Known as construction defects, if they are detected at an early stage they can usually be remedied during the construction phase. If, on the other hand, a construction defect does not become apparent as such until after acceptance of the completed work, the owners can make use of the five-year warranty to which they are entitled under Section 438 of the German Civil Code.
In the event of a claim, the responsible company is obliged to make good the construction defect at its own expense or pay compensation which enables the owners to hire qualified specialist companies to carry out the remedial work. If, in the course of the remedial work, work by another trade that has been carried out to a standard completely free of defects has to be removed and then carried out again, this must not result in any additional costs for the owners. For this reason, quality assurance in construction provided by an independent expert is not only a key quality management measure in project development, but also ensures robust buyer protection in real estate transactions.
In order to prevent subsequent work carried out by other trades from concealing any potential construction defects – for example, in the case of damage to a wall that could be concealed by the interior finishing work – quality assurance in construction usually includes not only regular spot checks at the construction site but also a more comprehensive inspection after completion of each construction phase. In addition, as part of quality assurance in construction, experts usually accompany the building owner during the final inspection prior to acceptance of the completed building.
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Cf. Civil Code Section 438 Limitation of claims for defects. The complete and current text of the law can be found on “Gesetze im Internet“, an official website of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.