Each state imposes a strict time period in which a building or property owner may bring an action against a contractor, architect, engineer, or other construction professional for a construction defect; referred to as a statute of repose. Statutes of repose vary significantly between states. For example, Tennessee’s statute of repose states that the owner must bring an action against the contractor or other construction professional within four years of the date of substantial completion. However, it is important to note that if the injury occurs in the fourth year, the owner will have an additional year in which to bring an action. No action can be brought after five years. There are two broad exceptions to Tennessee’s period of repose, intentional concealment and fraud.
Tennessee’s statute imposes a shorter time period than many other states. For example, both Florida’s and California’s statute or repose are 10 years. Each state’s statute of repose can have a significant impact on a contractor’s costs, such as insurance and overhead. As a result, it’s important to be aware of each state’s limitations periods.
Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.