Question

In Colorado, What Can I Do About Defective Work From a Contractor?

Donald C. Eby

Answered by:
Donald C. Eby

Located in Castle Rock, CO
Robinson & Henry, P.C.

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Answer

When disputes arise over the quality of construction work, there are numerous ways that you can choose to resolve the problem. What you actually end up deciding to do about a contractor’s defective work may hinge on several factors, such as:

  • How much do you think the damages cost?
  • Was the contractor working on a residential or commercial project?
  • Are you in a position to hire a lawyer and pursue civil litigation?

With respect to the contractor’s defective work, however, you usually have two choices: you can seek a dispute resolution path such as mediation, or you can bring a lawsuit against the contractor.

How Colorado Law Handles Construction Disputes

The law surrounding construction defects is complicated and can vary depending on whether the construction is for residential or commercial purposes. In general, there is an expectation for contractors to meet the obligations in the contracts and to adhere to safety standards. The laws themselves arise out of both common law and state statutes.

While this means that there are mechanisms in place to help you address disputes over shoddy work, getting the resolution you are looking for may be a complicated process and requires the help of a lawyer.

Should I Consider Litigation?

Suing a contractor for defective work is an option, but it’s not necessarily your best choice. In the long run, the least expensive solution could be working with your contractor to resolve the dispute. This presumes, of course, that your contractor is responsive and responsible, and if that’s not the case you may have no choice but to sue.

In situations where the damages are less than $7,500, your best option may be small claims court. This can be a solution both for defective work and for unfinished or abandoned work. In most cases, you won’t need a lawyer to sue in small claims court, and the process is designed to be used by people without a legal background, though there are court and other costs associated.

For larger commercial and residential projects, however, your next step may be to talk to an attorney about civil litigation. As mentioned earlier, the law surrounding construction defects is significant and can be complex, so it’s important to speak with a lawyer who understands that area of practice. While litigation shouldn’t be the first thing you try, when you do make the decision to sue, you will want strong representation.

Answered 05/25/2017

Disclaimer: This answer was provided by an attorney selected to Super Lawyers, and is intended to be an educated opinion only. This answer should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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