Construction Defect Laws by State

Embarking on a construction project is no small feat. While the end product can often be even better than what you envisioned, construction projects are notorious for their delays, unexpected obstacles, and even defects in the final product. If you’ve run into issues with your construction project, it’s important to become familiar with the construction defect laws that apply to your particular situation.

Time Limits in Construction Defect Law

Each state has its own laws for governing the process of resolving disputes between project owners and the professionals responsible for the work, such as architects, designers, contractors, and subcontractors. Claims against these individuals can be based on many different types of theories, including contract disputes, tort claims, and breach of warranty. And the type of claim you bring will often determine the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit, a deadline known as the ‘statute of limitations.’ A typical statute of limitations will say that you have a certain number of years to file a lawsuit after you discover, or should have discovered, the defect.

To further limit the amount of time that these construction professionals can be held liable for defects, states also have outer limits that prevent you from filing a lawsuit after a certain number of years, even if you haven’t discovered the defect yet. This is called the ‘statute of repose.’ For example, the statute of limitations might give you four years to file a claim after you discover the defect. But if your state’s statute of repose is seven years from the time the construction is completed, and you don’t discover the defect until the fifth year, you only have two years to file your claim.

Construction Defect Law and the ‘Right to Cure’

In addition to the often-confusing time limits that apply in construction defect law, some states also have ‘right to cure’ statutes. These laws say that before filing a lawsuit, a project owner, such as a homeowner, must first notify the construction professional of the alleged defects and allow them the opportunity to repair the defect, or pay you for the problem. This process varies from state to state, and one of the key differences is the amount of time you have to wait after notifying the professional before you can proceed with a lawsuit.

The table below lists the key statutes of limitations, statute of repose, and right to cure laws for each of the states, though it’s best to consult a construction defect law attorney since there many exceptions that could apply to your case.

 

Statute of Limitations

Statute of Repose

Right to Cure

State Statutes

Alabama

2 years from discovery

7 years after substantial completion

No

§6-5-221; 6-5-218

Alaska

3 years for contracts

2 years for torts

10 years after substantial completion

Yes: Notify professional within 1 year of discovery and at least 90 days before filing lawsuit.

§09.10.053 et seq.; 09.10.055; 09.45.881 et seq.

Arizona

6 years for contracts
3 years for fraud
2 years for torts

8 years (9 years for defects discovered in 8th year)

Yes: Notify professional before filing suit and give opportunity to inspect and repair

§12-548; 12-542 et seq.; 12-552; 12-1361 et seq.

Arkansas

5 years for contracts
3 years for torts

4 years after substantial completion (5 years for property damage)

No

§16-56-111; 16-56-105; 16-56-112

California

4 years for contracts
2 years for personal injury
3 years for property damage

4 years after substantial completion
10 years for latent defects

Yes: Notify professional before filing suit and give opportunity to inspect and repair

337 et seq.; 895 et seq.; 910 et seq.

Colorado

3 years for contracts
2 years for torts

6 years (with a 2-year extension if defect discovered in 5th or 6th year)

Yes: notify professional 75 days before filing action (90 days for commercial properties); allow inspection and offer of payment or repair

§13-80-101 et seq.; 13-80-104; 13-20-801 et seq.

Connecticut

6 years for contracts
3 years for torts
2 years for negligence

7 years (with 1 year extension if defect discovered in 7th year)

No

§52-576 et seq.; 52-584; 52-584a

Delaware

3 years for contracts
2 years for torts

6 years (from earliest of various dates specified in the statute)

No

§10.8106 et seq.; 10.8119; 10.8127

District of Columbia

3 years for contracts and torts

10 years after substantial completion

No

§12-301; 12-310

Florida

4 years for construction defect claims

10 years (from latest of various dates listed in statute)

Yes: Notify professional 60 days before filing suit, and allow offer of payment or repair

§95.11; 558.001 et seq.

Georgia

6 years for contracts
2 years for personal injury
4 years for damage to property

8 years (may be extended 2 years for injuries occurring in 7th or 8th year)

No

§9-3-24; 9-3-33; 9-3-32; 9-3-51

Hawaii

6 years for contracts
2 years for torts

10 years after date of completion, but 2 years after cause of action accrues

Yes: Notify contractor at least 90 days before filing action, and allow inspection and offer to repair or pay. If unable to agree, parties must try mediation.

§657-1; 657-7; 657-8; 672E-1 et seq.

Idaho

5 years for contracts
2 years for personal injury
3 years for injury to property

Tort actions must be brought within 6 years after final completion of project

Yes: Notify professional before filing lawsuit, and follow timeline in statute.

