Construction Defect Litigation: The Statutes of Limitations & Repose
To limit and control construction defect litigation, the Colorado state legislature has enacted provisions through the Statutes of Limitation and Repose that address the timeliness of construction defect suits.
Colorado’s Statues of Limitation and Repose apply to all construction defect claims against the construction industry. This includes developers, general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, engineers, architects, inspectors, and other construction professionals.
The Statute of Limitations vs. The Statute of Repose
Colorado claimants intending to file a construction defect lawsuit against a construction professional must do so within specified timeframes outlined in the “Statute of Limitations” and the “Statute of Repose.”
The Colorado Statute of Limitations
The Statute of Limitations sets a specific time period in which a suit must be filed. The Colorado Statute of Limitations for construction defects claims, C.R.S § 13-80-104, requires that a claim for construction defects be filed within two years after the defect “manifests,” meaning were or should have been noticed by a homeowner or a homeowners association authorized agents (property manager, board members, etc.) in their capacity of agent. The claim must be initiated against the potentially responsible construction professionals before the two-year deadline has run out.
The Colorado Statute of Repose
Colorado also imposes a “Statute of Repose,” which is a deadline that can expire even if construction defects have not yet manifested. While the clock on a statute of limitations begins to tick upon the manifestation of the defect, the statute of repose begins upon “substantial completion” of the “improvement to real property.” C.R.S. § 13-80-104(1)(a).
The purpose of a statute of repose is to establish an unconditional limit for when a claim can be filed. A homeowner or association may not successfully pursue a construction defect claim if this deadline has expired. After this period, the claimant loses their right to take legal action.
In Colorado, the statute of repose is six years but can be extended to eight years if specific conditions apply. Note: Colorado’s Statute of Repose requires suits to be filed within 6 years of substantial project completion, however, if the defect first appears in Year 5 or 6 after substantial completion, an extension of 2 years is allowed.
As long as a defect first manifests within the six-year repose period, the homeowner or association has two years to pursue claims for that defect. However, once a defect first manifests, the homeowner or association may only have two years to pursue their claims. Thus, if a defect first manifests one year after substantial completion, the homeowner or association only has two years from that date, or until three years after substantial completion, to pursue claims for that particular defect.
Tolling of the Statutes of Limitations and Repose
In a future blog post, we will discuss aspects of Colorado law that “toll,” or stall, the statutes of limitations and/or repose under certain circumstances. Because of this tolling, never assume you can no longer pursue claims until you have an attorney fully analyze all of the facts.
Colorado construction defect lawsuits continue to rise, and unfortunately, there is often a lack of judicial clarity over construction defect legislation. There can be a significant amount of ambiguity in these kinds of cases and the facts must be interpreted on a case-by-case basis. Due to the complexity of these matters, it is in the best interests of all homeowners and associations who may have construction defect issues to consult with an attorney is who is highly experienced in construction-defect litigation.
Burg Simpson Analyzes Construction Defects
The Burg Simpson construction defect team offers a free consultation to discuss your legal matter. If the firm decides to accept your case, your legal team will thoroughly analyze and examine your case to determine if it is indeed a construction defect matter.