Reasons for construction defectsIt has been generally seen and statistically proved that construction defects, irrespective of whether they are major or minor ones, occur due to certain basic points which get overlooked at the time of the construction of the building. These key elements, each of which shares equal credit for these deviations, are related to:
- Architectural plan deviations,
- Substitution of approved construction materials and
- Substandard field quality.
- Patent which relates to apparent defects like water intrusion drywall stains etc. and
- Latent which are generally not observable like foundation failures etc.
Common construction defectsKeeping this in mind, there are about 7 defects which result in devastating situations thereby making the occupants suffer the aftermath of something that they have no control over. These common caveats should always be kept in mind especially when opting for new constructions.
1. Roofs: More often than not it is the roofs and the ceilings which get compromised the most. This results in improperly designed and ill-constructed roofs which in turn lead to water leakages and unhealthy living conditions from the growth of molds and damaged interiors. Other likely reasons for water intrusion from the roof are:
- Clipping of eaves,
- Flat roof with decks,
- Roof “felt” either not covering the roof properly or damaged due to overexposure,
- Flashing gaps open joints,
- No storm covers on plumbing penetrations etc.
- Flashing membranes are improperly lapped,
- Metal head flashing sheet is not installed at all,
- Improper installation of flashing at jambs, sills and even heads etc.
4. Structural components: These from the skeleton of the entire building and hence any defect in the structural components of a building is only an invitation to danger. Common structural defects include:
- Improperly designed and constructed shear walls made either of plywood or OSB,
- Insufficient field nailing and edge,
- Drag straps either missing or inappropriately installed,
- Hold downs,
- Other connection hardware faults etc.
6. Concrete slabs and foundation: This is the worst kind of construction defect and can lead to the whole structure being rendered dangerous and unsafe for use. Vertical displacements, horizontal cracking, improperly mixed concrete mixture etc., are some of the causes for defects being found in the foundation and concrete slabs.
7. Installation of other electrical systems: Systems like the HVAC, insulation, and MEPs when installed in a defective manner not only cause life-threatening issues but also result in substantial increase in monetary outflow.
As is the case with all defects, the faster they are tracked, the lower is the cost of repair. But if these basic reasons of deviations are nullified during the construction stage itself, no repairs are required thereby saving a lot of money and time. While constant surveillance during the planning and designing stages, actual construction of the building and its maintenance life cycle helps to reduce the intensity of these defects it does not obliterate them altogether.