Missouri Revised Statutes Title XXVIII. Contracts and Contractual Relations § 436.356. Court actions arising from construction defects, notice of alleged defect to be given, response of contractor--dispute of claim, procedure--mediation, where to occur




1. In every action against a contractor arising from construction or substantial remodel of a residence, a claimant shall serve the contractor with a written notice of claim of construction defects.  The notice of claim shall state that the claimant asserts a construction defect claim against the contractor and shall describe the claim in reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of the defect as well as any known results of the defect.

2. Within fourteen days after service of the notice of claim, the contractor shall serve a written response on the claimant which shall:

(1) Propose to inspect the residence that is the subject of the claim and to complete the inspection within a specified time frame.  The proposal shall include the statement that the contractor shall, based on the inspection, thereafter offer to remedy the defect within a specified time frame, compromise by payment, or dispute the claim;  or

(2) Offer to remedy the claim without an inspection within a specified time frame;  or

(3) Offer to remedy part of the claim without inspection and compromise and settle the remainder of the claim by monetary payment within a specified time frame;  or

(4) Offer to compromise and settle all of a claim without inspection.  A contractor's offer pursuant to this subdivision to compromise and settle a claimant's or association's claim may include, but is not limited to, an express offer to purchase the claimant's residence that is the subject of the claim;  or

(5) State that the contractor disputes the claim and will neither remedy the construction defect nor compromise and settle the claim.

3. (1) If the contractor disputes the claim pursuant to subdivision (5) of subsection 2 of this section or does not respond to the claimant's notice of claim within the time stated in subsection 2 of this section, the claimant may bring an action against the contractor for the defect described in the notice of claim without further notice.

(2) If the claimant rejects the inspection proposal or the settlement offer made by the contractor pursuant to subsection 2 of this section, the claimant shall serve written notice of the claimant's rejection on the contractor.  The notice shall include the basis for claimant's rejection.  After service of the rejection, the claimant and contractor may attempt to resolve the claim through mediation in accordance with section 436.362 .  If the claim is not resolved through mediation, the claimant may bring an action against the contractor for the construction defect claim without further notice described in the notice of claim.  If the contractor has not received from the claimant within thirty days after the claimant's receipt of the contractor's response either an acceptance or rejection of the inspection proposal or settlement offer, the contractor may at any time thereafter terminate the proposal or offer by serving written notice to the claimant.  If the contractor so terminates the proposal, the claimant may thereafter bring an action against the contractor for the defect described in the notice of claim without further notice.

(3) If the claimant elects to accept the offer of the contractor to remedy the claim without an inspection pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection 2 of this section, or if the claimant elects to accept the offer of the contractor to remedy part of the claim without inspection and compromise and settle the remainder of the claim by monetary payment pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection 2 of this section, the claimant shall provide the contractor and its contractors or other agents reasonable access to the claimant's residence during normal working hours to perform and complete the construction or work in accordance with the timetable stated in the offer.  Any dispute relating to performance of the remedial construction or work by the contractor may be resolved by mediation in accordance with section 436.362 .  If the dispute is not resolved by mediation, the claimant may bring an action against the contractor for the defect described in the notice of claim.

4. (1) If the claimant elects to allow the contractor to inspect in accordance with the contractor's proposal pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection 2 of this section, within fourteen days after the date of the claimant's election to allow an inspection is communicated to the contractor, the claimant and contractor shall agree on a time and date for the inspection, and such inspection shall occur within fourteen days from the date of the communication of such election for an inspection unless the claimant and contractor agree to a later date.  The claimant shall provide the contractor and its subcontractors, suppliers, or other agents reasonable access to the claimant's residence during normal working hours to inspect the premises and the claimed defect.  The contractor shall perform the inspection at its own cost.  If destructive testing is necessary, the contractor shall repair all damage caused by the testing.

(2) Within fourteen days following completion of the inspection, the contractor shall serve a report of the scope of the inspection and the findings and results of the inspection on the claimant, and either:

(a) A written offer to remedy all of the claim at no cost to the claimant, including a description of the construction or work necessary to remedy the defect described in the claim, and a timetable for the completion of such construction or work;  or

(b) A written offer to remedy part of the claim, and compromise and settle the remainder of the claim by monetary payment, within a specified time frame;  or

(c) A written offer to compromise and settle all of the claim by monetary payment pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection 2 of this section;  or

(d) A written statement that the contractor will not proceed further to remedy the defect.

