abogados · lawyers · rechsanwaelte

How to claim construction defects

Whether you are a homeowner, a business premises or an industrial warehouse, or if you are a property manager, you must know the most important aspects to take into account when facing a procedure to claim construction defects or defects in real estate, so as the damages caused as a consequence of them.

What are construction defects?

The construction defects are those irregularities that we can find in our property as a consequence of its construction, among which we can distinguish:

  • Finishing defects.
  • Habitability defects.
  • Defects related to the stability and structural safety of the building.


How much time I have to claime?

The action to claim construction defects prescribes within a period of two years from when such damage occurs or appears.

Regarding the guarantees of the property, Law 38/1999, of November 5, on Building Management, offers us a series of guarantees, granting a term to claim said defects in finish, habitability or those related to stability and structural safety of the building for one year, three years or ten years, respectively.

In this regard, the terms of guarantee or action to claim said defects begin to count from the moment the act of receipt of the work is signed or, where appropriate, from the time it is understood to have been tacitly received.

If this period has elapsed, the contractual responsibility of the developer or seller of the property provided for in the civil code will always remain in force, which extends for 15 years after the sale of the same.


Who to complain to?

The claim procedure must be addressed to the construction agents who have intervened in it.

However, the derived civil liability will be demanded in a personal and individualized way so it will be necessary to identify the culprit of the construction defects that appear, having to distinguish between the developer, the builder or the director of the work.

In the case of claiming defects related to the stability and structural security of the building, it should be noted that in these cases the law obliges the developer or builder to contract a ten-year insurance guaranteeing the responsibilities of the building agents for material damage caused by defects or vices that affect the mechanical resistance or stability of the building, so it will also be necessary to contact the insurer to claim construction defects and damage caused by them. 


How do I submit the claim?

Firstly, you must identify all possible defects that appear in your property and, where appropriate, consult with your neighbors about the possibility that they have spread to the neighboring property.

Once identified, you must notify said defects to the developer or construction company, in this regard we recommend accompanying this claim with an expert report identifying the detected construction defects, their origin, a proposed solution and justifying the causal link between the constructive deficiencies and the vices or defects that have appeared.

It is recommended that such notification be made through a reliable means that confirms its receipt (Burofax, registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt, ...).

Following these guidelines, the probabilities of success in the extra judicial claim are maximized to correct these defects and claim the damages produced by them and, in any case, the deadlines are interrupted for an eventual judicial procedure in case of no response or of not reaching a friendly agreement.

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