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Construction Defects

In Arizona there is no specific legal definition for “Construction Defects.” Construction Defects are commonly known as a deficiency in the design or construction of a building or structure resulting from a failure to design or construct in a reasonably workmanlike manner, and/or in accordance with a buyer’s reasonable expectation. Arizona case law interprets the Revised Statutes to require buildings to be constructed in a reasonably workmanlike manner, and to perform as the purchaser reasonably expected.

Construction defects generally arise from deficiencies in the installation of or products applied to roofing, stucco, foundations, windows, and carpentry. The majority of construction defect cases involve some form of damage caused by water intrusion. The most dangerous defects have the capacity to fail, resulting in physical injury or damage to people or property. However, many defects present no increased risk of injury or damage to other property but nevertheless cause harm to the property owner in the form of loss of use, diminution in value, and extra expenses incurred while defects are corrected. This latter type of defect is often referred to as a “passive defect.”

Typical Construction Defects plaintiffs include homeowner associations, individual homeowners and entire classes of injured consumers (i.e., class action lawsuits). In Arizona, homeowners are also permitted to file complaints against licensed contractors pursuant to A.R.S. § 32-1154. The Residential Contractor’s Recovery Fund provides a source for plaintiffs to enforce their judgments against licensed Arizona contractors (A.R.S. § 32-1132) in amounts up to $20,000. In order to obtain a contractor’s license, subcontractors must pay into this fund.

Generally speaking, the damages recoverable by plaintiffs in Arizona include: recovery for the lesser of the cost of repair or loss in market value, loss of use, and investigative costs. Attorney fees, expert fees and costs may also be received pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-1364.

Typical defendants include developers, builders, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, and design professionals.

Arizona has an eight year Statute of Repose – a plaintiff must file a lawsuit against a contractor for Construction Defects within eight (8) years of “substantial completion” of a building. If the defect has caused damage during the 8th year after substantial completion, however, an action may be brought within one year after the date in which the damage occurred, but no more than nine years after substantial completion of the home. Breach of contract claims generally have a six (6) year statute of limitations (subject to the discovery rule). Arizona does not allow for a claim for strict liability stemming from Construction Defects. In addition, Arizona has unique discovery requirements for construction defect lawsuits that are not found in other states.

If you have questions regarding Construction Defects or are a developer in need of defense or a consumer with a claim, call the attorneys at Lancer Law at (520) 352-0008 or [email protected]. Mention this web page for a FREE CONSULTATION.

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