We’ve probably all seen movies or TV shows with a courtroom scene featuring an expert witness. Dozens of blockbuster legal novels hinge on the drama of an expert witness’s testimony, as well. But how many of us really know what an expert witness is?
The definition of ‘expert witness’ provided at Wikipedia reads,
“[A] person whose opinion by virtue of education, training, certification, skills or experience, is accepted by the judge as an expert. The judge may consider the witness’s specialized (scientific, technical or other) opinion about evidence or about facts before the court within the expert’s area of expertise, to be referred to as an “expert opinion”.”
When it comes to a construction expert witness, this description is certainly applicable. Another definition from a somewhat more scholarly source, states that,
“Essentially, expert evidence is opinion evidence or, the opinion of the expert. The primary function of the expert witness is to assist the court in reaching its decision by providing independent expert/technical analysis and opinion on an issue(s), based on the information provided by those instructing him.”
With that in mind, we would say that a “Construction Expert Witness” is an expert construction consultant who offers expert witness services to assist their retaining attorneys with professional evaluations and the provision of testimonies.
What Does a Construction Expert Witness Do?
Expert witnesses are most often retained by attorneys. In the case of construction expert witnesses, their primary service is to provide the construction expertise required to help the attorney get the best possible results for their clients.
Common services provided by these specialized consultants include diagnosing code violations, determining the cause of construction defects, performing various types of cost analysis and determining whether plans were followed properly. And, of course, the consultant can then testify as an expert witness in court.
Because of the complexity of large-scale construction projects, these experts may be called upon to consult on a wide variety of issues that involve construction maintenance, defects, and management. In addition, many construction experts are able to testify on construction disputes, forensic construction investigations, and other related issues.
One source points out that,
c“A construction expert has extensive knowledge and expertise of the construction industry. This includes all aspects of construction accidents and construction injury. Their testimony helps to inform the trier of fact on issues related to construction law…”
Residential and Commercial Construction: Similar Needs for Expert Testimony
Obviously, there is a world of difference between the construction of a multi-story condominium and a 2,000 square foot house. But both projects can run into similar issues, albeit on different scales.
Residential construction experts typically deal with safety-related issues often related to construction lawsuits over building defects. A common scenario is when a construction defect or similar issue is noted during a site inspection and the proper repairs are not made.
By failing to repair or correct the issue, the contractor has knowingly or unwittingly committed a safety violation that can be a basis for liability and possible litigation. When this happens, attorneys are involved and, in the case of a dispute over liability or fault, the services of an expert witness specializing in residential construction can be required.
A construction consultant can with attorneys in many other ways, as well. For example, a consultant can determine if a client’s building is up to code and provide the information an attorney may need to decide how to proceed with a case.
An expert consultant can also research the history of a property’s legal documentation to determine if permits were properly filed or advise an attorney as to whether a building’s maintenance was completed up to industry standard.
In addition, a construction expert can inspect for issues such as water damage and determine whether an owner or a contractor is responsible for it. In addition, the consultant can identify if a leak in a condominium is the responsibility of a condominium association or condominium owner.
When You Need a Construction Expert Witness
Martin Espinosa has more than 45 years of experience as a licensed general contractor, which has prepared him for his role as an expert witness and unexpected questions and cross examination that expert witnesses are subject to.
During those years, Martin built, installed, repaired, dismantled, demolished, inspected, and budgeted every possible element of residential and light commercial construction.
He is able to identify what a client needs in most construction matters and efficiently diagnose and analyze construction-related issues. In the role of a consultant, an expert witness, or both, Martin can help make the difference when it comes to obtaining a successful outcome for an attorney’s client.
One of the major questions facing attorneys and their clients is the presence of construction defects. Water intrusion is a major construction defect that is addressed legally.
Your Expert for Your Construction Needs
Whether you’re a contractor about to build a home, or a homeowner looking to build their own home or an addition, or simply remodel an area of their home, construction consulting can be a huge benefit.
A construction consultant can help in all aspects of a project. This can be especially beneficial if you’re not already experienced in the project that you’re engaging in.
As an experienced construction consultant, I can guide you in all the phases of your project and answer your questions. To learn more, email me at email@example.com or give me a call at (707) 865-5157.