Construction projects are not difficult to manage or carry out as a whole. There are many risks involved in any given project. Thus, when you speak of the construction industry, ‘better safe than sorry’ or ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ aren’t just age-old notions that should take a backseat. You need to abide by them as important rules. Thus as a business owner, you not only need to ensure effective management of your construction project in general. Also, pay attention to ways to reduce the number of defects and claims arising from those construction defects. But let us first understand what defect claims are.
What are defect claims in construction?
Defect claims are basically claims related to defects in design. These arise from problems caused due to defect in the design, materials, and systems or the workmanship of the project. The defect in any of these may become the reason behind the failure of a construction and building process component.
Once such an incident occurs, it costs the project owner financially. Thus these are important to avoid. But once these claims occur, you need the services of a construction quantum expert to quantify the losses accurately. In this way, you’ll be able to avoid further escalation of tensions on the field.
This article will briefly explain the areas you can work on to avoid defect claims in your upcoming construction project.
Top four ways of concern for defect claims reduction in construction
Whenever a claim rises during the construction process, you need to pay immediate attention to it to deal with it. If you do not pay adequate attention to it at the appropriate time, the signatory parties may develop conflict.
It may disrupt the construction process. Thus it is imperative to reduce the number of claims that arise. And when they arise, you must deal with it with iron-fists and, of course, logic. Working on the following areas will help reduce the defect claims significantly:
1). Organizational structure
Construction project management involves a comprehensive organizational breakdown structure, besides the work breakdown structure. You must ensure that whenever the builders face an issue that is difficult to solve for the team on the site, they have another door to knock on. Give them another outlet to channel their concerns so that you are certain that you haven’t let the fox for guarding the hen house.
You may designate an independent senior-level manager, operating and exercising his powers outside the construction circle to ensure the standard and quality of work.
2). Balancing of competing interests
When you speak of a project’s delivery in any industry, schedules, quality, and costs are the three main factors affecting almost every component of your project. You need to strike a balance between these three in the construction industry as well. I construction projects, you may face situations where there the client is ready to compromise on quality but not willing to pay more, whereas, at another point, it may be vice versa.
Similarly, you must take into account the requirement of schedule in light of quality and cost. When you have decided the bar for each at the beginning of the project, it will be easy to avoid defect claims later on once the construction process begins.
3). Peer review and expert witness
Peer review is an important component of the construction project lifecycle. You have to look at all the matters in light of peer review and analysis throughout the construction lifecycle. Before the construction process begins, the peer reviews are the most important for engineering and architectural plans, trade scopes, and specification manuals and guides.
You can hire expert witnesses to ensure that the impacts of defects do not escalate beyond project budget limitations. Once the construction process begins for your project, you will need to carry out peer reviews for observation, documentation, and classification of windows and matters which may invite litigation.
At this stage, peer review may save you from the installation of faulty components like roofs or wall assemblies. Once the construction process is complete, peer review and expert witness may help managers and building owners understand their responsibility.
4). Evaluation of trade contractors
Defect claims often arise because of flaws in material, workmanship, or design. While design, once approved, cannot be changed, the rest must be managed throughout the project process. When you hire contractors for your construction project, you will need to ensure that they are capable of providing high-quality workmanship and durable construction outcomes.
The workmanship and product durability must be at par with the expectations of the project sponsors, homebuyers and renters, and the investors of the project.
What if defect claims still arise in your project?
Defect claims can be minimized to the maximum extent once you evaluate the trade contractors, go for peer review and expert witness testimony, and balance the vital factors affecting competing interests. But they may still arise. Thus it is important to keep a reputable consultancy in the loop for dealing with the claim and accurate estimation of losses!