Contractors typically believe that they warrant their work for only one year unless longer periods are specifically required and set forth in the contract documents. The American Institute of Architects Form A201 2007, Warranty in § 3.5, and the accompanying one-year correction period set forth in § 12.2, however, do not limit warranty periods, and the contractor’s warranty actually lasts for the duration of the statute of repose – six years in Washington, and ten years in Oregon and California.
In the AIA 201, § 3.5, there is no specified warranty period:
§ 3.5 WARRANTY.
The Contractor warrants to the Owner and Architect that materials and equipment furnished under the Contract will be of good quality and new unless the Contract Documents require or permit otherwise. The Contractor further warrants that the work will conform to the requirements of the Contract Documents and will be free from defects, except for those inherent in the quality of the Work….
Unlimited warranty periods unnecessarily increase the cost of the work due to the general contractor and its subcontractors needing to set aside reserves or contingencies for those warranties. The Owner does not receive corresponding value for these contingencies, because such long warranties are not needed. Most of the warranty work occurs within the first year following completion, and tort and statutory remedies are available after that time. The ConsensusDocs § 3.8 on Warranty and § 3.9 on Correction of Work recognize this lack of value and provide:
The Contractor’s liability for such warranties shall be limited to the one-year correction period as provided in the section below.
The contractor may want to include the following warranty provision to ensure that in addition to the express warranties, there are no implied warranties, and that the warranty is limited to correction of defects for the one-year period:
The only warranties made by Contractor in connection with the Work are those set forth in § 3.5. Those warranties are exclusive and in lieu of all other warranties, whether statutory, express or implied, including warranties of merchantability, fitness for particular purpose and those arising from course of dealing or usage of trade. Any other statements of fact or descriptions expressed in the Contract Documents shall not be deemed to constitute a warranty of the Work or any part thereof. Owner’s sole and exclusive remedy for warranty non-conformities in the Work, no matter how arising, shall be for Contractor to repair or replace the non-conforming Work for a period of one (1) year following the Substantial Completion date of the project or for such longer period as specifically required by the specifications of the Project.