Colorado Construction Defect Litigation
The environmental conditions in Colorado often create unique legal problems involving construction defects and real property law. At the Littleton law firm of Harmon S. Graves, P.C., we have helped businesses and individual property owners throughout the region resolve complex legal problems for over 50 years. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.
Construction Defect Action Reform Act
If you have a construction defect dispute, you need an attorney well versed in Colorado real estate and construction law, especially the Construction Defect Action Reform Act (CDARA). The CDARA covers all aspects of commercial and residential construction, including design, landscaping, digging, roofing and building. At the offices of Harmon S. Graves, we have advocated for clients in construction defect litigation and other construction law disputes since before the reform law was enacted. We understand the law’s provisions and the history behind the legislation.
We advise clients in matters related to:
- Architectural plans
- Design defects
- Builders’ warranty
- Home builders’ industry standards
- Expansive soils
Time Limits. If you file a claim under the CDARA, there are time limits within which a lawsuit or demand for arbitration must be filed. These are commonly referred to as the “two-year statute of limitations” (CRS 13-80-102) and the “statute of repose” (CRS 13-80-104(1)(a)). Under the two-year statute, a claimant must bring an action within two years of the time he discovers, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the manifestations of defects in the improvements which have caused the damage. Under the statute of repose, an absolute bar to bringing an action first arises within six years of substantial completion of the improvements unless the manifestation of a defect first occurs during the fifth or sixth year after substantial completion. In that event, the entitlement to bring an action may be extended beyond the sixth year, but not later than eight years from substantial completion. Given the complexity of these issues, you should seek legal representation as soon as a construction defect is discovered.
Definition of Defect. A “defect” in the construction context has been defined as an irregularity in the surface of a structure that spoils the appearance or causes weakness or failure. It is important to note when a defect first manifests itself since that date will trigger the applicable limitations period under CDARA.
Relief From Some Onerous Contract Provisions. The Homeowner Protection Act of 2007 provides relief from some onerous contract provisions which purport to limit rights of a residential property owner or homeowners association to enforce remedies or damages under CDARA. It is important to note, however, that the Act does not bar limitations contained in residential contract warranties.
Is Insurance Coverage Available for Construction Defects? When construction defects surface, the homeowner seeks redress from the contractor and the contractor looks to the subcontractor that incompetently performed the work. All too often the responsible party is financially unable to respond and the responsible party’s insurance carrier denies insurance coverage needed for repair of the negligently performed work. There are some exceptions to this frustrating scenario, the details of which are discussed in Graves, Sandgrund & Tuft, Shoddy Work, Negligent Construction, and Reconciling the Irreconcilable Under CGL Policies, 38 The Colorado Lawyer 43 (Nov. 2009), a comprehensive article on the subject.
With the passage of CRS § 13-20-808, effective May 21, 2010, CGL policies in existence on that date, and those issued thereafter, will be interpreted with the aid of an evidentiary presumption and interpretive rules that should lead to greater coverage.
Residential Roofs. Some additional protection against unscrupulous roofing contractors is provided to residential property owners through Senate Bill 12-038, approved by the governor on June 6, 2012.
A contractor for roofing services must provide a written contract stating: (1) scope of work, (2) approximate dates services are to be performed, (3) approximate costs of the services based on damages then known, (4) contractor’s contact information, (5) identification of contractor’s surety and liability coverage insurer, and, importantly, (6) a provision allowing the property owner to rescind the contract, with full refund of any deposit, within 72 hours after signing the contract, and (7) if during the 72-hour period, materials have been incorporated into the property in a workmanlike manner, the contractor may retain an amount of any deposit required to compensate for work actually performed. Contracts calling for compensation of $1,000 or less are exempt from these provisions.
The contractor is prohibited from offering to pay, waive or rebate any portion of any insurance deductible when payment for roofing services is to be made from proceeds of casualty insurance.
Put experience to work for you
When you have a construction defect problem in Colorado, you need experienced legal counsel to protect your interests. At the law offices of Harmon S. Graves, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience advocating for clients with construction defect concerns. Contact our office to arrange for your complimentary 30 minute consultation.