As an Atlanta, Georgia construction defect litigation lawyer, I place most construction defects into four (4) legally distinct groups:

Design Defects: These defects occur when a design professional, such as an architect or engineer, creates a building design, which is not within acceptable industry standards. A simple illustration of design defect is the creation of a building with a roof that results in poor drainage, inadequate structural support, or allows water penetration.

Material Defects: These occur when substandard building materials are used and/or cause damage to the building. An illustration of the use of substandard building materials would be leaking windows even though they have been properly installed (Note: Here, the window materials must be defective).

Construction Deficiencies: These usually arise from poor craftsmanship or workmanship that is not performed in a professional workmanlike manner, which is acceptable in the industry. An illustration is cracks in foundations or walls, rotting wood, electrical problems, and plumbing leaks.

Subsurface Deficiencies: These usually arise when houses are built on hills and areas were providing a stable foundation is difficult or where the builder fails to secure a suitable foundation. An illustration of this would be structural movement or shifting, building without proper grading or below grade.

If you believe your construction defects or significant problems, you should have it inspected immediately by an experienced architect or engineer. The type of inspection you should have largely depends on the type of problems you are experiencing. Hiring an experienced Georgia construction lawyer is a critical step in protecting your rights as a homeowner and assisting you in finding the right architect or engineer. Not every architect or engineer is in the business of inspecting and evaluating defective work.

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As an Atlanta construction litigation and arbitration attorney, the initial question I have in any new case is, who is potentially liable for the claims in this matter? The business and construction litigation attorneys at my Firm often discuss Georgia construction claims, piercing the corporate veil, who is liable and how do we collect from them in order to make our clients “whole”. We want you to know the following:

If you are the owner who just bought a new property and want to bring claims for defective construction against the builder in the Metro Atlanta area, you are going to want to know who may be liable for your damages, and equally as important, from whom will you be able to recover. Conversely, if you are an Atlanta area contractor, subcontractor, or other construction professional who has been sued, you will want to analyze your exposure: who is at risk and for how much?

In my experience as a Georgia construction litigation and arbitration attorney, people, including attorneys who do not commonly handle construction cases, answer these questions by looking to the construction company. Many people assume that if the company is incorporated, the individuals who own and work for the company are protected from any liability.

Under Georgia law, however, there are numerous ways that an officer or employee of a corporation may be personally liable for claims raised in a construction suit. These can be powerful weapons in construction litigation. It is critical that any person involved in these suits, whether as plaintiffs or defendants, be aware of these potential claims and, more importantly, hire an attorney who knows and understands these issues. Our Atlanta business litigation attorneys will analyze what is known as “piercing the corporate veil”. This legal tactic allows Atlanta business, construction and arbitration attorneys to recover monies from builders and contractors who have not run their company properly.
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As an Atlanta, Georgia, arbitration, home defect, and construction lawyer, I am noticing more and more frivolous claims from Georgia home purchasers and buyers that architects, contractors, builders, sub-contractors, and other persons involved in the construction of a new home, are failing to meet the obligations of the construction contract. These same Georgia home purchasers and buyers are refusing or failing to allow “draws”, or otherwise pay construction professionals, per the construction contract. In fact, they are finding any reason to say that the Georgia construction professionals have not met their obligations per the Georgia construction contract. In my Atlanta, Georgia, construction arbitration and real estate dispute law firm, I am finding that many of these claims, by the purchasers and buyers of these homes, are arising from the fact that these new home purchasers and buyers have fallen on hard financial times.

To be brief, they are looking for a way out of paying you under the obligations of your Georgia new construction contract. Under their theory, a penny owed and not paid, is a penny earned. This is a terrible and pitiful way to try to get of paying under the new construction or new home purchase contract or bargain for a reduction in price. This is especially true given the tough times that construction professionals are enduring in Georgia. These hard-working construction professionals must be paid every penny they have contracted for and earned. This is especially true given the harsh financial and real estate environment they must endure.

In my Georgia construction arbitration and real estate dispute law firm, I handle many matters where purchasers and buyers of new homes are refusing to pay for the design and construction of their home and complaining about upgrades, construction timing issues, “punchlist” items, quality of work, and sub-contractors issues. The list of items and excuses I have heard is endless, somewhat pathetic and every now and then, humorous.

In successfully representing countless Georgia architects, contractors, builders, sub-contractors and other construction professionals, it is important to note that arbitration clauses in new construction contracts are binding and the sole remedy for causes of action and claims, which occur on or after April 28, 2006. Any prior construction or building dispute claims shall continue to be governed by prior law.

As such, every construction professional should know that new home purchasers and buyers are looking for any and every way to avoid paying the full and just price for their new home. The fact that they may have fallen on difficult financial times is their problem, not yours.

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As an Atlanta construction arbitration and home defect lawyer, I feel any person, family or business involved in the residential home building industry should be aware that there have been recent changes to the Georgia Code as it relates to new construction contracts and arbitration clauses. Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution, however, unlike mediation, a decision is rendered in favor of one party or the other after a “hearing” or “trial” where an “arbitrator” or “arbitration tribunal” hears evidence, arguments, and other relevant matters and issues concerning the facts and circumstances surrounding the new home construction and real estate dispute.

