Can Construction Defects (and related litigation) be eliminated?

The short answer: No.

My latest article for Retail Design & Construction Today, Defects in construction are inevitable, is now live. Here is an excerpt:

In software, every project is different. And while some processes can be automated, humans are responsible for the bulk of the work. Want to know a secret? No software is completely free of defects, or bugs as they are also known. The most successful software development companies put equal importance on adding new features and functions, as they do to resolving defects. So rather than denying the existence (or even the possibility) of defects, competent developers anticipate defects and deal with them accordingly. In fact, sometimes it is hard to know whether a certain function is a defect or a desired characteristic, leading to the tongue-in-cheek refrain: ‘It’s not bug, it’s a feature!’

Imagine if the construction industry placed equal importance on resolving inevitable defects as it did completing projects. I personally think that this process of maturation is essential if we are going to deliver projects that are more sustainable. Similar to the first step of a 12-step recovery program, we need to admit that we are powerless over the existence of defects and our quality control programs have become unmanageable.

The goal for those of us in the design and construction industry is to strive towards continuous improvement.

This news, also from, doesn’t help the situation:

According to an analysis of federal data by the Associated General Contractors, over the past two years nearly 750,000 experienced workers have either found jobs in other industries, returned to school, retired or otherwise left the workforce.