You’ve probably heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, right? Well, it’s probably the most famous construction defect in history. Unfortunately, unlike the tower, most construction defects don’t turn into tourist attractions — they turn into nightmares for their owners.

There are all kinds of possible signs of a construction defect, but the defects themselves are likely in one of the four following areas:

1. Subsurface

These are the problems that occur when a building is built on shifting soil or some other reason leaves the entire foundation at risk. Another problem in this area can be related to poor water drainage and a lack of planning for ordinary weather conditions, predictable landslides and so on.

2. Design

Deficiencies in design can go back to the architect or engineer of a project. Sometimes, it may be the general contractor’s shortsightedness. Examples of design deficiencies include things like a poor ventilation system that doesn’t allow heat and air to properly circulate in a building or a roof that won’t drain and collapses under the weight of retained water.

3. Workmanship

These type of construction deficiencies are often the most obvious to the casual observer. They can range from relatively minor problems (a shoddy paint job) to something much more major (badly installed plumbing that leaks and causes a mold infestation).

4. Materials

Inferior materials can be deceptive at first. They may initially look fine to the casual observer — but quickly wear down or break. Again, depending on where the defective materials were used, this could be a minor issue or a major problem. Defective floor tiles, for example, may be easily replaced. Inferior materials used in the drywall process, however, could require a major overhaul.

If a construction defect is affecting your property after a build or renovation, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance if the contractor doesn’t step up to make things right.