Legal Question in Construction Law in California

New Construction Builder changed the exterior material on three of four sides on the second floor from shingles to stucco. Not like the model... What are my options for litigation?

Asked on 10/05/11, 11:44 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Basically, I suppose, to sue or not to sue, but your agreement(s) might contain an arbitration clause which would shift the sue option to be an arbitrate option. Going beyond the basics, your suit (or arbitration demand) could either be to have the builder correct the "mistake" at its expense, or a claim for money damages. If the latter, you would have the option of keeping the money damages and living with the stucco, or hiring someone else to make the changes. In either case, before brining suit or demanding arbitration, you'd want to take a couple of preliminary steps, including getting estimates of (a) the difference in cost between stucco and shingles in the first place (i.e., how much did the builder save by taking this shortcut) and (b) the cost to correct; also, having a construction-defects lawyer review all the paperwork to see how strong your case is, if indeed you have a case. Also, I should point out that the harm done by this switcheroo is not just expressed in money terms; there is an esthetic (appearance) aspect that would come up in your lawsuit.

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Answered on 10/05/11, 11:55 am

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