Floridians who contract a commercial builder to design and construct a new home may file a lawsuit for damages resulting from defects. If a homeowner discovers a deficiency in construction after moving in, he or she may file a claim against the builder within four years. Hidden or unnoticeable defects, however, may take up to 10 years before the statute runs out for filing a legal action.

Generally, a new homeowner finds a construction defect when a problem occurs in the building’s design or structure, as noted by Insurance Journal. Shoddy materials, poor quality in artisanship and a flaw in the blueprints may contribute toward a deficiency on the part of the builder.

When a patent defect requires a lawsuit

Imperfections or shortcomings noticeable upon a reasonable inspection of the house typically qualify as a patent defect. A builder owes a duty of care to inspect his or her construction work for any blemishes before turning the completed project over to its new owner. If a builder fails to discover a reasonable error and correct it, it may require a legal action to recover for damages.

To determine whether a patent defect requires a claim, a homeowner may use the house’s market value as a guide. As an example, water damage caused by a substandard or negligent plumbing installation may result in a significant reduction in a house’s value. A homeowner may wish to file a legal action against the builder for the home’s loss of value and cost of its repair.

Legal action over a latent defect

A homeowner, however, has up to 10 years from the date of the construction’s completion to file a lawsuit for a latent defect, as noted on The Florida Legislature website. A latent construction defect generally describes a flaw not reasonably discovered when investigating a house immediately after moving in.