In Construction Defect cases, the best and most persuasive evidence we have is often photographs. The more pictures we have to look at, the more pictures we can show the jury, and the better presentation we can make. Many of the photographs we use come from our experts, but an increasing number of cases feature large numbers of photographs taken by the homeowner. As a homeowner, we recommend that you take pictures of your house as often as possible. If you have a digital camera, it is very inexpensive, and your pictures could help prove a claim later on.
If you are building a new house, you should photograph the construction process as often as possible. Try to get a shot of the subcontractor’s trucks, if they identify the name of the subcontractor. (You would be amazed how often there are no records of which subcontractors did what on a house) You never know what mistakes may be made and there may be errors that you don’t notice, so you should try to document each step of the process. Once your home is finished, a comprehensive photographic record can help you get proper attention from the builder during the warranty period, and/or provide persuasive evidence of problems that the builder has refused or failed to remedy. If you start having water intrusion problems, you should photograph everything – drips, puddles, buckets, towels, stains. If the house is settling too much, photograph the cracks on a periodic basis, such as once or twice a month to see if they are getting bigger, or there are more and more of them over time. If you see any water stains in your attic, take some pictures.
Should any repairs be necessary to your home after the expiration of the warranty period, you should still give the builder notice of any repair work, since the repairs may destroy evidence that could prove useful in later litigation. If the builder has notice of the repairs before they happen, the cannot argue that they were denied a chance to inspect the home in it’s pre-repair state. You should to this in writing to the builder, and of course save a copy of the letter. The builder is also obligated to notify all potentially responsible subcontractors, design professionals, and material suppliers of the pending repairs as well. When and if you have to make repairs to your home due to construction deficiencies, document that process as well, including what you or your contractors find when they peel back the siding, or the roof. Pictures can provide solid compelling evidence, and they can be invaluable for refreshing your recollection about conditions or events that may have occurred years prior. If there is little or no cost to you, and a potentially huge advantage later on, snap away!