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Understanding contractor liability under Texas law

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Construction Litigation

Texas businesses that are involved in construction and hire contractors and subcontractors should be fully aware of the law related to these matters. For example, if there is a dispute at any point in the process, it can be problematic for everyone involved. Often, this is related to determining what a contractor is and is not responsible for, particularly if there are allegations of construction defects or issues with the design. When entering into an agreement with contractors, it is essential to understand the facts.

Contractor responsibility can be complex

According to state law, contractors bear responsibility for some issues but not for others. The contractor will not be held responsible for issues related to design defects if the planning, specifications, documentation and other factors were not done by the contractor or their agents. For example, if they were hired to do a job and the design presented to them was faulty, they will not be held accountable for it under the law.

Once they learn of the defect, inaccuracy, problems with the plans or design, they must disclose this in writing with the entity they are contracting for. This must be done within a reasonable amount of time after its discovery. The contractor is expected to perform due diligence with the project while it is in progress and after it is completed to discover defects.

Ordinary diligence includes scrutinizing the project for the construction or improvement of a property in the same way they would when they prepare to make a bid or to complete the work. It does not include engaging with those with specialized skills in engineering, architecture or land surveying. Contractors who do not disclose the discovery of a defect can be held liable for its consequences.

Businesses involved in construction need to be protected

Construction disputes can be among the costliest types of business litigation. Since there are so many different parts to a successful project, it can be difficult to get everyone moving in the same direction. Knowing the legal responsibilities of the contractors, especially regarding defects and potential dangers, is imperative.

Whether it is related to the scope of work, contractual disagreements, construction defects or problems with the planning, it is useful to have professional assistance from the outset. This can be a protective device and clear obstacles as they arise. It is also crucial if a legal claim is needed.