Poor Workmanship

The housing shortage in Colorado is exacerbated by a significant lack of skilled tradespeople in the construction industry. Consequently, construction projects are frequently rushed, leading to corners being cut and resulting in poor workmanship and various construction defects. The Colorado Attorney General recently highlighted that home services and repairs rank as the second most common consumer complaint in the state, underscoring the prevalence of these issues.

For many, purchasing a new home is the largest investment of their lives. Discovering that your new home has construction defects can be both overwhelming and distressing. In such cases, consulting with an experienced Denver construction defect lawyer is crucial. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you navigate Colorado construction defect law and provide guidance on your legal options. Below is an overview of construction defects and the relevant laws that a qualified lawyer can assist you with:

Types of Construction Defects

A "construction defect" refers to any condition in a property that fails to meet generally accepted standards in the construction industry. These standards are often defined by the construction contract or local building codes, which are typically modeled on the International Building Code. In Colorado, construction defects are categorized into two types: "patent" and "latent."

Patent Construction Defects: These defects are easily identifiable by a trained professional during a site inspection. Examples include:

  • Large cracks in the foundation

  • Prematurely aging roofs

  • Faulty plumbing or electrical work

  • Building code violations

Latent Construction Defects: These defects may exist during construction but are not discovered until after the project is completed, sometimes taking years to manifest. Examples include:

  • Building subsidence (sinking)

  • Ineffective waterproofing

  • Understrength structural components such as joists, I-beams, and roof trusses

Common Construction Defects in Colorado

As a Colorado construction defect attorney, I have encountered various defects in new home construction and renovations. Common issues include:

  • Expansive Soils: High concentrations of expansive soils in Colorado, particularly around Denver, can cause building subsidence. This can damage foundations, cause slab movement, and lead to cracked stucco, drywall, and other structural issues.

  • Roofing: Common defects include improper sealing of penetrations and transitions and inadequate roof slope, leading to water pooling and leaks.

  • Windows and Doors: Poor sealing around jambs and trim can allow water, drafts, and pests to enter the home.

  • Balconies and Decks: Design or installation flaws, including inadequate slope, can direct water towards the structure, causing damage.

  • Grading and Drainage: Improper slope directing water towards the home can cause leaks, mold, and foundation problems.

Colorado Construction Defect Law

The Colorado Construction Action Defect Reform Act (CDARA), codified at C.R.S. § 13-20-801, has governed construction defect litigation and arbitration in Colorado for over 20 years. Here’s a summary of how CDARA applies to construction defect claims:

Who is a "Construction Professional"?

CDARA covers all actions against individuals or entities involved in the design, supervision, inspection, or construction of any improvement to real property. This includes architects, contractors, subcontractors, developers, builders, engineers, and inspectors.

Notice of Claims Process

Homeowners must provide a Notice of Claim (NOC) to the construction professional at least 75 days (95 days for commercial property) before filing a lawsuit. The NOC process allows for inspection and the possibility of settlement or repair offers before litigation.

Statute of Limitations and Repose

Construction defect claims must be filed within two years after the defect is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. The statute of repose sets an outer limit of six years (extendable to eight years) from the substantial completion of the construction project.

Initial List of Construction Defects

Claimants must file an initial list of alleged defects, which can be amended as new defects are discovered. The NOC process must be followed for each new defect.

Limitation on Claims and Damages

CDARA limits certain claims and specifies that damages are capped at the lesser of the property's fair market value without the defect, the replacement cost, or the repair cost, plus related costs. Additional damages may be available under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act for bad faith conduct by construction professionals.

How a Colorado Construction Defect Lawyer Can Help

Navigating CDARA and the construction defect lawsuit process can be complex and time-consuming. A qualified construction defect lawyer can help you understand your situation, guide you through the legal requirements, and work towards an effective resolution of your claim. If you have discovered construction defects in your property, consider scheduling a free consultation with a Colorado construction defect lawyer to discuss your legal options.