Defects are aspects of a building that are not performing adequately for their intended use.
Defects may occur because of:
- Design deficiencies.
- Product or material deficiencies.
- Poor specification.
- Workmanship deficiencies.
- Maintenance deficiencies.
- Changes of use.
- Environmental influences.
Defects in new buildings may be attributable to designers, suppliers or contractors, and may result in a claim. In addition, during the first 12 months or so after completion (depending on the terms of the construction contract), the contractor may be required to remedy defects during a time commonly referred to as the 'defects liability period', and beyond that there may be some form of ongoing warranty.
In addition, irrespective of contractual obligations, the Defective Premises Act 1972 provides that a person taking on work for, or in connection with, the provision of a dwelling owes a duty to the person acquiring the dwelling and subsequent purchasers to see that the work which they take on is done in a workmanlike or professional manner, with proper materials so that it will be fit for habitation when completed.
However, defects in older buildings may not be clearly attributable to a particular party, but may result from a change in circumstances or use, an environmental impact, poor maintenance and so on, or from a combination of factors.
The housing stock in England is relatively old, with approximately 44% built before 1980, and 20% built before 1919. As a result it is prone to poor performance and a number of common defects.
- Carbon monoxide emissions.
- Cold bridge.
- Contaminated land.
- Cracking and building movement. (see also: Ground heave / Settlement / Subsidence).
- Damp (see also: Penetrating damp / Rising damp)
- Condensation (see also Interstitial condensation)
- Defects in brickwork (see also: Efflorescence / Spalling).
- Defects in dot and dab.
- Defects in stonework.
- Dry rot.
- Flooring defects.
- Hazardous substances (See also: Asbestos).
- Indoor air quality.
- Mould growth.
- Roofing defects (See also: Flat roof defects).
- Sick building syndrome.
- Wall tie failure.
- Wet rot.
Other common problems may include:
- Defective chimneys.
- Defective rainwater fittings, plumbing or drainage.
- Defective windows.
- Defective wiring.
- Defective plumbing.
- Inadequate ventilation of the sub-floor or roof space.
- Excessive energy consumption.
- Poorly installed insulation.
- Poorly installed or absent damp proof course.
- Decayed or damaged windows and doors.
- Sound transmission.
- Encroachment by trees.
- Chimneys that have been blocked up, but not filled.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building pathology.
- Certificate of making good defects.
- Defective Premises - Liability and Measure of Damages.
- Defective Premises Act.
- Defects liability period.
- English housing stock age.
- Flat definition.
- Housing Defects Act 1984.
- Remedial work.
- Residential definition.
- Schedule of condition.
- Schedule of defects.
- Scott schedule.
- Types of dwelling.
- Types of household.
- Use class.
 External references
On 18/19 October the IHBC, with CIOB and others will host this event offering practical insights into the working of heritage-led regeneration projects valued at some £90 million.
Pye Tait is carrying out an independent review of HE’s online advice and guidance, and want to boost responses from local authority (LA) conservation officers in particular..
Medway Council seeks heritage interpretation strategy and delivery on HLF project, closing 1 September, valued £97,000.
Sir Donald Insall’s article on ‘Chester, conservation as positive action’, written for the IHBC’s Conservation Area anniversary issue of Context of March 2017 now on DBW.
The Department for Communities and Local Government guidance supports permission in principle and brownfield registers of land suitable for housing.
At least half the new homes built on public land in London will have to be affordable to benefit from faster planning permission under a new approach to development.
Built Environment Forum Scotland has submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s position paper on the planning review.
The High Court grants permission to challenge the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government over refusal to call in Paddington Cube proposals for public inquiry.
Work has begun, as a result of campaigners fight, on the reconstruction of a beloved pub the Carlton Tavern, Maida Vale which was knocked down illegally by its owners.
A Scottish tour operator has set up a national ‘history police’ forum, allowing the public to report misleading or inaccurate information at museums and local information boards.