No matter how tough times get, the business of construction litigation seems to go full steam ahead. Each claim typically has at least one real problem that serves as the mode of discovery for the building owner. However, when this problem is investigated, the investigator (typically a professional engineer or licensed architect) is asked to provide a list of any other issues that may represent deviations from the project plans and specifications, applicable building codes, accepted industry standards, or manufacturer instructions (collectively referred to as contractor's instructions).1 After all, the plaintiff only gets one opportunity to provide a list of alleged defects to which the defendants will respond. This scenario often causes unsuspecting building owners (who may have thought they only had a leaky patio door-the one real problem that initiated the process) to face a myriad of alleged defects that essentially require the building to be reconstructed from the framing out. It has become common for plaintiff reports and their associated repair scopes to require complete removal and replacement of roof coverings, the exterior cladding (e.g., brick veneer, siding, stucco, etc.), windows, doors, balcony waterproofing systems; and even the reconstruction of concrete driveways, patios, and sidewalks. Could the construction of new buildings really be that bad? With so much "wrong" with these buildings, it is surprising that they ever passed inspection or were sold to discriminating buyers and represented as quality construction. The fact is (and anyone who provides an honest evaluation of constructed buildings should agree), many of the alleged defects simply represent deviations from the contractor's instructions. Some deviations actually have a consequence such that a repair is warranted, while many do not. This paper will discuss the first element of a typical construction litigation case, the identification of defects, and will provide commentary based on direct involvement in numerous cases in which the authors have provided expert services to both plaintiffs and defendants. Parts II, III, and IV (to be published in subsequent issues of HBEC Interface) will discuss the expert report, repair scope, and testimony aspects of construction litigation, respectively.