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  • Writer's pictureEngineer Mike

Why You Should Care About Construction Defects

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

It is essential to be proactive in protecting your home, one of your most significant financial investments. For example, if you believe that the conditions of your home or neighborhood were caused by the negligent actions of the builder, contractor, or engineer, finding the correct information and knowing what steps to take to get things repaired is critical.

Your home may not be experiencing any problems; however, if you live in a community with a Homeowner’s Association, you are personally responsible for all common structures and areas the HOA owns. These may include buildings, parking lots, sidewalks, retaining walls, pool facilities, fences, playgrounds, open tracts, private roadways, and drainage facilities.


1. Drywall Cracks

Drywall crack on the top right of interior doorframe.
Drywall cracks are one of the first signs of structural problems, typically due to foundation movement.



2. Water Stains on Walls or Flooding in Basement

Flooded basement with water stains on the foundation wall, white bucket, and shop vacuum.
Grading and drainage not designed or built correctly can cause costly damage to basements.


3. Distress of Siding, Stucco, or Stone Veneer on the Exterior

Separation of siding at building corner.
Visible structural distress on siding, stucco, facades, or trim is a sign of foundation movement. Foundation movement can be due to drainage, soil, or framing problems.



4. Premature Deterioration of Pavements and Concrete Flatwork

Visibly damaged, repaired, and patched asphalt pavement at handicap crossing.
Ongoing repair or replacement of defective pavement significantly adds to standard maintenance costs.


5. Premature Deterioration of Retaining Walls

Efflorescence on the face of an SRW block retaining wall caused by water seepage.
If not correctly designed, constructed, or maintained, failed retaining walls are costly to replace.


6. Site Drainage Problems

Standing water, drainage low point, on landscaping and sidewalk adjacent to building corner and foundation.
Drainage low points next to foundations and pavement allow water to infiltrate into the subgrade and weaken the supporting soil.



Role of the HOA in Sidewalk and Pavement Maintenance

When an HOA takes over a residential development from the builder after the completion of construction, the HOA becomes responsible for maintaining and repairing all common elements. If significant damages due to construction defects occur, the HOA may experience an undue and excessive financial burden to perform the repairs. Since the individual homeowners fund the HOA, it is the individual homeowner’s money spent, and it often results in additional assessments to the monthly HOA fees.


I hope this information was helpful to you. For additional topics related to construction defects, go to

Visit my photo collections page, which has examples of damage that can be due to construction defects.  


Engineer Mike


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