2020 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 15 - Civil Remedies and Procedures
Chapter 3 - Limitation Of Civil Actions
Section 15-3-640. Actions based upon defective or unsafe condition of improvement to real property; right to contract for guarantee of structure for extended period.

Universal Citation: SC Code § 15-3-640 (2020)

No actions to recover damages based upon or arising out of the defective or unsafe condition of an improvement to real property may be brought more than eight years after substantial completion of the improvement. For purposes of this section, an action based upon or arising out of the defective or unsafe condition of an improvement to real property includes:

(1) an action to recover damages for breach of a contract to construct or repair an improvement to real property;

(2) an action to recover damages for the negligent construction or repair of an improvement to real property;

(3) an action to recover damages for personal injury, death, or damage to property;

(4) an action to recover damages for economic or monetary loss;

(5) an action in contract or in tort or otherwise;

(6) an action for contribution or indemnification for damages sustained on account of an action described in this section;

(7) an action against a surety or guarantor of a defendant described in this section;

(8) an action brought against any current or prior owner of the real property or improvement, or against any other person having a current or prior interest in the real property or improvement;

(9) an action against owners or manufacturers of components, or against any person furnishing materials, or against any person who develops real property, or who performs or furnishes the design, plans, specifications, surveying, planning, supervision, testing, or observation of construction, or construction of an improvement to real property, or a repair to an improvement to real property.

This section describes an outside limitation of eight years after the substantial completion of the improvement, within which normal statutes of limitations continue to run.

A building permit for the construction of an improvement to real property must contain in bold type notice to the owner or possessor of the property of his rights under this section to contract for a guarantee of the structure being free from defective or unsafe conditions beyond eight years after substantial completion of the improvement. The Department of Consumer Affairs shall publish in conspicuous places the right of an owner or possessor to contract for extended liability under this section. Nothing in this section prohibits a person from entering into a contractual agreement prior to the substantial completion of the improvement which extends any guarantee of a structure or component being free from defective or unsafe conditions beyond eight years after substantial completion of the improvement or component.

For any improvement to real property, a certificate of occupancy issued by a county or municipality, in the case of new construction or completion of a final inspection by the responsible building official in the case of improvements to existing improvements, shall constitute proof of substantial completion of the improvement under the provisions of Section 15-3-630, unless the contractor and owner, by written agreement, establish a different date of substantial completion.

HISTORY: 1962 Code Section 10-152; 1970 (56) 2397; 1986 Act No. 412, Section 1; 2005 Act No. 27, Section 2, eff July 1, 2005.

Editor's Note

2005 Act No. 27, Section 16(2), provides as follows:

"Section 2 [amending this section] takes effect on July 1, 2005, and applies to improvements to real property for which certificates of occupancy are issued by a county or municipality or completion of a final inspection by the responsible local building official after the effective date;[.]"

Effect of Amendment

The 2005 amendment substituted "eight years" for "thirteen years" in the first three undesignated paragraphs and made nonsubstantive language changes; at the end of item (6), substituted "section" for "subdivision"; and added the fourth undesignated paragraph relating to a certificate of occupancy as proof of substantial completion of an improvement project.

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