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Expert Witness: How Can an Expert Identify Construction Defects?

When there is a need for a construction expert that must be used as a witness in a court case, he or she should have extensive knowledge and experience in the construction world. This means that all aspects of accidents, injury, defects and similar concerns regarding construction should be understood better than the average person.

A professional with a background in construction often has years if not decades devoted to fully grasping the factors and specific elements involved in these matters. When used as a witness for a claim or case in the court room, he or she provides testimony that proves or explains certain evidence and facts of the incident where an accident occurred.

A professional expert witness may also explain how delays, codes, compliance with regulations, the costs of construction and defects affect a project as well as the client. The processes of building, contracts with clients and contracting companies, financial obligations, bonds, insurance coverage, management, land use and deeds, easements and licensing should all be easily explained when it involves the case. Other processes may include the bidding that occurs with real estate projects, negotiations for
contracts and obtaining permits to ensure building occurs. While each of these areas must be expanded for a full understanding, an expert witness is versed in these subjects when researching, studying and living through these experiences.

Defect Identification

In order to prove that a suit is valid through details and evidence, it is important to understand and identify what defects exist in the manufactured products or buildings. These may be viewed through the blueprint designs, or the expert may have enough experience with constructed objects that he or she is able to discern how materials may be used to cause a problem. Defects may be discovered through inferior materials or tools. When cheaper substances and materials are used to craft a building or erect an edifice, they may lead to various injuries when they do not hold up to time or pressure. Other tests may be performed to determine what exactly is the cause of the defect such as standard use or continued application of the structure. If the problem causes erosion or crumbling of the bridge or building, it is often more obvious that materials were obtained either inferior than what was proposed in the contract or another process caused a defect.

There are many types of inspections possible with proper tools and standard methods used that may provide an expert to detect if a defect is present in a building or structure. Some issues are obvious through visual inspection, but others require assistance by specific detection processes. While designs may prove that a defect exists that will cause issues later, defective materials or parts are usually harder to determine. This is especially complicated if only one batch of a product was affected instead of the entire line. This means that some constructions may be affected, but others are structurally sound. Defective materials often cause the entirety of a project to become affected through corrosion, rust, abrasive resources and ineffective supplies.

Qualified Experts Used for Testimony

In order for someone to provide expert testimony for a case involving construction defects, he or she must be a profession in the industry with valid credentials and experience in the field. While he or she must have knowledge of various aspects, there is a standard amount of understanding of the subject matter that should be present in the individual. This means the expert knows the language, the complex problems that may exist, what will be discussed and all the standards of the industry. The person also has been present for construction projects, has communicated with other professional construction workers and grasps the methods, processes and materials used in these developments.

While the expert may have a specialized expertise in the construction field, he or she may have a general knowledge useful for defect cases. This means that with the great amount of subjects within construction, if the individual has a greater understanding of the processes, he or she may have less of a grasps on what materials and tools are used. However, there are many courses and licenses that may be obtained to further the education of the professional. This may include safety standards, rules of the Environmental Protection Agency, electrical systems, what suppliers provide tools and equipment and which officials of real estate and contractors are needed for these projects. An expert witness is often invaluable in providing necessary testimony to assist in proving a defect exists.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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