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Civil (Contract) Law claims: Construction & the Implied Term of Reasonable Quality
|Posted on 4 May, 2015 at 19:25|
By Daniel Greanya.
Home renovation season is approaching, and disputes over construction projects and home renovations will surface in the months ahead. Many of these disputes will end up as civil law actions in the Small Claims Court. Homeowners have expectations about the quality of work and how the renovation will look, and it is important that both homeowners and contractors know their rights and responsibilities. Over the summer, I will address a few areas of the law that are important for renovation and construction projects.
Regardless of the nature of any written documentation or explicit agreement between the parties, there are some standards that must be observed regardless. Paralegals and lawyers refer to these terms as implied contractual terms. There are two types of terms which are significant to situations involving contractors, and these include explicit terms in an agreement, the things that the contractor and client agreed to and anticipated, and implied terms which the court will read into a contractual relationship. Implied terms aim to give effect to the intent of the parties, and give effect to terms that are fundamental to the nature of the contractual relationship. It would in fact be an absurdity for implied terms to be in dispute, they are that important. One of these is the implied term of reasonable quality. This implied term relates not only to construction or home improvement products, but also the realm of goods and services.
The implied term of reasonable quality includes a number of protections and expectations for construction projects. The implied duty means that work will be done in a proper manner as is expected of professionals from a given field of work. This means that the contractor, subcontractors, and persons working under them must be reasonably competent, that is have the skills necessary to do a good job. There also is a duty that the materials used will be defect free, in other words they will be of the quality required for the project. Obviously the standard of what is “reasonable” is a huge qualification. Workmanship does not need to be perfect to meet the legal test for this implied term, it must be of reasonable quality. For example, if an inspection team of three other contractors inspecting the work would agree that it has been done in accordance with industry standards, then the implied term has been met. Obviously the context of the work and the skill involved impacts the implied expectation of quality, a skilled carver or stonemason hired for specific and skilled craftsmanship would likely be held to a higher standard than an average contractor. Similarly, an unskilled amateur would not likely be subjected to the standard of a skilled craftsman with a lifetime of experience. Similarly, a contractor installing $250.00 per square foot granite flooring would be held to a higher standard than one installing linoleum. Context in these situations is important.
If you are a contractor, it is important to make sure that you meet the standard of reasonable quality, and use quality materials. It is also important to manage the expectation of the client to make sure that they are met. In doing so, you will reduce the risk of a civil law claim based on breach of the implied term of reasonable quality. If you have a problem with unsatisfied clients looking to sue you over work done, call Greanya Legal Services to find out your legal rights and obligations.
If you are a client looking to renovate your home, it is important that you make your expectations and wishes clear for the contractor, to ensure that problems do not arise later on. If you do have concerns about the quality of work done, it does not hurt to get a second opinion. If you have an issue with the quality of a contractors work on your construction or home improvement project, document the problems, and call Greanya Legal Services for a consultation. You can reach us at 289-631-1504, 647-701-5589, or [email protected].
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as general information, and does not replace the advice of a Licenced Paralegal or Lawyer. For advice on your specific case, contact Greanya Legal Services directly.