Prior to filing a construction defect lawsuit in Superior Court, an association must adhere to the strict requirements contained in the “Calderon Process.” The “Calderon Process” is a pre-litigation procedure contained in the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act, and codified as California Civil Code Section 1375 et seq. As its origin alludes, Calderon applies to all common interest developments as defined in California Civil Code Section 1351(c). Before an association files a complaint (lawsuit) for damages against a builder, developer, or general contractor (“Respondent”) of a common interest development based upon a claim for defects in the design or construction of the common interest development, all of the procedural requirements in the Calderon Process must be met. Specifically, the procedural aspects of Calderon include, but are not limited to, a notice sent by the association to the Respondent outlining the issues, and any investigation conducted with respect thereto. Further, the Calderon Process sets forth a 180 day timeline of events for dispute resolution short of litigation. Following the culmination of the initial 180 day period, the Calderon Process can be continued for an additional 180 upon mutual agreement of the parties. Should the parties not reach a resolution after all procedural aspects of Calderon have been exhausted, the association may file a lawsuit in the Superior Court.
Construction Defect SB800
Prior to filing a construction defect action in the Superior Court, property owners (this includes, homeowners associations, condominiums, planned developments, single family homes) of new residential construction who executed their purchase agreement after January 1, 2003, must adhere to the strict requirements of SB800. Short for Senate Bill 800, and codified as California Civil Code Section 895 et seq., SB800 is commonly referred to as the “builders right to repair law.” SB800 sets out both standards of care, meant to encompass for every aspect of residential construction, and a procedural timeline to address defects and deviations to the same prior to commencing a lawsuit in the Superior Court. Specifically, with respect to standards of care, SB800 breaks down the various components of a residential structure, specifies criteria that must be met, and provides a deadline for bringing a claim for the same. These deadlines are broken down by one (1) year, two (2) years, four (4) years, five (5) years, and ten (10) years from the date of substantial completion (but no later than the date of recordation of a valid notice of completion). Further, with respect to the procedural timeline from bringing claims relating to deviations from the construction standards referenced above, SB800 sets out a specific procedural framework. This procedural frame work includes, without limitation, a fact specific notice to the builder, visual inspection, invasive testing to the extent required, and forums to reach a resolution on issues. Should the procedural frame work of SB800 fail to resolve the issues, the property owner is free to file a lawsuit in the Superior Court utilizing the aforementioned construction standards.