check to see if any electrical plugs or switches do not work.

Holding the Responsible Accountable

The result of construction negligence is the wide-spread incidents of serious building code and shoddy workmanship. Houses leak, foundations crack, and building materials fail. Also, contaminated materials can make homeowners and their families sick. The usual scenario is that general contractors, subcontractors and component manufacturers refuse to assume responsibility for these problems. If they do respond, they frequently propose “Band-Aid” repairs which are neither durable nor return the property to the quality for which the buyer bargained. So-called “warranties” provide little relief or protection and homeowners are left with huge bills to remediate these deficiencies. It also requires navigating a web of contractor/subcontractor relationships, insurance policies, and bond policies to get the recovery you need to fix your home.

We can Help You – Serving cities all over the Carolinas like; Charlotte, Hickory, Columbia, Rock Hill and your community.

The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor has successfully represented homeowners in their disputes with builders, subcontractors, manufacturers, and other parties. For example, we have handled individual and class action lawsuits against manufacturers of defective products such as exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS), commonly known as synthetic stucco. We have represented the owners of commercial structures such as hotels and office buildings in their claims against general contractors. Our North & South Carolina civil litigation lawyers are also experienced in representing condominium associations in construction defect cases.

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