The construction area of our service is broken down into two major categories. Some construction defects do not manifest themselves into an "occurrence", as defined by the standards of the insurance industry. Accordingly, the construction defects that do not manifest themselves in a failure, i.e. A collapse, rupture, sudden leak, break or mold, are not considered to be a viable insurance claim.
These defects are, for the most part, causes for action against the builder or remodeler, hereafter referred to as the "contractor". Where there are multiple "quality" issues against a contractor it is not unusual for a homeowner to become frustrated in his attempts to compel the contractor to return after he has been paid the full amount of his contract. It may be that the contractor feels that he is "judgment proof" because he lacks the financial assets to justify a lawsuit against him for failure to perform to acceptable industry standards.
It may be that the contractor has thrown up an affirmative defense that his work does conform to some form of acceptable standard and defies the homeowner to prove otherwise, knowing that the homeowner is not in a financial position to fight the contractor in a protracted lawsuit. Lastly it could be a case where the contractor simply refuses to respond.
Historically there is a method to deal with all three situations that has forced all but the most hardened contractors into some form of positive action to the benefit of the homeowner. Simply put, when a contractor takes considerable liberties with the quality issues on a project, he probably has taken considerable liberties with the Building Code.
Putting the project under a close inspection at most always yields a list of areas where the Building Codes were not followed.
Based upon our experience and training, each infraction of the Building Code is a misdemeanor criminal offense. We have had success in documenting these areas where the contractor did not follow the Building Code, giving the homeowner the opportunity to provide the contractor with a dubious option. Fix the cosmetic issues and the more critical areas where he failed to follow the Building Code or rework all of the areas where he has failed to follow the building code. Failure to comply after this would jeopardize the contractor's status as a licensed contractor or, for those working without a license, possible convictions, fines and forfeiture of his ability to pull permits in that jurisdiction. The advantage of this option is that we have found that this tact be can implemented without a lawsuit, and in most cases without a lawyer.
For those with serious construction defect issues with a contractor or his insurance carrier, and want a resolution other than a long expensive lawsuit, giving us a call may be a worthwhile move.