This bars actions against architects, engineers, and design professionals after a specified period of time following completion of services or substantial completion of construction.
Architects, Engineers And The Statute Of Repose
The statute of repose bars any action, for an event, after a certain length of time. The exception is if an injury has occurred. The project can be almost completed for this to go into effect. Also, this is sometimes included in the liability policy and sometimes it is in a state’s law.
When Architects and Engineers are involved in the construction of any building project a great deal of responsibility rests on their shoulders. Their plans have to fit all codes and specifications as well as any contract with the project owner. While there are bound to be a number of small errors, as no one is perfect, when there is a major one then it goes into Errors and Omissions. The repose statute places a limitation on the length of time that actions can be taken after an event has occurred.
There is a difference between the statutes of repose and limitations. The repose statute covers liability for a set number of years. The limitations rule sets liability from the time the error or defect is discovered until a suit is filed. However, there can be a constraint on the limitations. In other words, a person could not discover something wrong in a building 30 years down the road and sue the architects and/or engineers.
Over the years many states have tried to enact repose statute laws however, as far as can be determined, these laws have been refuted by higher courts. Determining whether the problem, when there is an injury or other occurrence, is cause from faulty design or from maintenance has been the issue. There have been many arguments that this statute puts the property owner to a disadvantage. Many of the suits that were filed because of construction, installation, design or fabrication, were time-barred. In other words the suit could not be recognized because of this statute.
Many home and business owners feel that this statute is unfair and limits their right for compensation when something is found wrong in construction of property. However, it must be recognized that sometimes an injury or accident does not happen for many years down the road. Architects and engineers cannot be held responsible for the rest of their lives for something they designed or worked on.
A statute of repose can be set for a certain number of years and then there is no recourse for injury or flaws in construction. A statute of limitations, while starting from the time of discovery cannot go on forever, so it is necessary to set a time limit for liability. This is set by state or federal law.