Experienced Dallas Construction Dispute Lawyers
Construction contracts often contain express warranties that give rise to contractual liability when they are breached. Sometimes the law imposes implied warranties that can be disclaimed, or, in the case of residential contracts, some implied warranties are inherent and cannot be waived. Whether you are a contractor or a project owner, understanding these issues during contract formation, execution, and beyond is critical. The issues surrounding implied warranties most often arise in the context of residential construction.
There are generally two implied warranties that apply to residential construction cases: The Implied Warranty of Habitability and The Implied Warranty of Good Workmanship. The Implied Warranty of Good Workmanship provides a warranty to the owner of a construction project, repair or modification of existing property that it will be performed in a “good and workmanlike manner.” “Good and workmanlike” means the quality of work must be equal to the work performed by someone who has “the knowledge, training, or experience necessary for the successful practice of a trade or occupation” when judged by someone who is “capable of judging such work.” The Implied Warranty of Habitability provides that the good and work-like performance of the builder must result in a building that is habitable for residential use and that is safe, sanitary, and fit for human habitation at the time of the sale of a new house. Unlike the Implied Warranty of Good Workmanship, it cannot be waived by the contract and is inherent in the residential construction project.
For contractors, one of the best available defenses to a breach of implied warranty claim is that the alleged defects involve problems that are not attributable to the original construction. This argument is often made by asserting there was a substantial change or alteration in the condition of the structure since the original sale, misuse, or that the defects could have been discovery by reasonably prudent inspection of the house.
Regardless of the claims and defenses available, it’s important that contractors and homeowners understand the terms in the contract, both those that are expressly stated and those that are implied by law. Whether you’re a contractor or a homeowner, we can help. We’ve obtained settlements and judgments against contractors for breach of expressed and implied warranties before judges, juries and arbitrators and we’ve successfully defended these same claims on behalf of small business owners and large, national contractors.
If you are a homeowner, project owner, or contractor, call a construction litigation attorney at our firm. We can help.