Hold builder, subcontractor responsible for faulty repair

Mailbag

March 17, 2002

Dear Mr. Azrael,

I purchased a new home in April 1999. During the second year of homeownership, in June 2000, the builder repaired a cracked pavement in front of my home. The repair was faulty, and the damage to the pavement has expanded. I have contacted the home warranty company but have not received any response.

Who is responsible for [fixing] the damage?

Norman Jackson

Baltimore

Dear Mr. Jackson,

The builder is responsible for damage resulting from the faulty repair of your pavement. The repair probably was done by a subcontractor, and that subcontractor also is responsible for failing to repair the pavement in a good and workmanlike manner. Having undertaken to correct the defective pavement, the builder and the subcontractor are legally required to make a reasonable and appropriate repair.

The damage is based on the cost of correcting the defect. In a court case, you might need expert testimony from a contractor to establish that the initial repair was faulty and to put a dollar value on the cost of correcting the defective work.

As far as the warranty company is concerned, you need to follow the notice procedures contained in the warranty document. Often, a written notice within a certain time period is required before the warranty company will consider a claim.

You also should check the "exclusions" section of the warranty, as damage to outside paving may be excluded or limited. In any event, all of your communications with the warranty company should be in writing.

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