Because nearly every Georgia new construction contract contains a form of arbitration provision, this is important news for everyone in Georgia involved in new construction, building or renovation. This is especially true for the purchasers and buyers of any newly constructed home in the Atlanta area. Businesses and families entering into new construction, building, or renovation contracts should be extremely cautious about clauses that limit the remedy of any new construction or real estate dispute to binding decision via the arbitration process. This is because the Supreme Court of Georgia has recently ruled, arbitration clauses in new construction contracts are legally binding and your sole remedy under Georgia real estate, construction and contract law. In other words, if you feel the decision made by the arbitrator or arbitration tribunal, was legally wrong or flawed, you have no right to appeal to a higher court of law, or any other court of which would have had jurisdiction had there been no arbitration clause in your Georgia real estate construction contract.

Here is a short list of the types of construction defect cases our Firm handles and which are likely subject to Arbitration:

• Roof Problems and Defects • Foundation Problems • Water Leaking, Intrusion and Infiltration • Improper Drainage or Draining Failure • Mold and Defective or Dangerous Air Ventilation
• Improper Grading • Violation of County and State Building Codes • Improper Foundation Placement
• Failure to Diagnose or Set up Safety Features • Improper Stucco or Flooring
• Brick Defects and Mortar Issues • Roof Defects • Building Code Violations • Construction Site Safety • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Inspections and Compliance Reports • Safety Code Violations
• Construction Management • Structural Design Flaws

In order to properly protect your real estate investment, I strongly feel that anyone entering into to a construction contract or a new home building contract should retain a real estate business contract lawyer to review, negotiate, or redraft any real estate construction contracts which are unfair to you or “one-sided” in favor of any other party to the contract. In my opinion, as a Georgia construction law attorney and Atlanta construction lawyer, a “best practice rule” for entering into any new construction contract or real estate building contract, is to hire a real estate business contract attorney or construction lawyer to review and make changes to any Georgia real estate contract to protect your interests and investment.
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As an Atlanta, Georgia home defect lawyer and homeowner, I know well the importance of having that perfect house built for you. For the most part, a house is one of, if not the biggest investments, most persons will make in their lifetime. This underscores importance of being extremely diligent and using your best efforts to receive the quality house that you likely have partially paid for and will likely be paying for many years into the future. Oftentimes, you will find that one of the best decisions you can make to ensure your investment is protected, is to retain an experienced real estate construction law firm to represent you and protect your investment.

In my practice as an Atlanta, Georgia house defect lawyer, I find more and more cases where builders/contractors and their sub-contractors are cutting corners in the building of your house to make ends meet. When this is done, you are the one who is left with the defective house, many frustrating home defect problems and the inability to sell your house. These home defects usually result in you taking a large loss in market value of your home. This means that you are essentially stuck with a defective house unless you sell it for much less, than you paid.

The fact of the matter is, most builders will cut corners and build you a sub-standard quality building if they feel they can get away with doing this. This is more so the case with sub-contractors who do the majority of the work and should have to answer to the builder/contractor. In reality, however, the sub-contractors are usually left to themselves with the builder or contractor checking on them very seldom. It is important for you to know that the builder/contractor is responsible for the acts of sub-contractors and any negligent, wrong or defective building done by them. Many of sub-contractors will cut corners and hide this from the builder/contractor. Georgia law is clear, however, that the builder/contractor is responsible for any material defects concerning the building and construction of your house.

If you suspect your builder, contractor, or one of their sub-contractors are cutting corners in the construction of your house, or you want to ensure that your large investment in your home is protected, The Libby Law Firm represents all parties to construction, building, and real estate contracts, construction arbitration, mediation, disputes and litigation. This includes residential homebuyers, purchasers and sellers; residential homebuilders, builders, contractors and sub-contractors; and, commercial lessors and lessees. Our Firm specializes in aggressively resolving real estate, home defect and building disputes and represent clients throughout the metro Atlanta and North Georgia areas. The truth is, most building disputes arise when the damage is already done and one party to the contract needs to seek legal relief. However, we are available review, negotiate or draft any construction contract or home purchase and sale agreement so that you are protected.
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As an Atlanta, Georgia home dispute lawyer, I am extremely aware of the importance of having that perfect house built for you. Moreover, recently, I find that even some of the best builders, contractors and subcontractors are cutting corners in the building of your home. This results in eventual material damages that may not be evident in the beginning or initials phases of the construction of your home or while you are living in your home after it is allegedly “finished”; however, they will show themselves over time and create a financial and lifestyle nightmare for you, the homebuyer.

Below is a list of the most common claims and cases our Firm currently has against builders, contractors and sub-contractors:

• Use of Substandard Building Materials
• Negligence in Construction
• Breach of Contract
• Home Building Fraud
• Fraudulent Home Disclosure
• Failure to Disclose Material Home Defects
• Misrepresentation in Home Selling, Building and Construction
• Hiding Defects in Home Purchase and Sale Agreements and Seller’s Disclosure Statements
• Non-Compliance with Industry Standards for Home Construction
• Failure to Maintain or Adhere to Industry Standards in Home Construction
• Incomplete or Poorly Completed Work in Building and Construction of Residence

If you feel that your builder, contractor or sub-contractor is cutting corners in the construction of your home, or you want to protect yourself from this possibility. The Libby Law Firm represents homebuyers, purchasers and investors in construction arbitration, real estate disputes and property litigation. Our Firm also reviews, negotiates, and drafts real estate construction, home building and business contracts.
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