Claims about home renovations in Small Claims Court are among the most common. Do you know that you are protected under the law when you enter an agreement for your home renovation?

Situations for Filing a Claim for Construction / Renovation in Small Claims Court

There may be different reasons that caused Construction / Renovation claims in small claims court: permits and approvals; site access restrictions; mismanagement; differing site conditions; lack of funds; defective specifications; changes in the work; labor productivity issues; document review/approval; testing/inspections; or inclement weather.

Usually, Construction / Renovation cases rely on consultants who are experienced construction managers, architects, engineers, home inspectors, and building code enforcement officials. Construction industry experts can be involved for the following issues:

  • Construction / Renovation drawings and specifications review
  • On-site Inspections
  • Design consistency and constructability analysis
  • Review of compliance with appropriate building codes and standards
  • Review of project correspondence
  • Review of job reports, and etc.
  • Forensic construction defect evaluation

Although, there are numerous reasons for Construction / Renovation claims in Small Claims Court, the main types of them are the following:

  • Construction / Renovation Delay
  • Labour Productivity
  • Design and Construction Defect
  • Construction / Renovation Acceleration
  • Differing Site Conditions
  • Construction / Renovation Changes

Construction / Renovation Delay Claims in Small Claims Court:

The famous saying that “Time is money” is especially true on construction / renovation projects. One of the most common types of Construction / Renovation small claims court claims are the claims related to schedule impacts, circumstances which extend the project and/or prevent work from being done as originally planned. However, delay claims are some of the least understood and complex disputes.

Construction / Renovation Labour Productivity Claims in Small Claims Court

Labour productivity claims are the most contentious claims among Construction / Renovation claims in Small Claims Court. Partially, it is based on the fact that labour productivity rates are often not tracked with enough precision and labour productivity losses are often difficult to distinguish. Construction / Renovation labour productivity is typically measured as labour hours per quantity of material installed. A loss of productivity can happen when a particular team is not accomplishing the planned production rates. It takes more labour to do the same amount of work. To win a labor productivity case in small claims court can be very difficult.

Design and Construction Defect Claims: Despite the best plans, Construction / Renovation defects typically occur. Design and construction defects can and do occur due to a variety of problems, including, the following:

  • The designer specified the incorrect materials or fails to specify them at all
  • The contractor didn’t follow the proper construction/installation guidelines.
  • The contractor’s quality control was poor.
  • The owner has chosen materials or hardware which was not sufficient for the intended purpose.
  • The contractor used substandard materials to reduce the costs.
  • The supplier provided with materials that are insufficient or defective.

Acceleration Claims

Time plays an important part in construction/renovation projects. Literally, “Time is money”. When a particular work has to be done earlier than planned, we are talking about acceleration. A contractor may accelerate voluntarily to mitigate its own delays and inefficiencies or to finish the project earlier and move on to the next project. Acceleration claims are typically occur when the contractor makes efforts to recover the project schedule after the project has suffered delays due to causes it believes are beyond its control. However, acceleration efforts can be expensive and do not guarantee early or on-time completion of the project. Adding resources requires extra costs. Working overtime hours typically requires paying of 1.5 to 2 times base labour rates. Directed acceleration occurs when the owner directs the contractor to accelerate to complete the project before the planned date.

All these things can result in problems during construction / renovation projects and lead to filing Construction / Renovation claims in small claims court.

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