A Guide to Construction Defects in California - Adamson Ahdoot

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Construction Defects: Pursuing Claims for Structural Flaws and Deficiencies in Construction Projects

July 27, 2023 Alan Ahdoot
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When buying a new home, the last thing you want to see is a construction defect. From leaking roofs and faulty electrical systems to structural deficiencies, these construction defects can turn dreams of having a perfect building in California into a nightmare.

At its worst, it could threaten the safety and health of those living in the house. Luckily for victims, there’s hope. They can seek the justice that they deserve with the help of a lawyer specializing in construction defects. 

If you think there’s something wrong with your new home, we’re here to help. In this blog, we’ll explore the most common types of construction defects in California. If you want to know how our attorneys can help you file your claims, contact us.

What Are Construction Defects?

A construction defect is typically described as a deficiency in the design or construction of a building. These flaws result from a failure to comply with the accepted industry standards. 

Therefore, courts categorize construction defects in California into four different categories:

Defects in Design

Engineers and architects are in charge of designing safe and functional structures. However, just like us, they make mistakes too. When they fail to produce accurate construction documents or follow industry standards, it creates design deficiencies. 

For example, if a home’s roof is not properly designed, it could result in poor drainage and water intrusion. 

Defects in Materials & Tools

When contractors use subpar materials and tools, it could result in many construction defects like leaking windows or cracked concrete. Even if installed properly, inferior materials could still cause flaws in a home. 

This rule also applies when contractors use defective tools during construction. For example, a faulty lathe operator could result in improper cutting parameters and lead to a defect in your home.

Defects in Construction

Poor workmanship is one of the most common causes of construction defects. Sometimes, contractors cover up small flaws in their design.

For instance, they may not tell you about a small water intrusion on your home’s right side. This small flaw could create an environment for mold to grow. Other construction defects include plumbing failure and mechanical and electrical issues. 

Defects in Subsurface

Plenty of homes within California are built on hills or shifting soil. Contractors need to build a solid foundation on these lands before building anything. If not, it could cause the structure to move or shift in the long run. 

Common Examples of Construction Defects

Since the qualification for construction defects is relatively broad, here are just a few other common examples you can find:

Improperly Installed Doors & Windows

If you notice your door sticking to the frame when you open it, this means it wasn’t installed properly. The same thing goes for when you notice a leak in one of your windows. 

Poor Drainage

Insufficient drainage can cause a lot of problems in your home, such as flooding, landscape destruction, and even mold. Your contractors must ensure that your drainage system is properly installed before they can do any landscape work. 

Structural Damage

Cracks in walls, ceilings, and foundations indicate structural damage. This type of defect is typically caused by improper construction techniques or subpar materials used.

Who Should Be Liable For Construction Defects in California?

There are four parties you can hold responsible for your home’s construction defects:

General Contractors

General contractors are responsible for managing the entire project. They ensure that all subcontractors and construction workers follow their project’s requirements and the local building code. It’s up to them to look for any construction defects and organize repairs. 


Subcontractors are hired by general contractors to do specific tasks within a large project, like plumbing and electrical work. While they’re not always held liable for construction defects, they must still comply with all local building codes when doing their work. 

If anything goes wrong because of their poor workmanship, they can be held responsible for any flaws in a structure. 

men cutting wood inside a home
There are four parties that could be liable for construction defects.

Architects & Engineers

Architects and engineers are responsible for creating the blueprints for any structure. When creating these blueprints, they’re required to meet certain safety standards. If they make design choices that don’t meet these standards, they’ll be liable for any construction defects it creates. 


Suppliers must ensure their materials meet the quality standards developers or general contractors set. If their defective products cause construction defects in a building or a home, they can be held liable for all the damages. 

How Liability is Determined For Construction Defects in California

Liability is determined depending on where the construction defect occurred. These flaws typically happen during two scenarios; the design and building phases. 

If the flaw happened during the design phase of your home, you could hold the architect or the engineer liable for the defect. However, if it happened while your home was being built, the contractor or subcontractor will be responsible for any defect you find.

Admittedly, determining liability for construction defects can be difficult if you don’t have extensive knowledge of home construction. As a result, most homeowners work with construction defect lawyers. 

Do I Need A Construction Defect Lawyer?

Construction laws and regulations can be extremely complicated. You need extensive knowledge and experience to understand it. So, if you want to increase your chances of getting a fair claim for your home’s flaws, we recommend you work with a construction defect attorney. 

A lawyer can assist you in evaluating the value of your claims, gathering evidence, and negotiating with your builders. Their expertise will help you secure the compensation you deserve for all the damages you’ve suffered. 

With a construction defect attorney by your side, you can fight for your rights, knowing they’re working tirelessly with you to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. 

If you need help filing your claim, contact Adamson Ahdoot’s lawyers. Adamson Ahdoot is a full-service civil litigation firm with over 100 years of combined legal experience. 

With our help, you can trust that the best lawyers will handle your case with the intimacy and attention to detail of a boutique firm, with the expertise of a larger one.

We promise to guide you through this challenging time in your life. Our lawyers will support you every step of the way, from gathering evidence to negotiating your claim.

We proudly serve a diverse clientele with their accident cases and offer free English and Spanish consultations. Call us at (800) 310-1606 and start building a robust claim today.

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