Arizona law recognizes several different claims for construction defects. Construction defects can lower the price of your real property, or result in injury in some cases. You have several options to choose from to have your construction defect corrected, or to be compensated for the defect.
Claims Available for Construction Defects
Some possible claims related to construction defects are:
- Breach of contract
- Breach of implied warranties of habitability and workmanship
- Breach of express warranties
- Express or implied indemnity
Each claim will have its own requirements and statute of limitations.
For a breach of contract claim, you must show that the builder did not create the structure as agreed. The construction contractand any amendments must clearly show what was required of the builder. If the builder used the wrong materials, or did not complete the work according to specifications, you may be able to demonstrate a breach by the builder.
A.R.S § 12-548 provides a six-year statute of limitations for breach of contract claims. Other claims ariseing out of the contract, including breach of warranty claims, will also be covered by the six-year statute of limitations. This is only applicable if the contract was in writing. If it was a verbal contract, A.R.S. § 12-543 will likely apply and provide a shorter, three year limitation period.
If the defect was not readily discoverable until after the expiration of the statute of limitations, the deadline may be extended. However, A.R.S. § 12-552 sets a limitation period that applies regardless of a late discovery of the defect. The period will be eight or nine years, depending on the circumstances.
A.R.S. § 12-542, on the other hand, provides for a two-year statute of limitations for negligence claims. The typical requirements of negligence —including a duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages —must be shown. However, negligence claims for construction defect claims are difficult to win unless the defect results in physical harm or damage to personal property. If the defect merely reduces the real property’s value, the remedy may need to be in other claims.
If you do not wish to pursue litigation for a construction defect claim, and simply want the defect corrected, you can notify the Arizona Registrar of Contractors of your issue. Filing this complaint will cause a state inspector to examine the issue. The inspector can issue a corrective work order to have the defect fixed, without requiring you to go to court. However, the Registrar will also impose various time limits, so a claimant should not delay.
Chernoff Law handles construction disputes, including construction defect and workmanship disputes. Call us at 480-719-7307 to discuss your case with one of our construction lawyers.