Many cities in Denver’s metropolitan areas are experiencing tremendous growth. For more than a year, Colorado has been reported to be in a building boom. However even with the noticeable expansion, some areas still suffer from a lack of housing options specific to multifamily developments. Sean Ford, Mayor of Commerce City, stated that “[the city] has not approved a new condominium or multi-family project since 2008.”[1]Those of us in the construction industry attribute this shortage, at least in part, to construction defect litigation, which is often drawn-out, complicated, and very costly to builders.

Predicting that light rail service will intensify the need for owner-occupied units among Commerce City residents, the city council enacted legislation to address this scarcity.  Ordinance No. 2060 which took effect August 1, 2015 provides “reasonable steps to encourage prompt and voluntary correction of construction defects … in order to enhance the health and safety of residents of Commerce City.”

The ordinance requires a homeowner who discovers a defect to provide written notice via certified mail or personal delivery to the responsible builder, contractor, engineer, or design professional. The notice may include requests for relevant construction documentation, maintenance recommendations, and warranty information. The builder must acknowledge receipt of notice and provide requested documents within 14 days.

After acknowledgement, the builder has a right to inspect the claimed defect then make repairs. If the builder fails to comply with these time-specified requirements for response and inspection, the protections of the ordinance will not apply and the homeowner may file a claim. Following the completion of repairs, a homeowner has 10 days to inspect the repairs and ensure the defect is resolved. A homeowner who believes in good faith that the repairs do not resolve the construction defects may proceed with filing a claim.

Homeowners also have a right to be informed by homeowners associations of any legal action regarding construction defects. A homeowners association must provide notice to each homeowner at least 60 days before filing a claim. Additionally, after issuing the notices, the association has 60 days to obtain written consent from homeowners holding at least a majority of the total voting rights.

The ordinance also provides guidance on homeowners associations’ governing documents that contain alternative dispute resolution provisions. It states that any subsequent amendment to the declaration that removes or amends the arbitration or mediation requirement is not effective for any construction defect claim based on an act or omission discovered before such amendment.

The City of Commerce City should be commended for enacting reforms to spur more industry activity. Like many growing Denver-metro cities, Commerce City recognizes how more balanced business regulation better serves residents and improves the quality of the community. If you have any questions about the Commerce City ordinance, or state laws concerning construction defect actions, you can reach Adria Robinson at (303) 987-9814 or by e-mail at

[1] Molly Armbrister, Another Colorado City Passes Construction Defects Ordinance, Denver Business Journal (Aug. 4, 2015),


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