Notice of Claim Process
The Colorado Construction Defect Action Reform Act ("CDARA") imposes a strict notice of claim process. The goal of the legislature was to try to create a process that encouraged resolution of defect claims before the initiation of litigation. They fell short. The notice of claim process resolves few claims. Instead, it creates risk for all involved.
The Notice of Claim.
The CDARA statute defines a "notice of claim" as "a written notice sent by a claimant to the last known address of a construction professional against whom the claimant asserts a defect claim that describes the claim in reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of the defect, including a general description of the type and location of the construction that the claimant alleges to be defective and any damages claimed to have been caused by the defect." This is a relatively broad definition.
The notice of claim must be submitted no later than 75 days prior to filing suit for residential properties, 90 days for commercial properties. The notice of claim must be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service.
Once the claimant delivers the notice of claim, the contractor can submit a written request for an inspection. The inspection must be completed within 30 days of the service of the notice of claim. The owner must provide "reasonable access" during normal working hours to inspect the property and the claimed defect.
Offer to Remedy.
Within 30 days of the inspection (45 if it is a commercial property), the contractor may send a written offer to remedy the claimed defect. The offer must include:
A report of the scope of the inspection
The findings and results of the inspection
A description of the work necessary to remedy the defect
A description of the damage to the improvement of the property caused by the defect, and
A timetable for completion of the remedial construction work.
As with the notice of claim, the contractor must send the offer via certified mail or personal service. The claimant has 15 days to accept the offer to remedy, otherwise it is automatically considered rejected. If the offer is accepted, the claimant cannot file suit unless the contractor fails to perform as outlined in the offer.
Impact on Statute of Limitations.
The statute of limitations is tolled during the notice of claim process. Specifically, the clock stops ticking when the notice of claim is served and does not begin again until 60 days after the process is complete. More on the statute of limitations here.