Construction Liability Resources

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Contact: David Jaffe
(202) 266-8317
djaffe@nahb.org

NAHB’s legal team works with NAHB’s Construction Liability, Risk Management and Building Materials Committee to minimize construction defect and builder liability problems that may arise with construction and remodeling. NAHB attorneys monitor building product defect problems, study and recommend methods of reducing builder liability, and work cooperatively with manufacturers, insurers, product trade groups and other interested parties on builder liability issues.
Trending Topics and Issues

Escalation Clause for Specified Building Materials. The sample language provided in this clause is intended for general informational purposes only, and may not be appropriate for some agreements. Care should be taken in the drafting of any contractual clause, and it is recommended that an attorney be consulted concerning both applicable law, and the phrasing of particular contract provisions.

Marijuana in the Home Building Industry. Watch an NAHB on-demand webinar that discusses the differences between state and federal laws and examines the ways the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana can impact the home building industry. Also, read Marijuana in the Workplace, a guide that examines pertinent issues related to the legalization of marijuana, and includes a compilation of state laws, tips for creating a workplace policy and answers to frequently asked questions.

Suicide Prevention. NAHB has joined the Construction Alliance for Suicide Prevention in an effort to raise awareness of the prevalence of suicide in the construction industry. Use the Needs Analysis & Integration Checklist to evaluate your company’s preparedness for addressing mental health and suicide in the workplace, and be sure to review the 10 questions and 10 action steps companies can use to save lives.

Drones in Construction. During the 2018 International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando, the Construction Liability, Risk Management and Building Materials Committee received a preview from the speakers for the education session "Drones 101: Uses & Legal Implications in Residential Construction." This session helped attendees learn more about legal requirements when using drones, ways to use drones as part of a residential construction business, and insurance coverage for drones. If you attended IBS, you can visit the IBS website to hear the audio recording of the session, or you can view the presentation below.

Smart-Home Technology. A look at emerging trends in connected-home technology, potential liability concerns and ways to make sure you are properly conveying to customers any risks associated with this new and expanding market.

Evaluating New Building Materials. Builders face many choices in selecting building products, materials and equipment and obtain information about new or unfamiliar items from manufacturers and distributors. Reviewing building material choices in advance may help eliminate non-conforming building materials, building material returns, and possibly, disputes. For builders that may not have their own review process, NAHB has developed a guide to assist them in gathering information from manufacturers and distributors.

2018 IBS Presentation: Misconceptions about the Common Crack. Risk Manager Walt Keaveny, MS, PE, PG, discusses how to determine the seriousness of cracks, most of which are caused by expansion and contraction of building materials due to changes in moisture content and temperature. (A PDF summary is also available.)

Builder Resources - Products and Construction Techniques

Spray Foam, Insulation and Termites addresses questions pertaining to inspection for, and treatment of, potential termite infestations in buildings using spray foam insulation (SPF). It provides basic information about termite identification, inspection and treatments methods and discusses the importance of air sealing and insulation of critical areas when using SPF. It also presents code-compliant solutions to address these concerns.

Gypsum Presentation. As part of its ongoing commitment to bring members valuable information and resources they can use in the field, NAHB’s Construction Liability, Risk Management and Building Materials Committee invited USG’s Paul Shipp to its 2016 International Builders' Show meeting to discuss damaged gypsum board repair and finish issues: Damaged Gypsum Board: Repairing and Finishing. Shipp, principal research associate at USG, is the committee liaison to the 2016 Leading Suppliers Council. To learn more about gypsum wallboard and how to get the best finished surface for your project, download the Sheetrock Brand Installation and Finishing Guide.

Mid-Atlantic Fastener Issue: Screw Buttons

BIM Legal Risks: An Overview. Building Information Modeling (BIM) use is both evolving and on the rise, with more and more contractors using BIM in a dynamic, collaborative way to benefit a wide array of construction projects. BIM use calls for assessment and management of the risks involved.

Effects of Reflected Sunlight from Low-E and Other Double-Paned Window Glass. Glass in double-paned windows may slightly warp or deflect because of a difference in barometric pressure between the interior of the glass panes and the outside air. This can create a concavity in the glass, causing an effect similar to light passing through a magnifying glass. The heat generated by the focused reflected sunlight can damage nearby vinyl siding.

Green Building. Learn more about the legal aspects of green building.

Builder Resources: Water and Moisture Intrusion. Builders work to avoid water intrusion and insufficient drainage, which both pose a threat to the durability of their homes. Here is a look at construction methods to help keep moisture levels in exterior walls from exceeding acceptable maximum levels, including a building enclosure with a “rain screen.”

White Papers and Articles

Misclassification of Independent Contractors: Builders’ Guide to State Laws. The law permits the use of independent contractors, provided such workers are not “employees” under existing tax, employee benefit, and labor and employment laws. However, many employers have classified some of their employees as independent contractors in an effort to save money. This has led to increased focus at both the federal and state levels to determine whether workers are properly designated as “independent contractors” or if they should be considered company employees. Some states have focused their efforts on specific industries, including the construction industry. Additional information about this subject is available on the blog, Who Is My Employee, maintained by attorney Todd Lebowitz of BakerHostetler.

No. 1 Cause of Structural Failures. This significant liability is often misunderstood and overlooked: improperly compacted structural fill material.

Why Home Builders Should Be Concerned About E.D. E.D. in the new home warranty industry is an acronym for early development, which refers to the timing of structural claim occurrence during the 10-year warranty term.

Arbitration Trumps Litigation: Home Builder Construction Disputes. It is often said that no one wins in litigation except the attorneys. Arbitration, when compared to litigation in the court system, is fast, cost-effective, more predictable, fair and private.

Insurance Coverage for Claims of Latent Defects: What Protection is a Builder Buying? Updated for 2015, this white paper discusses the types of liability insurance coverage for latent construction defect claims.

Multifamily Owner's and Manager’s Guide Regarding Bed Bug Issues

Risk Transfer for Trade Contractors. Contractors must understand the risks of construction activities that they are responsible for and the methods available to them for managing such risks.

You’re an “Additional Insured” — What Coverage Are You Getting? Understand what coverage builders may receive as an “additional insured” on their subcontractor’s CGL policy.

Surveys
2019 ICC-NAHB Research Survey. NAHB and ICC conducted a joint survey of code officials across the United States as part of their ongoing effort to improve the quality of construction in residential and commercial buildings. The purpose of the survey is to highlight items most likely to be flagged during construction.
Construction Liability, Risk Management and Building Materials Committee
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