Inspector Liable for Construction Defects

November 14, 2012
CDJ STAFF

When construction rendered a home uninhabitable, a Pennsylvania court found that the inspectors were also liable. Bill Auxer, writing on the Kaplin Stewart blog, discusses the recent Pennsylvania case of Baker v. Reese Bros. Mr. Baker contracted with Reese Bros and Knieriem Construction. And while Mr. Baker did not hire Somerset County Building Inspection, he paid them $4,226.00. Their duties were, according to Mr. Auxer, “to perform plan review of construction documents, inspect construction, and enforce codes and regulations under Pennsylvania law.” When Mr. Baker’s home did not meet building code, he sued both the contractors and the inspectors.

SCBI claimed that Mr. Baker’s suit was barred under the economic loss doctrine, but lost this point at trial. They appealed and the judge in the Commonwealth Court affirmed, noting that as a certified third-party agency under the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, they were required to hold insurance to cover “errors and omission liability.” Still left to be determined are whether the insurance covers Mr. Baker’s claims or if SCBI’s insurance carrier will be defending it.



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