Common Types of Construction Defects
Water leaks are by far the most common construction defect. The most common areas for leakage are the windows, doors, and roof. The vast majority of water leaks are caused by improper installation of the window, door, or roofing system. The installation errors allow water to get into the building and cause damage to the building materials such as the wood, drywall, insulation, and other areas.
Another common issue is foundation movement. Foundation movement can be caused by a variety of mistakes but is most commonly caused by improper structural design or improper foundation construction. As most Colorado homeowners know, the expansive soils throughout the Denver-metro area rise and fall, causing “differential movement.” When one part of the foundation moves upward and another part moves downward, the foundation will crack and deteriorate. In problematic cases, the movement of the foundation will eventually affect the entire structure, causing damage to the windows, doors, and framing of the home.
Cracking, Scaling, and Spalling Concrete
Concrete that is cracking, scaling, or spalling may cause issues to nearby property or may require premature replacement. The concrete issues typically result from improper installation such as improper compaction of the soil beneath the concrete. These issues also arise from bad concrete mixes, poor workmanship, and adjacent grading and drainage problems that cause too much water to sit atop the concrete.
Flooding is a common issue that arises from defective construction. Flooding can occur because water is infiltrating the home from the roof or windows (flooding from the roof downwards). Flooding can also be caused by poor grading and drainage or areas where the home is collecting too much water (flooding from the ground upward). In areas where the snowfall is heavy such as Vail or Aspen, Colorado, flooding can occur when the snow melts in areas that are not designed to withstand the amount of water from the snow.
Major Structural Issues
Although foundation movement is discussed above, other major structural issues often impact homes and communities. Retaining walls that bulge and collapse, decks that are insufficiently supported, and railing systems that are not properly bolted are all fairly common.