*This post has been corrected based off of helpful information from the ARE Facebook group.*
So in my ARE study group we were discussing the differences between these two concepts, and how confusing the many different references can be when trying to explain them. You can read several resources and watch many videos explaining the concept of statute of repose and statute of limitations, and that’s all fine and dandy, but what the actual limits when it comes to construction?
Here are some of the videos I checked out for reference:
Another helpful video by an actual architect, Werner Sabo:
These videos were helpful, but they didn’t give me the answer I was looking for. I thought it would be best to check the Architects Handbook, as it is definitely one of the main resources that NCARB is using to create these exams. *However, it does appear that the AHPP is wrong on this one.
What I found was, at its most basic level:
Statute of Repose is a claim based on negligence for design professionals or others, 3 to 10 years after substantial completion.
Statute of Limitations sets time limits under which claims can be made, commencing when the alleged digression is discovered, normally 10 years.
That’s it, that’s the difference. Each state has its own time limits, I had fun checking out mine, which seem pretty average (this list taught me to never sign a contract in Maine, lol.) There are also reasons why on average, statutes of repose are longer than statutes of limitations. To quote this article from Kevin Hara, referencing the Texas Supreme Court,
The whole point of layering a statute of repose over the statute of limitations is to fix an outer limit beyond which no action can be maintained. One practical upside of curbing open-ended exposure is to prevent defendants from answering claims where evidence may prove elusive due to unavailable witnesses (perhaps deceased), faded memories, lost or destroyed records, and institutions that no longer exist.Methodist Healthcare Sys. of San Antonio v. Rankin, 307 S.W.3d 283, 286-87 (Tex. 2010 ) (internal citations and marks omitted)
To help me remember the difference between the two, I created a helpful wallpaper providing the differences in a simple way. You can get it for free at my Downloads page.
As always happy studying!