Construction defects on new homes still a problem in Minnesota

Job growth in construction industry has led to inexperienced workersMinnesota has two seasons, according to the old joke: winter and construction season. This year, while winter arrived early, the construction season hasn’t ended. Work continues amid the cold. Construction firms are spending extra time and money to battle the weather in order to meet deadlines. The good news for many construction firms is that the work is available and the housing market has steadily improved since the end of the Great Recession.

The uptick in work has also led to some problems, however. According to Minnesota Public Radio, construction managers have struggled to fill open positions, finding experienced workers in short supply. Many trained veteran construction workers grew tired of waiting for job growth to pick up after the Great Recession and moved on to something else. Layoffs are still a problem, as well, as 3,500 construction jobs were shed in November in Minnesota, the beginning of the cold season. Wage growth has also slowed in the construction industry, leading to fewer applicants and job dissatisfaction.

Those circumstances add up to numerous inexperienced construction workers – and inexperienced workers make mistakes. A recent blog in the Minneapolis Star Tribune showcased many of the defects prevalent in new home construction: faulty deck construction, siding and roofing issues, plumbing errors, and faulty wiring are only a few problem areas that can plague even the best developers. While many homeowners believe that a new home, coupled with a city inspection, are a great insurance against home defects, the unfortunate truth is that even one minor mistake, easily overlooked, can lead to big problems down the road.

Still, new construction of homes in Minnesota is going strong, as construction is outpacing any other industry – by far – in job creation in the state. The housing market has also continued its slow but steady recovery.

Construction defect litigation

Homeowners who have suffered property damage and loss because of a home defect do have legal options against those responsible. In Minnesota, construction defect claims by homeowners against builders generally fall into two categories: New Home Warranty Claims, and non-warranty claims. Minnesota statutory law governs New Home Warranty Claims (Minnesota Statutes Section 327A.02). In addition, implied in every contract to build a new home are implied promises to perform work according to standards common in the industry. Examples of non-warranty claims include negligence and breach of contract.

Whether the construction defect claim is based on statutory law or is a non-warranty claim, numerous state laws apply, including a statute of limitations in which a homeowner can file a legal claim. Proving error or negligence, obtaining an estimate, and bringing a claim can be a complex matter; for homeowners who believed they were getting a home in solid condition, however, taking the matter to court can be their only option.

For help with a construction defect in your home, contact the experienced construction litigation firm of Ryan & Grinde, LTD.

Keywords: Construction defect, homeowner claims, construction litigation, new home construction.