The project was going along smoothly but you started to notice things were not quite what you expected. Issues with electrical or plumbing, new windows leaking when it rains, flooring misaligned and a myriad of other mistakes that should not be made. What do you do? Documentation is the key. Take pictures, write to the contractor via letter not text and not verbally. Point out what appears to be incorrect and ask that it be corrected. Note that if corrections are not made that payments will be stopped. But what if the contractor walks off the job? That is the difficult choice owners have, do they stop payments and risk the contractor walking away, or keep paying, keep documenting and wait until the end of the project and withhold final payment, hire an attorney and expert and sue for construction defect damages. If you notice defects you should immediately contact an attorney to, at the least, monitor and advise you as you proceed. Have the attorney review your contract and see what rights you have to terminate the contractor or withhold payment. Lawsuits are expensive and completing a half finished project that has defects is difficult but the alternative is potentially have more issues in the long run that could be worse that mere aesthetics.
The crux of true construction defects is not does it look right but is the work subpar, not performed in a good workman like manner or below the standards of other workmen in the area. Also, the contractor’s insurance does not become involved unless there is resulting damage from the poor workmanship. For example, if there is an issue with the appearance of drywall and you can see where it was taped together that does not invoke an insurance claim but if a pin hole leak in a pipe damages the drywall then the insurance for the contractor must cover the resulting damage. This is important because many contractors are literally staying in business from project to project and if you obtain a large judgement against them they may file bankruptcy. However, if the insurance company is involve they will undoubtedly try to settle the matter and allow you to recoup monies to repair the defects.
When things start to go wrong on your project whether its a multimillion dollar business complex or a bathroom remodel the first thing you should do is contract a construction law attorney for advise, do not wait until it is too late. Deposits on Home Improvement Contracts