§5-216; 5-219; 5-218; 5-241; 6-2501 et seq.

Illinois

4 years for construction defect based on contract or tort

10 years (with 4-year extension for issues discovered within the 10 years)

No

§5/13-214

Indiana

10 for contracts
2 years for torts

10 years, or 12 years after submission of plans for design defect action; 2-year extension for injury occurring in 9th or 10th year

Yes: Notify professional at least 60 days before filing action.

§34-11-2-11; 34-11-2-4; 32-30-1-6; 32-27-3-1 et seq.

Iowa

10 years for contracts
2 years for personal injury
5 years for property damage

15 years for tort and implied warranty claims

No

§614.1(5), (2), (4), (11)

Kansas

5 years for contracts
2 years for torts

10 years for tort cases

Yes: Notify contractor before filing lawsuit, and follow timeline in statute. Does not apply to claims for personal injury or death, or where defect makes dwelling uninhabitable.

§60-511; 60-513; 60-4701 et seq.

Kentucky

10 years for contracts
1 year for personal injury
2 years for property damage

7 years after substantial completion (may be extended to 8 years for injuries to person or property that occur in 7th year)

Yes: Notify professional of construction defects before filing suit

§413.160; 413.140; 413.125; 413.135; 411.250 et seq.

Louisiana

10 years for contracts
1 year for torts

5 years for contract, tort, or otherwise (may be extended to 6 for injuries in 5th year);
10 years for actions against contractors or architects

No

§3499; 3492; 3500; 2772

Maine

20 years for contracts
6 years for torts

Action must be brought 4 years from discovery of negligence, but no more than 10 years from substantial completion of construction contract

No

§751; 752; 752-A

Maryland

3 years for contracts and torts

20 years for improvements to real property (from date improvement became available)
No cause of action for claims against professional for injuries occurring more than 10 years after improvement

No

§5-101; 5-108

Massachusetts

6 years for contracts
3 years for torts

6 years after the earlier different dates listed in the statute

No

§260, 2 et seq.; 260, 2B

Michigan

6 years for contracts
3 years for torts
1 year for injury resulting from gross negligence

6 years after occupancy, use, or acceptance of improvement; 10 years for gross negligence claims

No

§600.5807; 600.5805; 600.5839

Minnesota

2 years from discovery of injury for contracts or torts

10 years after substantial completion (may be extended up to 2 years for defect occurring in 9th or 10th year)

No

§541.051

Mississippi

3 years for contracts and torts

6 years from written acceptance or actual occupancy or use, whichever is first

No

§15-1-49; 15-1-41

Missouri

5 years for contracts and torts

10 years from completion

Yes: Notify contractor of defects and allow contractor to make an offer to remedy the claim before filing lawsuit

§516.120; 516.097; 436.356

Montana

8 years for contracts
3 years for personal injury
2 years for property damage

10 years from completion (with 1 year extension for injuries occurring in 10th year); does not apply to actions based on written contract

Yes: For residential construction disputes, notify construction professional of defect and allow offer of remedy before filing lawsuit

§27-2-202; 27-2-204; 27-2-207; 27-2-208; 70-19-427

Nebraska

5 years for contracts
4 years for torts and for breach of warranty or design defect
2 years for professional negligence

10 years after the act giving rise to the cause of action

No

§25-205; 25-207; 25-222 et seq.

Nevada

6 years for contracts
2 years for personal injury
3 years for property damage

6 years after substantial completion

Yes: Must notify professional of defects and allow inspection and opportunity to repair, and must submit claim under any homeowner’s warranty before pursuing a lawsuit

11.190; 11.202 et seq.; 40.640 et seq.

New Hampshire

3 years for contracts and torts

8 years from substantial completion for injuries to person or property, or for economic loss

Yes: Notify contractor at least 60 days before filing action

§508:4; 508:4-b; 359-G:4

New Jersey

6 years for contracts and property damage
2 years for personal injury

10 years after performance or furnishing of services and construction

No

2A §14-1; 2A §14-2; 2A §14-1.1

New Mexico

6 years for contracts
3 years for personal injury
4 years for property damage

10 years from substantial completion

No

§37-1-3; 37-1-8; 37-1-4; 37-1-27

New York

6 years for contracts
3 years for torts

No statute of repose

No (but 90-day notice required for claims against certain professionals where the events giving rise to the cause of action occurred more than 10 years earlier)

§213; 214; 214-d

North Carolina

3 years for contracts and torts

6 years from later of substantial completion or last act or omission giving rise to cause of action

No

§1-52; 1-50

North Dakota

6 years for contracts and torts

10 years after substantial completion (may be extended to 12 years for injuries occurring in 10th year)

No

§28-01-16; 28-01-44

Ohio

8 years for contracts
2 years for torts

10 years from substantial completion (with 2-year extension for defects discovered less than 2 years before 10-year deadline)

Yes: For residential buildings and contractors, must notify contractor of defects at least 60 days before filing action

§2305.06; 2305.10; 2305.131; 1312.01 et seq.

