May 2020 Special Report

The Most Common Construction Deficiencies

By Beverly Smirnis

LJP Construction Services undertook a four-year project, researching and analyzing more than 2,000 projects throughout the United States ranging from single-family homes to residential high-rises, and including commercial construction projects. The goal was to show the most common causes of construction defects and compare metrics from state to state for different building types.

LJP undertook the research after studying more than a million assemblies and finding and verifying correction of nearly 50,000 errors. Utilizing the power of digital production and communications to conduct its detailed construction inspections, LJP has helped builders of more than 100,000 homes throughout the US. find and correct deficiencies and errors prior to project completion.  The company’s proprietary software sends project images and associated narrative in real-time to real estate developers, general contractors and insurance carriers.

For single-family homes, LJP’s research found the average deficiency rate is three percent nationally and ranges from 1.6 percent in California and 1.7 percent in Nevada to five percent in Florida and six percent in Texas.  The most significant deficiency types in residential construction were exterior weather barriers, structural (wood) framing, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and window/door installations, including preliminary weatherproofing assemblies. Deficiencies in field workmanship, misinterpretation of plan details, and deviations from manufacturers’ recommendations were identified as the primary reasons for the defects.

“In our opinion, builders need to provide more training for their field supervisors and trade partners because the surveys shows that many defects are likely from a lack of well-trained trade contractors,” said Don Neff, President of LJP Construction Services.

In its home state of California, LJP attributes the deficiency rate at only 1.6 percent, to a 20-year history of builders working together to raise quality standards, implementing legislative reforms, providing building science training opportunities to the teams and workforce and implementing comprehensive quality assurance programs. On average, in the LJP client data set, 98.4 percent of the observed assemblies have been constructed correctly.

Almost all of the most common construction defects, Neff notes, can be prevented by consulting with experts and engineers upfront, paying for good work and better materials and getting proper inspections.

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