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Construction Law Tips

Insurance Coverage

The group has particular experience advising construction clients on insurance coverage issues. Coverage under most standard commercial general liability (CGL) policies issued to general contractors and subcontractors is triggered by an accident that occurs during the policy period and after the work of the insured is completed.

Exclusions

Most policies exclude coverage for your work. For example, the work of a subcontractor is not covered under the typical CGL policy unless that work causes some consequential damage to the subject building.

Faulty Construction

In a typical faulty construction case, it is difficult to establish

  1. when an accident occurred to determine
  2. whether damage caused by an insured is covered by a CGL policy

Progressive damage

Damage caused by faulty construction is typically progressive (e.g., there is no single injury-causing event; instead, the damage occurs continuously after the faulty construction is in place).

In South Carolina, where damage is progressive, coverage is triggered under all CGL policies in place from the time the damage began and continuously thereafter.

South Carolina has adopted a “time on risk” analysis to determine each insurer’s respective exposure on claims subject to the “continuous trigger” applicable to most construction defect claims.

Time Constraints

Most plaintiffs in faulty construction cases pursue their claims under such theories as breach of contract, breach of various warranties, and negligent construction. It is vital to be aware of the three-year statute of limitations for these claims under South Carolina law.