Topic: Building Defects
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Please allow me to respond to the letter from “Frustrated homeowner, Cornwall Court”, entitled: “Faulty Houses Drown Residents In Problems”, published on Saturday, 24 March 2012. First off, It is my hope that the National Housing Trust [NHT] would have already responded satisfactorily to this letter. Otherwise, I believe the matter will only be resolved through the courts.
I do not know the specifics of this case but assume that the housing scheme is relatively new; in which case, very little if any maintenance would have been required of the residents. The fact that other residents have the same problem, at this early stage, indicates that the NHT did sell you defective houses, though most likely unknowingly. This defect may be due to defective workmanship, on the part of the specialist roofing contractor; poor supervision, on the part of the general contractor; poor contract administration or defective design, on the part of the architect.
Under typical building contracts, clients like the NHT will take-over buildings at a stage known as “practical completion”. As the name suggests, the building may not be fully complete; but, is expected to be completed within six (6) months: during which time, the contractor is responsible for making good all defects and any other that may arise during such period, at their own expense. In this instance, it is my belief that the “defects liability period”, as it is called, has already expired and the NHT cannot rectify the matter without some expense on their part, even through the courts, and is attempting to pass of the matter unto the homeowners as their “lack of maintenance”.
My advice to the homeowner would be to have an experienced contractor look at the roof to determine the precise cause of the leaks, in order to confirm that NHT is indeed responsible for the repairs. I give lectures at the Caribbean School of Architecture on the subject of Rainwater Drainage, and you are welcome to peruse notes given to the architecture students online at http://bit.ly/GWBdUB . This might be particularly helpful if it is a design fault. If it is confirmed that NHT is responsible, the contractor should estimate the cost of rectifying the defect, or defects; and, NHT should again be approached on the matter.
Failing any satisfactory outcome, all affected homeowners should collectively seek legal advice. Due to the prospect of lengthy court proceedings, homeowners might have to effect repairs at their own expense, and seek compensation through the courts. But, this should only be undertaken on legal advice, which I am not capable of giving. Again, it is my hope that the matter will be resolved without resorting to the courts, but ultimately that this defect will be rectified, irrespective of the path.
I am, etc.
Paul Hay MBA, BA(Arch.)
PAUL HAY Capital Projects
Caribbean Capital Projects Management
P. O. Box 3367
Constant Springs, Kgn. 8
tel: 1 (876) 756-0631
cel: 1 (876) 324-4274
fax: 1 (876) 756-0631
skype name: phcjam