On July 23, 2023, changes to Washington's construction defect notice statute, RCW 64.50.020, took effect. The new requirements apply to construction defect notices sent on behalf of condominium associations. But does the statute, as written, contain an error?
RCW 64.50.020 was amended to impose an added requirement for claimants that are condominium associations. The statute contains a new provision at RCW 64.50.020(1)(b) that now requires that condominium association claimants include with the written notice of claim a "written report from a construction defect professional" and that "in addition to describing the claim in reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of the defect the written report shall state the construction defect professional's qualifications, the manner and type of inspection upon which the report was based, and the general location of the defect." (Bolded emphasis added)
RCW 64.50.010 was amended to include a definition of "Construction defect professional." Per RCW 64.50.010(4), "Construction defect professional" means an "architect, builder, builder vendor, contractor, subcontractor, engineer, inspector, or such other person with verifiable training and experience related to the defects or conditions identified in any report included with a notice of claim as set forth in RCW 64.50.020(1)(a)."
What is peculiar about the way the statute is written, as amended, is that RCW 64.50.020(1)(a) does not, on its face, appear to require a "report." Rather, it is the new provision at RCW 64.50.020(1)(b) that requires a "written report from a construction defect professional." (Bolded emphasis added).
RCW 64.50.020(1)(a) contains the same language that used to be in the second sentence of RCW 64.50.020(1), prior to the amendment, which merely requires that the notice of claim "state that the claimant asserts a construction defect claim against the construction professional" and "describe the claim in reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of the defect." This apparent discrepancy in the newly implemented amendments to the construction defects notice statutes may be an issue in any proceedings under the statute and may ultimately require further action by the legislature.
For assistance with construction defects claims or how to respond to construction defect notices, please contact DWT's construction group attorneys.