Oklahoma

5 years for contracts
2 years for torts

10 years after substantial completion

No

Tit. 12 §95, 109

Oregon

6 years for contracts and property damage
2 years for personal injury

10 years after substantial completion (6 years for certain large commercial structures)

Yes: For residential construction defects, must notify professional before filing lawsuit or compelling arbitration, and must allow for inspection and an offer to remedy

§12.080; 12.110; 12.135; 707.560 et seq.

Pennsylvania

4 years for contracts
2 years for torts

12 years after completion (may be extended to 14 years for injuries occurring between 10th and 12th years)

No

§5525; 5524; 5536

Rhode Island

10 or 20 years for contracts
3 years for personal injury
10 years for property damage

10 years after substantial completion for tort actions

No

§9-1-13; 9-1-17; 9-1-14; 9-1-29

South Carolina

3 or 10 years for contracts
3 years for torts

8 years after substantial completion

Yes: Notify contractor at least 90 days before filing action and allow for inspection and offer to remedy defects

§15-3-520, 530, & 640; 40-59-810 et seq.

South Dakota

6 years for contracts and property damage
3 years for personal injury

10 years after substantial completion (may be extended to 11 years for injuries occurring during 10th year)

Yes: For residential construction defects, must notify profession at least 30 days before commencing action

§15-2-13; 15-2-14; 15-2A-3; 15-2A-5; 21-1-16

Tennessee

6 years for contracts
1 year for personal injury
3 years for property damage

4 years after substantial completion (may be extended to 5 years for injuries occurring during 4th year)

Yes: Notify professional before filing lawsuit, and allow for inspection and offer to remedy

§28-3-109; 28-3-104; 28-3-105; 28-3-201 et seq.; 66-36-101 et seq.

Texas

4 years for contracts
2 years for torts

10 years after substantial completion (may be extended 2 years for injuries occurring in 10th year)

Yes: For residential construction defects, notify professional at least 60 days before filing lawsuit, and allow inspection and offer to remedy

§16.004; 16.003; 16.008 et seq.; 27.001 et seq.

Utah

6 years for contracts
4 years for personal injury
3 years for property damage

6 years for contracts and warranty claims;
9 years for all others (may be extended for 2 years for causes of action discovered in 8th or 9th years)

No

§78B-2-309; 78B-2-307; 78B-2-305; 78B-2-225

Vermont

6 years for contracts
3 years for torts

Civil actions in general must be commenced within 6 years after cause of action accrues

No

Tit. 12 §511; Tit. 12 §512

Virginia

5 years for contracts and property damage
2 years for personal injury

5 years after performance or furnishing of services and construction

No

§8.01-246; 8.01-243; 8.01-250

Washington

6 years for contracts
3 years for torts

6 years after later of substantial completion or termination of services

Yes: Notify construction professional at least 45 days before filing action

§4.16.040; 4.16.080; 4.16.300 et seq.; 64.50.005 et seq.

West Virginia

5 or 10 years for contracts
2 years for torts

10 years after performance or furnishing of services or construction

Yes: Notify professional at least 90 days before filing action

§55-2-6; 55-2-12; 55-2-6a; 21-11A-8

Wisconsin

6 years for contracts and property damage
3 years for personal injury

10 years after substantial completion (may be extended 3 years for damages sustained in 8th, 9th, or 10th years)

Yes: Notify contractor of defects at least 90 days before filing action, and allow for inspection and offer to remedy defects

§893.43; 893.52; 893.54; 893.89; 895.07

Wyoming

10 years for contracts
4 years for torts

10 years from substantial completion (may be extended 1 year for injuries occurring in 9th year)

No

§1-3-105; 1-3-111

Get Help Navigating Your State’s Construction Defect Laws

While the statutes above give a general sense of the construction defect laws in each state, there are many exceptions, requirements, and qualifications that may apply to your particular case. The way that state courts interpret statutes and the types of injuries or claims you’re dealing with all affect the rules for pursuing a construction defect claim. And of course, the laws are always changing to either strengthen protections for project owners, or limit the liability of construction professionals. Learn more about the requirements in your state by speaking with a local, experienced construction defect lawyer.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified real estate attorney to help protect you from the costs and frustration of construction defects

Help Me Find a Do-It-Yourself Solution