Developers, contractors welcome narrowing of construction defect claims

Many observers have long noticed the detrimental effects on commerce of excessive regulation. Developers and general contractors have seen this across much of the Mid-Atlantic where often well-meaning lawmakers have come up with regulations and statutes that often had the effect of depressing the creation of needed housing.

It appears that lawmakers in Washington state have noticed this phenomenon and have taken steps to address it. A Washington publication reported that a bill that was recently approved will “reverse a decades-old trend that has left Seattle practically condo-free.” It is expected that the legislation will help to stem the tide of construction defect litigation that convinced developers and contractors to forgo condominium projects there.

A so-called consumer protection bill had enabled homeowner associations to sue developers and contractors over vague complaints about “workman construction” and “sound engineering.” The new legislation removes some of the ambiguity with definitions that will help make the limits of warrantees clearer to homeowners and those in the building industry.

“The current condo defect laws are so onerous, that many developers have focused exclusively on apartment construction over the past several years,” said a real estate executive. “By better defining warrantable defects and providing explicit protection for HOA board members from frivolous lawsuits, it will inevitably spur condo development.”

Other advocates of the changes to the law say it will help Seattle, Bellevue and other cities increasing available affordable housing units without using up a decreasing supply of land.

Developers, general contractors, subcontractors and other construction professionals across the Mid-Atlantic would likely welcome similar alterations to burdensome regulations. 

Leave a Comment