Statutes of limitations and repose in construction law

On Behalf of Dunlap Fiore, LLC |

The construction and real estate businesses are inherently risky. Developers, builders and the many other parties involved in a medium- or large-sized construction project must spend large amounts of money on materials, labor and other costs, and they often must do all this on credit. Any legal dispute can mean serious financial problems.

Some of the trickiest construction disputes involve accusations of construction defects. Many defects are not discovered until construction is completed and tenants are already in the building. At that point, making repairs is enormously expensive.

Louisiana law has many provisions governing construction disputes. For example, the statute of limitations is set at one year for torts, such as when a construction project causes harm to another party. The statute is set at 10 years for contract disputes. For example, if a commercial real estate developer discovers a defect and feels that the construction firm breached its contract, the developer must file suit within 10 years of the discovery.

In addition to the statute of limitations, Louisiana also sets a statute of repose on certain types construction law disputes. Under these provisions, there is an outer limit after which parties cannot file suit against builders, architects and other professionals, even if they do not discover the defect before the statute of repose expires.

In the example of the commercial real estate developer noted above, the developer would be limited not only to 10 years from the discovery of the defect, but would also have a limit of 10 years in which to discover the defect. In other words, if the building is 11 years old before the developer discovers the defect, the developer may be barred by the statute of repose from filing suit.

Legal disputes over construction defects can involve contract law, torts and other practice areas. It’s important to have help from a lawyer with experience in construction law.