Construction defects

Many times, a purchase has been made without conducting the recommended technical inspection study by an architect or engineer. This results in the buyer not being truly aware of what they have purchased, and subsequently, issues may arise that had been concealed or have simply occurred suddenly.

In this process of seeking redress, it is crucial to enlist technical support to determine whether the issues at hand are pathologies that could have been identified at the time of purchase or were deliberately concealed in bad faith.

My approach to addressing these issues always begins with a preliminary assessment of the situation. This allows the buyer, if they wish to proceed with their claim, to have the most precise understanding possible of the likelihood of success or viability of the legal action, along with its associated costs and risks. This assessment aids in determining whether it is more advisable to address the matter independently or, conversely, to pursue a claim for rectification or compensation.

In Spain, the Building Regulation Law (Ley de Odenación de la Edificación: LOE) governs construction processes and delineates the responsibilities of the parties involved in the project, provided that the warranty periods stipulated by this law are still in force.

First and foremost, I recommend ensuring that the property is thoroughly examined at the outset of the purchase process. I collaborate with several architects who can furnish a technical report regarding the property’s condition. This step holds great importance because, should you discover defects after the builder’s warranty has lapsed, rectification under the insurance may not be feasible.

It is essential to note that you have up to a ten-year period within which to initiate legal action against the construction company for structural damages or defaults. By law, the company is obliged to maintain insurance coverage for such claims; however, compensation is only attainable through legal proceedings or mediation.

For defects discernible upon initial inspection, there is a one-year window during which claims can be filed.

In cases involving defects affecting the habitability of the property, the law prescribes a three-year timeframe.

Lastly, if the building defects hold significant significance, or if you receive a property with construction quality that deviates from the agreed-upon standards stipulated in the sale contract (particularly relevant for new-build properties), you have the right to seek contract cancellation through legal action.

In the event that these timeframes have already elapsed, the buyer may seek recourse against the seller, provided that the requirements set forth in our Civil Code are met.

In my capacity as the head of the legal department in a construction company, I possess expertise in various aspects of construction defects.

Understanding the precise condition of the construction not only empowers you during negotiations but also serves as a valuable tool for assessing both the true condition and approximate value of the property.