Articles Posted in HOME DEFECTS & CONSTRUCTION ARBITRATION

In my Atlanta, Georgia Civil Arbitration Law Firm, I have worked with clients who have taken their business disputes to the court system for resolution and others who have gone through the process of arbitration. Many times, a business contract specifically states that all disputes must be resolved through arbitration, yet unless contractually mandated, arbitration is often overlooked. It is important to note that while both methods have their advantages; arbitration is often the fastest and can be very cost effective.

In Georgia, it can take a minimum of a year for a case to go to trial, while the date of the final arbitration hearing can be set much sooner. Disputes are often resolved just a few months after the arbitration process is initiated. The disadvantage to arbitration is that the parties named in the dispute will pay for the time of an arbitrator. Arbitrators belong to arbitration associations that are usually private businesses, and fees for an arbitrator can cost several hundred dollars per hour. The court system, on the other hand, is funded by tax revenue and requires that the parties pay only filing fees and some other expenses and costs.

Besides the timing advantage, another strong point to arbitration is that the parties can choose the arbitrator that will preside over the case. Arbitrators have been trained in specific technical areas of the law and can be picked with this in mind. Judges in court proceedings cannot be picked and, although they have a broad knowledge of the law, the judge assigned to a case may not possess proficiency in the area that the dispute covers. In complex Georgia Business Disputes, having the option to choose a knowledgeable arbitrator will ensure that all parties are treated fairly under Georgia law.

When involved in business disputes resolved in the court system or through arbitration, it is advisable to retain an Atlanta, Georgia Arbitration Attorney. The lawyers at The Libby Law Firm have practice experience in all areas of Business Arbitration, Construction Arbitration, Contract Arbitration, and numerous other areas of law in which arbitration is an appropriate potential resolution.

The Georgia Arbitration Attorneys at The Libby Law Firm are well versed in the Georgia Arbitration Process despite the various rules and regulations set forth by different arbitration companies. Arbitration is a somewhat new alternative to litigation. While arbitration has been around for centuries, its modern day application is rapidly increasing.

At The Libby Law Firm, our Atlanta, Georgia Arbitration Lawyers know how to use the arbitration process to your advantage. The rules in an arbitration proceeding are usually more casual and the arbitrator or arbitration panel is usually more knowledgeable about the subject matter of the arbitration. The Libby Law Firm Atlanta, Georgia Arbitration lawyers keep abreast of the arbitration trends in various areas of law as well as the tendencies of local and regional arbitration panels. Protecting and promoting the best interests of you, your families, and your business, are at the heart of our goals. We invite you to let us educate you about the Georgia Arbitration Process. It can be effective, less costly, and in many cases such as Georgia New Construction Arbitration Cases, binding with no right to appeal.
Continue reading

As an Atlanta Construction Attorney, making up for the recent decline in the Georgia construction industry, many builders, contractors, and sub-contractors are cutting corners to produce homes that cost them less material in and labor to produce. In some cases, poor workmanship is the result of lack of experience on the part of a well-meaning contractor. Regardless of the cause, the outcome is the same for the homeowner, a home with construction defects. Poor quality and workmanship creates a financial hardship for the homeowner, who in the most severe cases may not be able to remain in the home. Building defects in your home can affect your life in very adverse ways. I even know of many couples who were on the verge of divorce because of a builder’s construction defects. Ironically, this was supposed to be their dream home.

In my Georgia Home-Builder Defect law firm, we have seen an increase in the number of new cases that are related to home construction quality. Claims at our firm are common in the following areas: use of use of substandard material, breach of contract, non-disclosure of material defects, fraud in home construction, fraud on the home disclosure statement, construction negligence, misrepresentation of construction and sale, failure to meet industry building standards and incomplete work.

For many affected homeowners, the issues cited in these cases only became noticeable after the home construction was complete and the owners had been living in the home for a period of time. Under Georgia’s Right to Repair Act, even after the home warranty has expired, homeowners can seek resolution of these construction defects. It is imperative that homeowners who have found or suspect construction defects contact a Georgia Construction Defect Attorney who can guide them through the process.

Serious construction defects must be repaired or they can affect the value of the home and the safety of the occupants. If you have noticed any problems with the construction quality of your home, contact the qualified construction defect attorneys at The Libby Law Firm. Our lawyers have can easily handle the complexities of real estate and construction law and will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome of any arbitration or litigation.
Continue reading

Atlanta, Georgia, Construction Lawyers know most new residential real estate contracts transactions in Georgia have a clause mandating binding arbitration if there is a dispute between the contractor/builder and homebuyer. Several years ago the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that arbitration is legally binding. As a result, once a decision is made during arbitration, it cannot be appealed to any other higher court of law. This is significant because most new construction contracts in Georgia today contain an arbitration provision.

