New research involving more than 2,000 construction projects shows the most common causes of defects stem from issues related to weather barriers, framing, mechanical systems, plumbing systems, fire-resistive assemblies and window/door installations.

Adobe Stock / Александр Коновалов

After four years of research and analysis, LJP Construction Services will release new findings at the International Builders Show (IBS) from projects throughout the United States ranging from single-family homes to residential high-rises, office towers, hotels, resorts, and other product types. Common causes of construction issues include deficiencies in field workmanship, misinterpretation of plan details, and deviations from manufacturers’ recommendations, said Don Neff, president of LJP Construction Services.

These analytics have revealed an average deficiency rate of 4% across the United States for all project types. For single-family homes, however, the average deficiency rate is 3% nationally and ranges from 1.6% in California and 1.7% in Nevada to 5% in Florida and 6% in Texas.

The metrics gathered over the past four years on more than 2,000 projects in 26 states include 42,000 inspections of 1.1 million construction assemblies, discovering 47,000 specific deficiencies, including life safety issues.

For single-family homes across the entire United States the most significant deficiency types include exterior weather barriers, structural (wood) framing, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and window/door installations, including preliminary weatherproofing assemblies. For multifamily projects, the average deficiency rate is 6.5% nationally, which is close to California at 5.8%. In Arizona and Nevada, the deficiency rates increase dramatically to 12.7% and 23.1%, respectively. In effect, Arizona has twice the deficiency rate of California for multifamily projects and Nevada has four times the deficiency rate as California.

“Clearly, California has made good progress with process improvements. We attribute this to better and more accurate execution of design, purchasing, construction, and HOA maintenance practices and use of third-party quality assurance,” said Neff. He added that in some regions, the plans are well developed and followed, but there are quality issues with the workmanship.

“Overall, California is doing very well with wood-framed structures, while other sunbelt states need improvement, particularly with multi-family and townhome construction. Weatherproofing assemblies are still the major problem but insulation and fire-resistive assemblies are also poorly executed in the field. In our opinion, builders need to provide more training for their field supervisors and trade partners because the surveys show that many defects are likely from a lack of well-trained trade contractors.”

The research is the result of studying more than one million assemblies through the company’s “CaptureQA” software. The quality assurance app is compatible with the iPad and deployed through the Internet. It combines project images with the associated narrative that provides real estate developers, general contractors and insurance carriers with real-time quality assurance reporting and related deep dive metrics and predictive analytics.