Normally, when someone wants to prove in court that there is a construction defect in their home or commercial property, they’re going to need the services of either a forensic expert or a qualified professional on the standards, practices, and codes of the design and construction industry. While there may be exceptions where the opinion of a non-expert is sufficient to prove defects, they are rare.
However, the testimony of a non-expert, such as a homeowner, is still evidence of the existence of a construction defect, particularly where physical damage to property is readily apparent. For instance, a building owner or occupant may take pictures of and attest to the appearance of a leak near a door or window-such as on the wallboard around the window or near the threshold of a door- as evidence that there is a leak. Likewise, water spots appearing on the ceiling or running down the walls of the building may be evidence that the roof is leaking and defective. Cracks, plywood delamination, and wood bowing are other easy to spot signs that a non-expert could testify to in court.
Realistically, such non-expert testimony, although helpful, will almost never satisfy the legal requirements of proof necessary to prevail on a construction defect claim in court. Therefore, in order to prove a construction defect, a construction expert must be retained. Typically, the following steps are involved:
Something happens that causes the owner or occupant to suspect a problem. The owner notices damage which causes a professional to be brought it in for an inspection. The inspector comes to a determination whether the issue is the result of a construction defect or not.