Insights / blog

October 27, 2023

Understanding Defects

House Building defects refer to an aspect of a home that does not meet the standards or specifications outlined in the contract or as prescribed by building regulations. It is important to understand what a defect is and how it has occurred. This will help deliver an efficient resolution and hopefully prevent similar defects in the future.

We categorise defects into two groups, Minor Defects and Major Defects, it is obvious that defects would be split up into these categories due to their severity, implications and steps required for a resolution. The common causes of a defect are poor material quality, workmanship, errors in design and specification and external factors which include extreme weather conditions and ground movement.

Materials, workmanship and subcontractors play a crucial role in determining the quality of the final product. Using substandard materials may not cause defects immediately but overtime it will create significant problems. Having skilled workmanship ensures skill, care and due diligence along with a robust quality control procedure that will reduce the number of defects. Finally, subcontractors bring skill and quality as well as an element of risk. It is paramount that there is a thorough vetting process and that the chosen subcontractor is properly briefed about quality and expectations, this will in turn reduce the number of defects that will occur. Studies have measured that direct costs of avoidable errors in the construction industry is around 5% of project value which equates to £5bn per annum across the sector in the UK and is higher than average profit levels across the industry (around 3%).

We believe that adopting a ‘right first time’ approach is extremely important, it saves time, reduces costs, enhances customer satisfaction and ultimately minimises the number of defects. This proactive approach should be adopted by everyone within the construction and housing industry.

Understanding defects, their causes, and how to prevent them is crucial in the construction and housing industry. Quality materials, skilled workmanship, and reliable subcontractors are key to minimising defects. Adopting a ‘right first time’ approach not only reduces defects but also saves time, enhances customer satisfaction, and cuts costs. By understanding the cause and resolution of defects, we can implement practices to limit future issues. This proactive approach is a cornerstone of our industry’s success.