Construction Defects in California: What Are They and How Do They Apply Under the Law

California Construction Defects and California Law

Generally speaking, a construction defect is a deficiency in the design or construction of a building or structure. The defect results from a failure to design or construct the structure in a reasonable manner. The area of construction defect law is very complicated, and many people don’t even realize they have a construction defect case until it’s too late.

What does a construction defect look like?

Oftentimes, it’s difficult to even know is considered a construction defect. A few common examples of construction defects can include:

As you can see, there are many common building issues that could be considered a construction defect. However, how do these issues arise in law or in the court?

What does a construction defect lawsuit look like?

California courts categorize a construction defect in four categories:

1. Design Deficiencies

2. Material Deficiencies

3. Construction Deficiencies

4. Subsurface Deficiencies

Design Deficiencies

A design deficiency usually refers to situations where a building is outside of specified building codes. An example of this would be a roof designed out of code that results in leaks and intrusion.

Material Deficiencies

A material deficiency usually refers to situations where the building is constructed of improper materials. An example of this would be using an inferior drywall that cannot be used in damp areas in a bathroom or laundry room.

Construction Deficiencies

A construction deficiency usually refers to situations where the defect occurs due to poor workmanship. An example of this would be a worker installing improper plumbing that led to mold growth.

Subsurface Deficiencies

A subsurface deficiency usually refers to situations where the defect occurs due to expansive soil conditions. An example of this would be a house built on hills or shifting soil where the foundation becomes unstable. Subsurface deficiencies are very common in California.


If you are a homeowner, association or builder looking for representation in a construction defect action, Hariri Law Group is here to help. Our experienced attorneys have years of experience handling cases just like yours.

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