58th Legislature
2003 Regular Session

Passed by the House March 13, 2003
  Yeas 96   Nays 0

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate April 9, 2003
  Yeas 45   Nays 4

President of the Senate

I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2039 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.

Chief Clerk

Governor of the State of Washington

Secretary of State
State of Washington



Passed Legislature - 2003 Regular Session
State of Washington58th Legislature2003 Regular Session

By House Committee on Judiciary (originally sponsored by Representatives Fromhold, Carrell, Pettigrew, Cairnes, Lantz, Moeller, Newhouse, Armstrong, Grant, Quall, Woods, Roach, Hankins, Morris, Ericksen, Crouse, Condotta, Talcott, Holmquist, McMahan, Clements, Bailey, Clibborn, Kessler, Campbell, Hunter, Chandler, Gombosky, Schoesler, Ruderman, Miloscia, Kirby, Hinkle and Kenney)

READ FIRST TIME 03/05/03.   

     AN ACT Relating to construction liability; and adding a new section to chapter 4.16 RCW.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   A new section is added to chapter 4.16 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) Persons engaged in any activity defined in RCW 4.16.300 may be excused, in whole or in part, from any obligation, damage, loss, or liability for those defined activities under the principles of comparative fault for the following affirmative defenses:
     (a) To the extent it is caused by an unforeseen act of nature that caused, prevented, or precluded the activities defined in RCW 4.16.300 from meeting the applicable building codes, regulations, and ordinances in effect at the commencement of construction. For purposes of this section an "unforeseen act of nature" means any weather condition, earthquake, or manmade event such as war, terrorism, or vandalism;
     (b) To the extent it is caused by a homeowner's unreasonable failure to minimize or prevent those damages in a timely manner, including the failure of the homeowner to allow reasonable and timely access for inspections and repairs under this section. This includes the failure to give timely notice to the builder after discovery of a violation, but does not include damages due to the untimely or inadequate response of a builder to the homeowner's claim;
     (c) To the extent it is caused by the homeowner or his or her agent, employee, subcontractor, independent contractor, or consultant by virtue of their failure to follow the builder's or manufacturer's maintenance recommendations, or commonly accepted homeowner maintenance obligations. In order to rely upon this defense as it relates to a builder's recommended maintenance schedule, the builder shall show that the homeowner had written notice of the schedule, the schedule was reasonable at the time it was issued, and the homeowner failed to substantially comply with the written schedule;
     (d) To the extent it is caused by the homeowner or his or her agent's or an independent third party's alterations, ordinary wear and tear, misuse, abuse, or neglect, or by the structure's use for something other than its intended purpose;
     (e) As to a particular violation for which the builder has obtained a valid release;
     (f) To the extent that the builder's repair corrected the alleged violation or defect;
     (g) To the extent that a cause of action does not accrue within the statute of repose pursuant to RCW 4.16.310 or that an actionable cause as set forth in RCW 4.16.300 is not filed within the applicable statute of limitations. In contract actions the applicable contract statute of limitations expires, regardless of discovery, six years after substantial completion of construction, or during the period within six years after the termination of the services enumerated in RCW 4.16.300, whichever is later;
     (h) As to any causes of action to which this section does not apply, all applicable affirmative defenses are preserved.
     (2) This section does not apply to any civil action in tort alleging personal injury or wrongful death to a person or persons resulting from a construction defect.

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