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What are the construction defects?

Construction defects are a common problem in the construction industry. These problems can occur at any stage of the construction process and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as design errors, defective construction materials, poor workmanship, misuse of equipment and tools, among others.

Examples of common construction defects include:

  • Structural problems: these may include poor foundations, walls that are not adequately load-bearing, or an overall unstable structure.
  • Electrical problems: this may include problems with electrical wiring, lack of adequate sockets or faulty lighting systems.
  • Plumbing problems: this may include water leaks, poorly laid pipes or inadequate drainage systems.
  • Waterproofing problems: this can include water leaks in walls or ceilings, which can lead to mould and mildew build-up and health problems for occupants.
  • Problems with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system: this can include poorly designed or installed HVAC systems, which can lead to inadequate temperature and ventilation problems.

It is important to tackle construction defects as soon as possible, as they can worsen over time and lead to more serious problems. Prevention is the key to avoid these problems, so it is important to ensure that high quality materials are used and that best building practices are followed. In addition, proper supervision and staff training are also essential to avoid problems.

When does a claim for building defects become prescribed?

The Spanish law in that matter (LOE) establishes the statute of limitations for constructions defects that may appear in properties. These periods are designed to ensure that those responsible for the construction take responsibility for any problems that may arise during the useful life of the property. The prescription or guarantee periods according to the LOE are detailed below:

  • 1 year guarantee for completion defects: These are defects that may appear in the final completion of the work, such as cracks in walls or ceilings, peeling paint, or misplaced parts.
  • 3-year guarantee for habitability defects: These are defects that affect the habitability of the building, such as problems with thermal or acoustic insulation, damp or accessibility problems.
  • 10-year guarantee for structural defects: These are defects that affect the structure of the building, such as foundation problems, stability problems or resistance problems.

These deadline start from the reception of the work.

It is important to bear in mind that these limitation or guarantee periods apply to builders, developers and other agents that have intervened in the building construction process.

It should be noted that these prescription or guarantee periods are of an imperative nature and cannot be altered by agreement of the parties. In addition, the Law establishes the compulsory existence of insurance that guarantees the civil liability of the construction agents during the established guarantee periods.

With regard to the legal deadline for claiming for the construction defects described above, these claims have a 2-year statute of limitations.

In summary, the LOE establishes different limitation periods depending on the nature of the defects and the date of delivery of the work. It is important to take these time limits into account to ensure that the appropriate legal action is taken at the appropriate time to claim for construction defects.