A new building project can be exciting. Whether it’s a residential or commercial project that’s new construction or an existing project that’s undergoing remodeling or renovations, you expect that when the construction is completed, you will have a new or new and improved living space. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. When substandard, faulty, or simply defective workmanship is involved, the results can be devastating.
You may feel as though you have no recourse, but that is not the case. As the client, it’s possible to work to remedy the situation, which may include working with a construction law attorney.
What Is Defective Workmanship?
The term “workmanship” indicates the skill, effort, and quality a contractor puts into completing a project. Defective or shoddy workmanship can occur when a contractor does not follow blueprints or construction documents, common practices, or the manufacturer’s installation instructions for a particular building part.
When standards are not properly followed, this can result in defective or incompetent work. This is one reason to have a properly drafted and executed contract between yourself and your contractor.
One of the most common complaints regarding defective workmanship involves the use of inferior or incorrect materials. Doing so can result in a range of problems in the eventual structure, such as:
• Damage to electrical wiring
• Roof leaks
• Mold and other damage to drywall
• Plumbing problems
• Cracks in walls and foundations
• Doors and windows that do not close properly
Over time, these problems can eventually lead to an uninhabitable building as well as injuries to the occupants. These problems will also lead to a decrease in the value of your property.
Despite your best efforts, you may still work with a contractor who does shoddy work. But there are some steps you can take to try and remedy this situation.
1. Document the defective workmanship. Keep notes of every occurrence where your contractor failed to meet his end of the contract. Take and include pictures of the workmanship. This can be instances of the use of mass inferior materials or falling behind schedule. Write a letter to your contractor detailing the problem. Give the contractor a specific date to rectify the problem, or they will breach of your contract allowing you to terminate it.
2. Allow the contractor to cure the problem. This may be a clause in your contract. You may need in good faith to allow the contractor to have a chance to address the issue. If you don’t, the contractor could eventually claim that he should have been allowed the opportunity to. Should the contractor win on this claim, you may not be able to recover the cost for the alternate contractor.
3. Follow through and fire the contractor. This is the next option, and it will be more expensive. The contractor could also challenge you in court claiming breach of contract. Therefore, you will have to show that the contractor was initially in breach of contract. However, your contract may not have a clause that requires them to refund the money you’ve already paid them.
4. Keep records. If you are required to bring in an alternate contractor to complete the work, keep all records and documentation for the work, such as contracts, work orders, timesheets, etc.
5. Filing a formal complaint. You can contact the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board to file a complaint against the contractor. You can also post reviews on websites but be aware that the contractor may decide to sue you as well based on the reviews.
If you have requested assistance from your contractor and they have not worked with you to remedy the problem, it may be time to speak with a West Virginia construction law attorney who can help you with a shoddy workmanship claim.
Defective Workmanship Lawyer In Charleston, WV
Shoddy workmanship is a serious matter and can lead to eventual structural damage and possible hazards for occupants. Whether you see defective workmanship during construction or discover the defects after you take occupancy, contact an attorney immediately to establish both liability and possible safety issues.
Work with a Charleston, WV lawyer who has the experience and understanding to help with shoddy and defective workmanship cases. Contact Chad Love at The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 for a free consultation.