23 October 2014

Can Denver condominium developers learn from their counterparts in Seattle?

Concerns over construction defect liability has not hindered condominium development in Washington State. Instead of asking politicians to give them immunity from their own negligence, developers in Colorado might want to consider taking steps to avoid construction defects in the first place.

As a story in this week's Puget Sound Business Journal reports, some builders in Washington have been reluctant to bid on condominium projects because they fear lawsuits over construction defects. Many others have quickly moved in to meet the demand for new housing, however. One company, Lowe Enterprises, has taken a common sense approach to the risk:

"The development team is trying to head off construction defect claims by planning and documenting with photos their work. This way if a lawyer questions the wiring and plumbing behind the walls, Lowe will be able to say, 'Look, this is what we have done,' and here's evidence that everything was properly installed."

Coupled with adequate quality control, this simple method is an excellent way to avoid defects and litigation. Indeed, we at The Witt Law Firm have been recommending a similar process to our builder clients to reduce risk on construction projects in Colorado.

Now, if the Broncos can just figure out a way to beat the Seahawks, all will be well in the world.

Click here to read the full text of the article.

10 October 2014

Construction defects could become issue in governor's race

According to today's Denver Business Journal, construction defects have emerged as a potential issue in Colorado's gubernatorial race. During last night's debate, Republican challenger Bob Beauprez criticized incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper for failing to help senators with a last-minute push to enact a bill stripping away homeowner protections in construction disputes. Republicans had argued that the bill was needed to appease apartment developers who claim that quality control and insurance costs are too high on condominium projects.

Beauprez's attempt to blame Hickenlooper for this issue is a stretch. Hickenlooper is a former real estate developer who frequently sides with the homebuilders on construction matters, and he said during the debate that he was open to some sort of compromise. When I last spoke with Hickenlooper, he was staying out of the debate over construction defect laws, and he was not involved in the senate leadership's decision not to hear S.B. 220 at the end of the 2014 session. It will be interesting to see if this subject draws further interest from the candidates as the election nears.