Because most commercial and residential real estate contracts contain arbitration clauses, extreme caution is advised to anyone entering into one of these contracts. It is imperative to retain the counsel of an experienced Construction Defect Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, who can help you protect your investment before any documents are signed. An attorney will review the original contract and negotiate any clauses that might be unfavorable to you. This is the best way to protect against future damages.

In my Atlanta, Georgia Real Estate Construction law firm, some of my clients are surprised to hear that their construction contract contains an arbitration clause. They come to me because they must resolve a construction issue and are very concerned when they learn that the decision reached in Georgia Construction Arbitration will be final. The fact is that most people do not realize that the contract they have signed contains an arbitration clause. For these clients, the best remedy is to work with a Atlanta, Georgia Construction Lawyer to prepare for arbitration.

Because of the financial implications associated with real estate transactions, it is critical to work with a Georgia construction and real estate lawyer to safeguard your investment. The attorneys at The Libby Law Firm represent all individuals during arbitration, including homeowners, investors, builders and contractors. If you would like to speak with an Atlanta construction attorney or Georgia real estate lawyer about a real estate transaction, please call us at (404) 467-8611. You may also send us a message through our confidential “Contact Us” form on our website. The Libby Law Firm’ main location is conveniently situated in the historic Buckhead section of Atlanta near the Buckhead Triangle.
Continue reading

Over the years I have handled many construction claims in my Atlanta, Georgia Construction Litigation Law Firm. Many intricacies to construction litigation are not understood by attorneys that do not normally litigate or arbitrate these types of cases. Two of the key concerns of plaintiffs in any Georgia construction dispute are to determine who is liable for Georgia commercial or residential construction defects, and who will pay for the damages that can be recovered. With possibly dozens of workers who touched the worksite, including architects, builders, contractors and independent sub-contractors, it can be difficult to sort out what exactly caused the issue and who the responsible party is.

Many people would automatically assume that the officers and employees of the construction company, when incorporated, would be protected from liability. But under Georgia law, there are ways to assign responsibility to construction company representatives, even when the company is incorporated. Having the construction litigation experience to address these issues effectively is critical. As a result, retaining legal counsel from an experienced Georgia construction litigation and arbitration lawyer is necessary to obtain a favorable outcome.

Besides providing representation for property owners with claims, construction litigation and arbitration attorneys can help construction companies and contractors in Georgia assess risk and organize defenses against potential claims. In today’s tough economic climate, builders and construction companies cannot afford to lose money on lawsuits that expend precious resources. Retaining the best possible Atlanta, Georgia construction legal counsel will save time and money for defendants.
Continue reading

As an Atlanta, Georgia construction lawyer who focuses on Georgia home construction defects, I am well aware that an improperly installed roof can quickly compromise the total structure of the building it was meant to protect. A sound roof is similar to a solid foundation; a sound roofing system will shield a home from the elements and prevent water damage, energy loss and insect and animal infestations. This is aside from the direct, more open and obvious damages an improper roof can cause.

Quite often in the case of roofing, out of sight is out of mind. It is easy to overlook hard to reach parts of a house and multi-story structures and roof slopes can make self-inspection difficult. It is well worth the money spent to have your roof properly and thoroughly checked for Georgia roofing construction defects that can cause deterioration and damage. This is true even though a roofing professional needs to be hired to perform this task.

Some roofing deterioration is a part of age, but other conditions are a result of poor workmanship and cost cutting by installers. Whenever hiring a roofing company, it is best to personally oversee any roofing work that is done. But many times this is not possible, especially when purchasing an older home that has just been re-roofed, or a new home several months after construction is complete. Once a roofing defect is suspected, it is important to retain an Atlanta, Georgia Construction Defect Attorney to help recover damages.

Understanding some of the key components of a good roofing system will help homeowners recognize the types of roofing defects that cause future structural damage.

• Decking – This is the base, into which shingles are nailed. In newer homes plywood is the most common decking material.

Shingles – Improperly installed or sub-standard shingles will deteriorate more rapidly and shorten the life of your roof. Shingles come in many types, including asphalt, wood, metal and clay. Asphalt shingles are the most economical and common type. Bald spots on asphalt shingles indicate a loss of granules and, if the roof is newer, can indicate poor shingle quality.

