Making Claims for Subsidence due to a Construction Defect
Making a claim for subsidence beneath an office block can often be complicated by the distinction between subsidence being caused by the soil beneath the office block´s foundations being unstable, and subsidence being caused by the soil beneath the office block “settling” due to the weight of the building.
Ground settlement causing subsidence is most commonly considered to be a construction defect, and the office block´s general insurers would likely decline to compensate the building´s owners and tenants on the basis that claims for subsidence due to a construction defect should be made against the constructor of the office block.
Claims for compensation for construction defect subsidence are likely to be contested by the constructor´s insurers until an engineering expert can prove that the constructor of the office block was negligent in either the construction or design of the building. Even then it can take a considerable amount of time before the building can be used once again, resulting in a potentially considerable loss of income.
Time Limits for Claiming Compensation for Construction Defect Subsidence
Further issues surrounding a claim for subsidence beneath an office block exist when the subsidence does not manifest until many years after occupation of the office block. Subsidence due to a construction defect is considered to be a “latent defect” – one which could not have been “reasonably” known about when a property inspection took place prior to completion – and therefore claims for subsidence due to a construction defect usually have to be made within ten years from the date of “substantial completion”.
There is also a time limit on how soon after the subsidence is attributed to a construction defect that a “Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceeding” must be sent to the constructor of the office block. If action is taken after the time limits have elapsed – or it is subsequently discovered that the subsidence could have been identified far earlier than is being alleged – a claim for subsidence beneath an office block is likely to be time-barred.
Making a Claim for Subsidence beneath an Office Block
Although a claim for subsidence beneath an office block can be made by anybody who has financial interest in the property, it is usually the owner of the property that takes legal action on behalf of his or her tenants. On behalf of his commercial tenants, a landlord can make claims for subsidence due to a construction defect to recover their loss of earnings while the office block is uninhabitable and for any loss of property they might have experienced due to the construction defect.
The process for making a claim for subsidence beneath an office block begins with a “Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceedings” being sent to the constructor of the property. This is usually followed by a period of negotiation, during which time potential solutions to the subsidence are discussed in order to prevent the case going to litigation. Throughout the negotiation period, a construction defects lawyer will try to get agreement on an appropriate repair schedule and recover compensation for your loss of income. Frequently a successful conclusion is achieved in this manner.
Litigation is usually the last resort to recover compensation for construction defect subsidence and often concerns arguments over who is liable to pay for the repairs to the office block and compensate you for your loss of income, rather than determining whether or not there is a viable claim. Indeed, it may not be the constructor of the property who is at fault in a claim for subsidence beneath an office block, but the supplier of the building materials that were used in the project or a sub-contractor.
Speak with Us about Claims for Subsidence due to a Construction Defect
If you have suffered property damage due to any form of subsidence, and would like to know more about claiming compensation for subsidence in an office block, you should call our free construction defects helpline and discuss the property damage in your office block with an experienced construction defects lawyer.
By speaking with a member of our team, you will receive all the information you need about claims for subsidence due to a construction defect to determine whether you are eligible to receive compensation for construction defect subsidence and whether you are within your state´s Statute of Limitations to make a claim for subsidence beneath an office block.
All calls to our construction defect helpline are naturally confidential and there is no obligation on you to continue with a claim for subsidence due to a construction defect or to act on any of the advice we provide. Our helpline is there to help you establish whether or not you have a claim for subsidence beneath an office block with is worth your while to pursue.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article about compensation for construction defect subsidence should be interpreted as legal advice or as forming a plaintiff-lawyer relationship. No two compensation claims for subsidence due to a construction defect are identical, and therefore the content of this article is not a replacement for speaking directly with a construction defects lawyer to receive independent advice relative to your individual situation.