Foundation Problems – Blame Global Warming or Your Contractor?

Posted in Construction Claims, Construction Defects & Defective Construction

“You love your home and then it turns on you,” The New York Times reports one homeowner said when he discovered the foundation of his home was cracking, crumbling and moving. Repairing unstable foundations costs homeowners around $4 billion a year and that cost often is not covered by insurance.

Frequently, the shifting is the result of contractions and expansions triggered by soil drying out from lack of rain or being flooded by excessive rain.  Kate Murphy, writing for The New York Times, reports in “Shifting Soil Threatens Homes’ Foundations” that some experts believe these shifts are due to global warming.

But weather does not let builders, engineers and architects off the legal hook.  They are supposed to consider soil conditions and how that soil might expand and contract during dry and wet weather conditions in designing and building the foundations of homes and other buildings.


    What recourse is left for the buyer if foundation problems are occurring in a
    serious matter, and the builder has since
    filed for bankruptcy?

  • Always hard to answer a hypothetical,but, depending on the circumstances and jurisdiction, possible alternatives for the owner if the builder files bankruptcy would include: (1) filing a claim on the owner’s insurance policy, (2) asking the bankruptcy court to lift the bankruptcy stay to permit an action against the builder and a recovery to the extent of the builder’s insurance coverage and indemnity from responsible third parties such as subcontractors, (3) filing a proof of claim in the bankruptcy proceeding against the builder, (4) filing a direct action against responsible any responsible subcontractors/suppliers (permissible in some jurisdictions), (5) filing a claim on any performance bond provided by the builder.