Roof Vents and Soffits – When venting is sufficient, it prolongs the life of the roof by removing heat and moisture from the attic. Improperly installed, or insufficient venting, can cause excessive energy usage (to cool and heat the home) and be the source of structural damage, such as deck warping, and mold/mildew. In cold climates during the winter, heat buildup in the attic can lead to the formation of ice dams on the roof that cause leaking.

Flashing – Flashing, when installed properly, will stop water from entering the home around vent pipes, chimneys, skylights and where the roof might meet an exterior wall surface.

Gutters and eaves troughs – These systems carry water off the roof and away from the foundation. A poorly designed drainage system on a pitched roof will not usually cause leaks, but can damage the home’s foundation. For flat roofs, improperly designed drainage will eventually compromise the roofing material and cause leaks.

Continue reading

Finding a construction defect in your Georgia home can be a devastating experience that leads to costly repairs and a significant drop in the home’s value. This is especially true if these defects are not quickly corrected or allowed to worsen. In my Atlanta Construction Defect Law firm, I find that there are several common types of defects that occur. Design defects are created in the initial planning stages if the architect or engineer does not follow industry standards in drafting the design. Construction deficiencies are evident when the structure is built using inferior workmanship. Material defects arise when the builder uses substandard materials in the construction of the structure. Subsurface deficiencies occur when the structure’s foundation is inadequate for the type and configuration of the land upon which the structure is built.

It is critical that you seek legal counsel when faced with one of the above construction defects. A qualified Georgia Construction Defect Attorney can help you identify the best possible strategy to resolve the issue. One first step is the identification of an architect or engineer who provides litigation and arbitration support and can provide a thorough inspection. The inspection should be done as soon as a problem is noticed or suspected, but it is important to pick an appropriate professional expert to conduct do the inspection.

An experienced Atlanta, Georgia construction attorney will be able to put you in contact with an architect or engineer that is qualified to review and evaluate the type of construction defect(s) found, even if it is not immediately evident when visually inspected. Finding the right expert to provide this data is critical. Besides providing the inspection, the expert architect or engineer likely will be be providing testimony and case support during the Georgia construction litigation or arbitration process and will be asked to propose corrective measures. Under Georgia law, you do have legal recourse and can fight to restore the structure and/or receive compensation for damage.
Continue reading

In my career as an Atlanta, Georgia construction lawyer, I have found that Georgia builders and contractors commonly rely on the one-year new home warranty, mandated by state law, to shield them from accountability for home construction defects. Unfortunately, many new homeowners are unaware that in Georgia, the one-year warranty period does not set a time limit on their ability to rectify Georgia construction defect issues. The fact is that homeowners can sue for compensation related to defects that are discovered after the warranty period has expired.

To ensure proper treatment for home defect issues, it is imperative to consult with an experienced Georgia Real Estate Construction Lawyer as soon as the defects are discovered. An effective strategy for fighting construction defects is to file a breach of construction contract claim. Breach of contract can consist of the builder or contractor not using the proper materials for the job, failure to build the structure to industry standards, poor workmanship on the project and incomplete work. The Georgia statute of limitations for claims involving breach of written contracts is six years, which in many cases is sufficient time for defects to surface. What is more, the statute of limitations only begins to run on latent defects when they are discovered or should have been discovered.

A lawyer qualified to handle Georgia construction breach of contract disputes can guide homeowners through the options for recovering financial losses already incurred and for obtaining monies to repair home defects. Builders and contractors frequently will try to convince homeowners that the one-year warranty period precludes them from having to make an effort to resolve the defects. In these cases the builder is mistaken. Nevertheless, consulting with an Atlanta, Georgia home defect attorney immediately is a prudent first step toward confronting the builder or contractor and the process of forcing the responsible party to correct any problems the homebuyer may have.
Continue reading

The building, renovation, or repair of a home can involve great expense and stress, even when the project is going smoothly. But when issues arise with contractors over construction defects, the cost and stress of the project can spiral out of control. The resulting mess can ultimately lead to a lawsuit that does not always solve the homeowner’s issues completely. The Georgia Right to Repair Act of 2004 was created to protect homeowners and help them handle these types of construction disputes in a more cost effective and efficient manner. The Act attempts to get homeowners and contractors to work together to solve these disputes without Georgia construction defect litigation or arbitration in a Georgia forum.