(3) If the contractor does not proceed further to remedy the construction defect within the stated timetable, or if the contractor fails to comply with the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection, the claimant may bring an action against the contractor for the defect described in the notice of claim without further notice.

(4) If the claimant rejects the offer made by the contractor pursuant to paragraph (a), (b), or (c) of subdivision (2) of this subsection to either remedy the construction defect or remedy part of the claim and make a monetary settlement as to the remainder of the claim or to compromise and settle the claim by monetary payment, the claimant shall serve written notice of the claimant's rejection and the reasons for the rejection on the contractor.  After service of the rejection notice, the claimant and contractor may attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation in accordance with section 436.362 .  If the dispute is not resolved through mediation, the claimant may bring an action against the contractor for the defect described in the notice of claim.  If the contractor has not received from the claimant within thirty days after the claimant's receipt of the contractor's response either an acceptance or rejection of the offer made pursuant to paragraph (a), (b), or (c) of subdivision (2) of this subsection, the contractor may at any time thereafter terminate the offer by serving written notice to the claimant.  If the contractor so terminates its offer, the claimant may bring an action against the contractor for the claim described in the notice of claim without further notice.

5. (1) Any claimant accepting the offer of a contractor to remedy all or part of the construction defect pursuant to paragraph (a) or (b) of subdivision (2) of subsection 4 of this section shall do so by serving the contractor with a written notice of acceptance within a reasonable time period after receipt of the offer, and no later than thirty days after receipt of the offer.  The claimant shall provide the contractor and its subcontractors or other agents reasonable access to the claimant's residence during normal working hours to perform and complete the construction or work by the timetable stated in the offer.  Any dispute relating to performance of the remedial construction or work by the contractor may be resolved by mediation in accordance with section 436.362 .  If the dispute is not resolved by mediation, the claimant may bring an action against the contractor for the defect described in the notice of claim.

(2) The claimant and contractor may, by mutual written agreement, alter the extent of construction or the timetable for completion of construction stated in the offer, including, but not limited to, repair of additional defects.

6. Any action commenced by a claimant prior to compliance with the requirements of this section shall, upon motion by a party to the action, be subject to dismissal without prejudice, and shall not be recommenced until the claimant has complied with the requirements of this section if the court finds the claimant knowingly violated the sections of said act.

7. The claimant may amend the notice of claim to include construction defects discovered after the service of the original notice of claim and shall otherwise comply with the requirements of this section for the additional claims.  Claims for defects discovered after the commencement or recommencement of an action may be added to such action only after providing notice to the contractor of the defect and allowing for response under subsection 2 of this section.

8. If, during the pendency of the notice, inspection, offer, acceptance, or repair process, an applicable limitations period would otherwise expire, the claimant may file an action against the contractor, but such action shall be immediately abated pending completion of the notice of claim process described in this section.  This subsection shall not be construed either to revive a statute of limitations period that has expired prior to the date on which a claimant's written notice of claim is served or extend any applicable statute of repose.

9. A written notice of claim and any written response by a contractor shall be treated as a settlement offer and shall not be admissible in an action related to a construction defect asserted therein, except as otherwise permitted by law.  A written notice of claim and any written response by a contractor shall not be admissible as a prior inconsistent statement.

10. In the event that immediate action must be taken by a claimant to prevent imminent injury to persons because of alleged construction defects, including defective garage doors, that threaten the life or safety of persons, or alleged construction defects, including defective garage doors, that if not addressed will result in significant and material additional damage to the residence, the homeowner or another person designated by the homeowner including the contractor may undertake reasonable repairs necessary to mitigate the emergency situation.  Claimants may thereafter include the cost of such repairs in the written notice of claim of construction defects provided for in subsection 1 of this section.  Provided, however, that other than the undertaking of immediate repairs to remedy an emergency situation, any repairs to construction defects undertaken by homeowners shall not be included in claims initiated under subsection 1 of this section, and shall not be the subject of an action.

11. Any mediation shall take place in the county where the claimant resides or in a mutually agreed to location.





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