The word “defect” could send chills down anyone’s spine, but that is especially true when it comes to construction and repairs. A construction defect is a deficiency in the design or construction of a building or structure. These defects are the result of negligence or wrongdoing during the construction process, examples include getting around a code or installing defect material. A construction defect is a common issue that arises amongst homes, buildings and structures. The construction industry has been rapidly changing over the last few months to adapt to the “new normal” and keep projects moving forward. Unfortunately, with new safety protocols in place due to COVID-19, the process of establishing construction defects and repairing have become much more challenging both in terms of time and money.
When it comes to determining a construction defect, something as simple as a walkthrough of the property must now be adapted in order to accommodate proper social distancing. This is especially true when inspecting occupied residences. Not only must the amount of people on the walkthrough be adjusted, but proper sanitation, social distancing, and PPE is critical to successfully walking through a property.
Once a defect is determined, property owners settle claims with a lawsuit to determine the value of the defect which includes cost of repairs, lost revenue, injury, etc. Due to new safety protocols though, the value of the settlement can be much higher due to increased costs construction companies face by adapting to the “new normal”.
Examples of new policies include staggering start times for workers, temperature checks upon arrival, face coverings, purchasing of additional tools to avoid sharing, smaller teams on site to allow for social distancing and putting together an entirely new disinfecting schedule to ensure proper sanitation of the work site. These protocols, while increasing the cost of the repair, also increase the amount of time needed to complete it. Things such as staggering start times, while allowing for more people to work on the same project, decrease how many people are working on the problem at one time thus delaying its completion.
Performing repairs on populated buildings also presents a new set of challenges. Residences that would have otherwise been empty during the middle of the day, now have people working from home - leaving the workers to adjust their approach in order to minimize the number of people inside. Now, residents are often asked to leave their homes while work is being conducted, especially when high-risk individuals are involved (i.e. elderly). However, this is not always possible and could slow down the process of the repair.
The construction industry has been changed by COVID-19. With evolving information from government officials and organizations regarding safety protocols in the industry, construction companies and subsidiaries have largely taken a proactive approach. New safety protocols were implemented in order to keep repairs and projects moving forward along with allowing for new ones to begin. While these protocols are necessary, they unfortunately come with a cost as timelines are extended and more supplies are required. As with anything concerning the construction industry, safety is always a top priority.