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Construction Defect Claims

When a commercial property owner in Nevada decides to have a commercial structure built or to remodel an existing structure, normally a written agreement details the responsibilities and expectations of the builder and landowner.

There are provisions in commercial construction contracts that specify the work to be performed and how that work will be performed. When a contractor or other professional delivering services does not perform as directed in the contract and it results in a defect that causes damage, the landowner may recover for a violation of the contract.

Under Nevada law, the contract between the owner and builder provides the basis for commercial property construction defect claims.  Only parties to the contract can collect for construction defects when economic loss is the exclusive claim.  However, if construction defects cause personal injuries or property damage, anyone who suffered the experience can bring a claim for negligence.

Commercial Construction Contract Provisions That Give Rise To Defect Claims

There may be other provisions in a commercial property construction contract that can give rise to additional claims for construction defects but failing to perform as specified in the following two provisions are often the reasons given for claims of construction defect.

  • Scope of the work – This provision details the work to be performed, the expectations of how the work will be completed, time periods for completion, and may specify what is to be done if certain circumstances arise – including defects.
  • Warranty – Warranty provisions are guarantees about the work being done and the condition of the completed project. Warranties are for a limited duration and cover only specified things.

Types Of Commercial Property Construction Defect Claims

Some commercial construction defects will be identified while the construction is still going on. Others may not be discovered until weeks, months or maybe even years after a project has been completed.

  • Patent defects are those that are open and obvious or reasonably able to be discovered.
  • Latent defects are those that are hidden or concealed and not reasonably discoverable.

Time Limits To Bring A Commercial Property Construction Defect Claim

Commercial property construction defect claims may be subject to several time limitations depending on the type of injury that gives rise to the claim. The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) limit the amount of time a person has to make certain claims.

  • Claims for damages caused by construction defects can be made for 10 years after the construction has been substantially completed.
  • If a construction defect claim arises from a contract violation, an action based on the contract must be brought within 6 years of the last transaction or payment on the contract.
  • Claims for personal injuries resulting from construction defects must be brought within 2 years of the injury.

It’s important to find out any time limitations that may affect your ability to file a claim as soon as possible after learning you have a claim.

Application Of The Economic Loss Doctrine

Most states, including Nevada, apply the economic loss doctrine.  The economic loss doctrine says that when you’ve only lost money you can’t sue someone for negligence (but you could sue under a breach of contract theory).  To recover for negligence there must be personal injury or property damage claimed.

In commercial construction defect cases, Nevada has followed the economic loss doctrine when negligence claims are made but the losses are only financial.

The Nevada Supreme Court has determined the economic loss doctrine applies specifically to commercial construction design professionals. In Terracon Consultants vs. Mandalay Resort, the Supreme Court ruled that services provided by design professionals related to commercial construction cannot be the basis for a negligence claim when the claimed loss is purely economic.

Avoiding Commercial Property Construction Defect Litigation

Even if you win your commercial property construction defect lawsuit, it can be a bittersweet victory. Having to deal with the damage and repair slows progress on the project.  And a lawsuit requires time and energy you would rather put toward other things. 

Landowners who build nonresidential properties are not given the same protections as residential property owners under Nevada law. There is a presumption that those who build commercial structures have access to and are working with the professionals who can give them the information they need to protect their own interests.

Thus, it becomes important to make sure commercial property construction contracts are clearly written and spell out exactly what is expected so that neither party misunderstands nor acts contrary to the expectations of the other.

A lot of construction defects occur due to contract language that is vague or could be understood in different ways.  Making sure your contract clearly spells out what is expected and what will not be sufficient can help avoid an unnecessary construction defect and the time and expense that go along with it.

Contact A Commercial Property Construction Defect Attorney At Paul Padda Law

At Paul Padda Law, our attorneys have significant experience handling construction defect cases.  These are often complicated cases requiring the selection of appropriate experts that can help make a strong case in your favor.  If you’re looking for outstanding construction defect attorneys, especially where a commercial property is involved, you need to call Paul Padda Law today.  Call us today at (702) 366-1888 or get in touch with us through this website

Commercial Property