Construction defect claims in brand new homes have been on the increase. In the news, ABC stations nationwide broadcast the article Investigation: New Home Heartbreak last fall. The investigation found “poor workmanship and failure to honor a warranty topping the list of common gripes against builders.” DR Horton, the largest homebuilder in the US, was found negligent in the construction of a Jacksonville, Florida, community and was ordered to pay $9.6M to repair defects in 240 condominiums. Construction experts testified that not only do the homes violate Florida building code, but they have cracked stucco, leaking roofs and faulty windows and sliding glass doors.
DR Horton denied violating construction codes saying that any defects were minor and infrequent in the homes they built. Instead the builder said that problems were caused when the Florida condominium association failed to properly maintain the homes.
The National Association of Home Builders states:
Virtually all residential construction must adhere to comprehensive building codes and standards governed by local and state laws. Because of the cost and complexity of developing and maintaining such codes, state and local governments typically adopt nationally recognized model codes, often amending them to reflect local construction practices, climate and geography. Most U.S. communities adopt the International Code Council’s I-Codes for this purpose.
Construction defects expert witnesses consult in cases against home builders alleging construction flaws. These experts are knowledgeable on the different construction methods and codes in different parts of the country. They are uniquely qualified to analyze and opine on structural design, building materials, the quality of construction, and more. The DR Horton case in Jacksonville encompassed four years of litigation. The builder was ordered to remove and replace the stucco, roofs and windows on all the 240 condos. Litigation on this scale necessitates hiring a construction defects expert witness to interpret evidence and present an unbiased opinion to the court.