Construction Defect Journal Archives

When is a Residential Subcontractor not Subject to the VCPA? Read to Find Out

December 1, 2017
Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

The Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) can and often does apply to residential construction. The transaction between a residential contractor and an homeowner has been held to fall under the consumer transaction language of the VCPA and on occasion been used to avoid the issues with the economic loss doctrine in Virginia. However, there are limits to how far down the contractual chain the VCPA applies, particularly in the case where a supplier or subcontractor does not provide the services or materials for a personal, consumer purpose.

An example of this fact is found in the case of Johnston v. Stephan. In that case, a couple hired a general contractor to build a home and the general contractor hired Cole Roofing System, Inc. to provide the roof of the home. The first couple subsequently sold the home and the second homeowners sought further work on the roof from Cole Roofing. After Cole Roofing refused further work, the homeowners brought an action seeking to enforce a warranty and for a violation of the VCPA. For the warranty claim, the homeowners relied on the contract between them and the prior homeowners that referenced a 10 year warranty on the roof and the subcontract between the homebuilder and Cole Roofing. Cole Roofing sought dismissal of the VCPA and warranty claims by demurrer and further sought by demurrer to have the matter dismissed as being filed after the running of the statute of limitations.

Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com



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