The Georgia Right to Repair Act requires that the homeowner perform a series of tasks before seeking relief from the Georgia court system or through the Georgia construction arbitration process. While it is open to question that the Right to Repair Act Letter can be waived by the parties to a construction defect dispute, the general process is that homeowners are first required to inform the contractors in writing of the construction defects. After that, the contractors are allowed a chance to correct the defects. They may opt to fix the problem completely or partially, offer a monetary settlement in place of a fix, or a combine the two methods. Over a 3-month period, several communications are required that must fall within a specific timeline before a lawsuit or an arbitration complaint can be filed by the homeowner. If the contractor fails to respond to the initial notice, or if the settlement offered is inadequate or never executed, the homeowner may file a Georgia construction defect lawsuit or proceed with the Georgia arbitration process for resolution of the construction defect.

Most homeowners will not be able to perform these tasks adequately without the help of an Georgia construction law firm. Failure to comply with the complete series of requirements outlined in the Act will affect the homeowner’s ability to pursue a legal claim. Moreover, the failure to send a Right to Repair Act Letter can be used as an effective defense against defective construction claims. In effect, the steps required by the Right to Repair Act are best handled by an experienced Georgia Construction Defect Attorney who can protect the homeowner’s rights and ability to file a claim.
Continue reading

The Atlanta, Georgia, home defect and construction defect lawyers, at our firm strongly advocate you immediately seek legal representation upon finding any hidden defect(s) in your home. A latent (hidden) construction defect is one that could not have been discovered upon a reasonable inspection. Although these defects are not usually readily apparent, once discovered they usually will impact your home’s fair market value. Some examples include structural damage, defective building materials, soil damage, roof damage and termite infestation. Once you have knowledge of the defect, you should act and seek a legal remedy to your problem. Not acting or ignoring the problem could affect the legal rights and remedies available to you.

Oftentimes, Georgia homeowners are devastated when they discover serious home defects months or even years after they have moved into their home. In my practice as a Atlanta, Georgia, new construction defect attorney, I have had many clients come to me who think they are out of luck when they discover a latent defect in their new home.

Thus, the questions arises — What should homeowners do if they discover latent defects but the homebuilder or seller can not be located or will not correct the problem upon request. The first step is to contact an experienced Atlanta construction lawyer to evaluate your options. I have helped numerous homeowners locate the parties responsible for their home’s defects and obtain just compensation in order to repair the defects and/or compensate them for their home’s diminished value. Determining the identity of the party responsible for losses as the result of latent defects can be challenging.

First, under Georgia law, sellers have a duty to disclose all latent defects that are known and could not be discovered by a diligent inspection of the property. Often latent defects – such as improper installation of roof shingles – are not something that an independent inspector should be expected to locate during an inspection. As a result, if sellers know of the defect, they have the burden of disclosure. If sellers fail to disclose a defect, they may be held responsible for the homeowner’s loss. Types of claims may include fraudulent concealment, fraudulent inducement, misrepresentation, and breach of contract.

Where the construction defect occurs in a newly built home, potential defendants include general contractors, developers, and builders. Sometimes architects and designers may be responsible as well. Additional causes of actions may exist against builders of new homes including negligent construction and breach of express and implied warranties. Under
Georgia’s Right to Repair Act, homeowners must serve notice on contractors at least 90 days before filing a lawsuit. The Right to Repair Act provides allows contractors an opportunity to fix the defect, either fully or partially, settle by monetary payment, or a combination of the two.

However, you may still file a lawsuit if you are not satisfied with a settlement offer, the contractor fails to respond to the notice, or the contractor fails to follow through. An experienced Georgia real estate and construction defect lawyer will ensure you follow the proper steps to preserve your right to file a claim.

Once you contact a dedicated Georgia construction defect attorney, you may be able to recover the costs of repairs and the loss in value to your home as the result of the defect. You may also be able to recover the cost of temporary housing needed while the defect is repaired, the value of the loss of use, court costs, and in some instances, attorney’s fees.
Please contact the The Libby Law Firm immediately if you have discovered a latent or other defect in your home. We will find the responsible party and represent you in your endeavor recover the compensation you deserve.
Continue reading

As Atlanta construction litigation lawyers and Georgia home defect attorneys we see many clients who believe they have no recourse for construction defects discovered a year or more after project completion.

Many builders claim – and homeowners believe – that Georgia’s mandatory one-year warranty period excuses them from responsibility for defects that are discovered or occur after the one-year period has lapsed. Fortunately, this is not the case.

In most situations, the warranty does not preclude a homeowner from filing a claim against a builder or contractor based on construction defects. In fact, one of the most common ways to be compensated for a construction defect is to file a “breach of contract” action. A breach of contract may occur when a builder fails to construct a home in a “workman-like fashion”. Types of defects include, but are not limited to, the use of substandard building materials, non-compliance with industry standards and incomplete or poorly completed work.