Being a subcontractor is tough. You are responsible for delivering quality work on time and within budget while juggling the demands of multiple projects and clients. But what happens when something goes wrong, and the finger of blame for construction defects points squarely at you?
In a worst-case scenario, you could be held liable for a defect, either by the contractor, the owner of the project or even a harmed third party. If facing a possible construction defect claim, protect your rights immediately. These steps may help.
Understand the allegations
A crucial early step is understanding the nature of the defect allegations. What is the fault precisely? When and where did it occur? The more information you have, the better equipped you are to respond. Sufficient understanding can also inform your legal strategy.
Review your contracts
Your construction contracts do more than define the terms of a business association. They also act as a legal shield when properly prepared. Carefully review the terms and conditions, specifically focusing on clauses related to subcontractor responsibilities, warranties and dispute resolution.
Next, collect and preserve evidence that can support your defense or counterclaim. Here are a few examples to focus on.
- Photos and videos of your work
- Inspection reports
- Daily logs and progress reports
- Material receipts
- Witness statements
The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be. You should also identify and contact any witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
Cooperate, but cautiously
Generally, it is unwise to become combative or aggressive amid construction defect accusations. Adopt a cooperative approach, but at the same time, do not give other parties any ammunition. Avoid talking about your case with anyone. Better yet, seek guidance from an experienced construction law representative to strengthen your protection even more.