We often see new construction come with an express warranty provided by the builder. The question becomes though, what does this warranty cover? First, note that a contractor is not required to provide an express, written warranty so a party must check the contract documents for warranty language.
Second, note that these warranties are a matter of contract, which means that the specific contract terms may include or exclude typical language. Generally, an express warranty covers defects in the construction of the building or home. In other words, the contractor is promising that the work is of good quality, free from defects, and built in accordance with the construction documents. While the specific terms of the express warranty may vary, one can usually expect that the builder agrees to make repairs, if needed, for a period of one year after completion of the work. This warranty usually applies to defective plumbing, electrical, HVAC, painting, doors, windows, and the general construction. Owner-caused damage or neglect is not covered.
Implied Warranty in North Carolina
North Carolina does provide, as a matter of law, an implied warranty of workmanlike construction. For residential construction, North Carolina law also recognizes an implied warranty of habitability — this warranty generally covers the structural integrity of a residential home. These implied warranties generally cover major issues (think structural issues that affect the safety of the home) and are independent from any express warranty. The implied warranty does not require any specific language in the contract to be effective and may co-exist with a written, express warranty.
If you believe you are an owner that has property that is covered by a warranty, or if you are a builder and an owner is making a claim under a warranty, it may be helpful to consult with an attorney as there are specific deadlines by which a party must make a claim under a warranty.