2010 Tennessee Code
Title 66 - Property
Chapter 36 - Construction Defects
66-36-103 - Procedures and requirements for notification and remedying construction defects.

66-36-103. Procedures and requirements for notification and remedying construction defects.

(a)  In actions brought against a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional related to an alleged construction defect, the claimant shall, before filing an action, serve written notice of claim on the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional, as applicable. The claimant shall endeavor to serve the notice of claim within fifteen (15) days after discovery of an alleged defect, but the failure to serve notice of claim within fifteen (15) days does not bar the filing of an action, subject to § 66-36-102.

(b)  Within ten (10) business days after service of the notice of claim, the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional may inspect the structure to assess each alleged construction defect. The claimant shall provide the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional and its contractors or agents reasonable access to the structure during normal working hours to inspect the structure, to determine the nature and cause of each alleged construction defect and the nature and extent of any corrections, repairs or replacements necessary to remedy each defect. The inspection may include destructive testing. Prior to performing any destructive testing, the person who desires to perform the testing shall notify the claimant in writing of the type of testing to be performed, the anticipated damage to the structure that will be caused by the testing, and the anticipated corrections or repairs that will be necessary to correct or repair any damage caused by the testing. The person performing the testing is responsible for correcting and repairing any damage to the structure caused by the testing.

(c)  Within ten (10) days after service of the notice of claim, the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, and design professional must forward a copy of the notice of claim to each contractor,subcontractor, supplier, or design professional who it reasonably believes is responsible for each defect specified in the notice of claim and shall note the specific defect for which it believes the particular contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional is responsible. Each such contractor, subcontractor, supplier, and design professional may inspect the structure as provided in subsection (b) within ten (10) business days after receiving a copy of the notice.

(d)  Within ten (10) business days after receiving a copy of the notice of claim, the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional must serve a written response to the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional who served a copy of the notice of claim. The written response shall include a report of the scope of any inspection of the structure, the findings and results of the inspection, a statement of whether the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional is willing to make corrections or repairs to the structure or whether it disputes the claim, a description of any corrections or repairs it is willing to make to remedy the alleged construction defect, and a timetable for the completion of such corrections or repairs.

(e)  Within thirty (30) days after receiving the notice of claim, each contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional must serve a written response to the claimant. The written response must provide:

     (1)  A written offer to remedy the alleged construction defect at no cost to the claimant, including a report of the scope of the inspection, the findings and results of the inspection, a detailed description of the corrections or repairs necessary to remedy the defect, and a timetable for the completion of such repairs;

     (2)  A written offer to compromise and settle the claim by monetary payment to be paid within thirty (30) days after the claimant's acceptance of the offer; or

     (3)  A written statement that the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional disputes the claim and will not remedy the defect or compromise and settle the claim.

(f)  If the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional offers to remedy the alleged construction defect or compromise and settle the claim by monetary payment, the written response must contain a statement that the claimant shall be deemed to have accepted the offer if, within fifteen (15) days after service to the written response, the claimant does not serve a written rejection of the offer on the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional.

(g)  If the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional does not respond to the claimant's notice of claim within the time provided in subsection (e), the claimant may, without further notice, proceed with an action against the contractor, subcontractor, supplier or design professional for the claim described in the notice of claim.

(h)  A claimant who rejects a settlement offer made by the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional must serve written notice of such rejection on the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional within fifteen (15) days after service of the settlement offer. The claimant's rejection must contain the settlement offer with the word “rejected” printed on it.

(i)  If the claimant accepts the offer of a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional and the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional does not make the payment, correction or repair the defect within the agreed time and in the agreed manner, the claimant may, without further notice, proceed with an action against the contractor, subcontractor, supplier or design professional. If a claimant accepts a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional's offer and the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional makes payment, correction or repairs the defect within the agreed time and in the agreed manner, the claimant is barred from proceeding with an action against the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional for the claim described in the notice of claim.

(j)  If the claimant accepts the offer of a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional to correct or repair an alleged construction defect, the claimant shall provide the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional and its contractors or other agents reasonable access to the claimant's structure during normal working hours to perform the correction or repair by the agreed-upon timetable as stated in the offer.

(k)  The failure of a claimant or a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional to follow the procedures in this section is admissible in an action. However, this section does not prohibit or limit the claimant from making any necessary emergency corrections or repairs to the structure. In addition, the offer of a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional to remedy an alleged construction defect or to compromise and settle the claim by monetary payment does not constitute an admission of liability with respect to the defect.

(l)  A claimant's written notice of claim under subsection (a) tolls the applicable statute of limitations until the later of:

     (1)  One hundred eighty (180) days after the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional receives the notice; or

     (2)  Ninety (90) days after the end of the correction or repair period stated in the offer, if the claimant has accepted the offer. By stipulation of the parties, the period may be extended and the statute of limitations is tolled during the extension.

(m)  The procedures in this section apply to each alleged construction defect. However, a claimant may include multiple defects in one (1) notice of claim.

(n)  This chapter does not:

     (1)  Bar or limit any rights, including the right of specific performance to the extent such right would be available in the absence of this chapter, any causes of action, or any theories on which liability may be based, except as specifically provided in this chapter;

     (2)  Bar or limit any defense, or create any new defense, except as specifically provided in this chapter;

     (3)  Create any new rights, causes of action, or theories on which liability may be based; or

     (4)  Extend any existing statute of limitations except as specifically provided in subsection (l ).

[Acts 2004, ch. 741, § 4.]  

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