Holding Negligent Construction Manufacturers Accountable
For more than 30 years, founding partner Joel Rhine has represented individual clients and acted as class-action counsel for defective construction material claims. Whether a collapsed deck, construction accident, or some other property damage has brought the issue to your attention, Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has the resources and experience to help you file a claim.
The harm caused by defective construction materials goes beyond property damage. Defective materials can significantly increase the risk of injury, exposing homeowners and housing associations to liability. Our firm pursues claims against negligent manufacturers or materials suppliers for issues like:
- Defective shingles and roofing supplies.
- Faulty siding.
- Defective or leaky windows.
- Defective HVAC and air quality systems.
- Defective decking or dock materials, which could lead to collapses.
- Poor quality of building materials.
Inferior materials that may hold up in the mountains or the Piedmont often break down when exposed to the humid, coastal climate of Wilmington and North Carolina’s beaches. Manufacturers and contractors must take this into account when engaging in any construction project in the area. Our lawyers have extensive experience helping clients whose properties suffered damage or whose loved ones were injured as a result of construction products that were not designed to stand up to salt and sea air. We launch a full investigation to identify all liable parties, from the manufacturer of the products used to a negligent subcontractor who may not have built to code.
Breach of Contract
Most construction-project-related claims stem from a contract breach, which should include the following as proof:
- A contract did exist.
- The terms of the contract were breached.
- An explanation of the details and circumstances creating the breach.
- The damages that have occurred.
These matters are based on a failure by the defendant to build in a “workmanlike” manner, basically that the work was faulty or the materials used were below the requirements expected in the contract.
Breach of Warranty
Many states provide express warranties within statutes outlining the duties of home builders. North Carolina holds new home builders to implied warranties that essentially guarantee that a home will be constructed in a reasonable manner and be habitable.
- Express warranties: Warranties that are specifically agreed upon and listed in the agreement. Often these may be contained within the “General Conditions” section. Typical information includes duty specifications and the time frames for completion.
- Implied warranties: These warranties are based on the nature of the transaction; many exist in North Carolina construction law. A key implied warranty relates to the owner or builder’s plan specifications provided to the contractor. If a defect exists within, the contractor is entitled to recover costs for work based on defective plans and work to remedy the defect.
Negligence is a failure to provide a reasonable standard of care according to statute or common law based on the circumstances. To prove negligence in a construction project the requirements are:
- A standard-of-care duty is a matter of law.
- The standards were not conformed to.
- A relationship exists between the non-conformance and the resultant defect.
- Actual damages exist.
Punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer, may be possible if the actions were willful and wanton. The party must have deliberately not fulfilled a duty, such as a failure to execute something necessary to ensure safety.
Statute of Limitations
Claims must be brought in matters of contract and negligence within a period of three years. An exception exists in home construction for owners who could not have reasonably been expected to discover a breach until a long period elapses. An example would be the collapse of a floor board after several years due to using poor-quality wood. Other states employ a variety of limitation periods, most of which are based on when the owner becomes aware of a defective condition.
Statute of Repose
North Carolina maintains a distinctive time-barring statute in construction-related litigation known as the statute of repose. Homeowners have six years to bring suit for construction defects in improvement of real property projects. The purpose of enactment was partially to give confidence to builders regarding potential claims.
We’re Ready to Help
To discuss your options with an experienced North Carolina construction litigation lawyer, contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C., at for a free initial consultation. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request. We also offer Spanish translation services.
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