Construction litigation can be very expensive. Attorneys are required; expert witnesses are oftentimes required. In addition, there are substantial delays which have been increased because of the criminal case backlog caused by the Covid delays. Our firm tries to reduce the tremendous level expense to parties in construction litigation. The reason why expert witnesses are required is because of the numerous details in a construction project. For example, if there are substantial soil or site problems, you may need a geotechnical engineer or for storm water issues, you may need a hydrological engineer. At a minimum, an owner should start with an inspection done by a qualified individual. This does not necessarily have to be an engineer. For reference, you might contact the Georgia Association of Home Inspectors.
One item of free stuff our firm gives you is the required pre-suit notice letter. The construction industry nationwide has convinced many of legislatures of different states (including Georgia) that builders need special protections. The result is O.C.G.A. § 8-2-38. This requires that an owner give notice to the builder before filing suit and detail the defects. The owner also makes some form of demand either for specified repairs, payment of money or recission (or undoing) of the construction contract. The contractor is allowed the opportunity to make a counter offer. The owner responds to the counter offer; when the process is completed (which takes at least 60 days) then the owner may proceed to have the case heard. The case would then be heard either in a court or if your construction contract specifies arbitration, then it would be handled through the out of court arbitration process.
My experience has been that the pre-suit settlement process in construction cases rarely works. Why is that? A big reason is because most insurance companies for the contractors won't cover the lawyer fees involved in responding and handling the claims. Oftentimes the builder simply ignores the demand letter. Therefore, we offer the attached form letter which you may feel comfortable doing yourself without a lawyer.
The letter should contain the following items:
- The contractor's name and address
- Your name and address
- A listing or description of all the defects you complain of
- A copy of all documents, correspondence, photographs, reports and all material that you have at the time
Of course, our firm is more than willing to handle this process for you in addition to the construction process.