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California Civil Code Section 896

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Civil Code > California Civil Code Section 896

896.  In any action seeking recovery of damages arising out of, or
related to deficiencies in, the residential construction, design,
specifications, surveying, planning, supervision, testing, or
observation of construction, a builder, and to the extent set forth
in Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 910), a general contractor,
subcontractor, material supplier, individual product manufacturer, or
design professional, shall, except as specifically set forth in this
title, be liable for, and the claimant's claims or causes of action
shall be limited to violation of, the following standards, except as
specifically set forth in this title. This title applies to original
construction intended to be sold as an individual dwelling unit. As
to condominium conversions, this title does not apply to or does not
supersede any other statutory or common law.
   (a) With respect to water issues:
   (1) A door shall not allow unintended water to pass beyond,
around, or through the door or its designed or actual moisture
barriers, if any.
   (2) Windows, patio doors, deck doors, and their systems shall not
allow water to pass beyond, around, or through the window, patio
door, or deck door or its designed or actual moisture barriers,
including, without limitation, internal barriers within the systems
themselves. For purposes of this paragraph, "systems" include,
without limitation, windows, window assemblies, framing, substrate,
flashings, and trim, if any.
   (3) Windows, patio doors, deck doors, and their systems shall not
allow excessive condensation to enter the structure and cause damage
to another component. For purposes of this paragraph, "systems"
include, without limitation, windows, window assemblies, framing,
substrate, flashings, and trim, if any.
   (4) Roofs, roofing systems, chimney caps, and ventilation
components shall not allow water to enter the structure or to pass
beyond, around, or through the designed or actual moisture barriers,
including, without limitation, internal barriers located within the
systems themselves. For purposes of this paragraph, "systems"
include, without limitation, framing, substrate, and sheathing, if
any.
   (5) Decks, deck systems, balconies, balcony systems, exterior
stairs, and stair systems shall not allow water to pass into the
adjacent structure. For purposes of this paragraph, "systems"
include, without limitation, framing, substrate, flashing, and
sheathing, if any.
   (6) Decks, deck systems, balconies, balcony systems, exterior
stairs, and stair systems shall not allow unintended water to pass
within the systems themselves and cause damage to the systems. For
purposes of this paragraph, "systems" include, without limitation,
framing, substrate, flashing, and sheathing, if any.
   (7) Foundation systems and slabs shall not allow water or vapor to
enter into the structure so as to cause damage to another building
component.
   (8) Foundation systems and slabs shall not allow water or vapor to
enter into the structure so as to limit the installation of the type
of flooring materials typically used for the particular application.
   (9) Hardscape, including paths and patios, irrigation systems,
landscaping systems, and drainage systems, that are installed as part
of the original construction, shall not be installed in such a way
as to cause water or soil erosion to enter into or come in contact
with the structure so as to cause damage to another building
component.
   (10) Stucco, exterior siding, exterior walls, including, without
limitation, exterior framing, and other exterior wall finishes and
fixtures and the systems of those components and fixtures, including,
but not limited to, pot shelves, horizontal surfaces, columns, and
plant-ons, shall be installed in such a way so as not to allow
unintended water to pass into the structure or to pass beyond,
around, or through the designed or actual moisture barriers of the
system, including any internal barriers located within the system
itself. For purposes of this paragraph, "systems" include, without
limitation, framing, substrate, flashings, trim, wall assemblies, and
internal wall cavities, if any.
   (11) Stucco, exterior siding, and exterior walls shall not allow
excessive condensation to enter the structure and cause damage to
another component. For purposes of this paragraph, "systems" include,
without limitation, framing, substrate, flashings, trim, wall
assemblies, and internal wall cavities, if any.
   (12) Retaining and site walls and their associated drainage
systems shall not allow unintended water to pass beyond, around, or
through its designed or actual moisture barriers including, without
limitation, any internal barriers, so as to cause damage. This
standard does not apply to those portions of any wall or drainage
system that are designed to have water flow beyond, around, or
through them.
   (13) Retaining walls and site walls, and their associated drainage
systems, shall only allow water to flow beyond, around, or through
the areas designated by design.
   (14) The lines and components of the plumbing system, sewer
system, and utility systems shall not leak.
   (15) Plumbing lines, sewer lines, and utility lines shall not
corrode so as to impede the useful life of the systems.
   (16) Sewer systems shall be installed in such a way as to allow
the designated amount of sewage to flow through the system.
   (17) Showers, baths, and related waterproofing systems shall not
leak water into the interior of walls, flooring systems, or the
interior of other components.
   (18)  The waterproofing system behind or under ceramic tile and
tile countertops shall not allow water into the interior of walls,
flooring systems, or other components so as to cause damage. Ceramic
tile systems shall be designed and installed so as to deflect
intended water to the waterproofing system.
   (b) With respect to structural issues:
   (1) Foundations, load bearing components, and slabs, shall not
contain significant cracks or significant vertical displacement.
   (2) Foundations, load bearing components, and slabs shall not
cause the structure, in whole or in part, to be structurally unsafe.
   (3) Foundations, load bearing components, and slabs, and
underlying soils shall be constructed so as to materially comply with
the design criteria set by applicable government building codes,
regulations, and ordinances for chemical deterioration or corrosion
resistance in effect at the time of original construction.
   (4) A structure shall be constructed so as to materially comply
with the design criteria for earthquake and wind load resistance, as
set forth in the applicable government building codes, regulations,
and ordinances in effect at the time of original construction.
   (c) With respect to soil issues:
   (1) Soils and engineered retaining walls shall not cause, in whole
or in part, damage to the structure built upon the soil or
engineered retaining wall.
   (2) Soils and engineered retaining walls shall not cause, in whole
or in part, the structure to be structurally unsafe.
   (3) Soils shall not cause, in whole or in part, the land upon
which no structure is built to become unusable for the purpose
represented at the time of original sale by the builder or for the
purpose for which that land is commonly used.
   (d) With respect to fire protection issues:
   (1) A structure shall be constructed so as to materially comply
with the design criteria of the applicable government building codes,
regulations, and ordinances for fire protection of the occupants in
effect at the time of the original construction.
   (2) Fireplaces, chimneys, chimney structures, and chimney
termination caps shall be constructed and installed in such a way so
as not to cause an unreasonable risk of fire outside the fireplace
enclosure or chimney.
   (3) Electrical and mechanical systems shall be constructed and
installed in such a way so as not to cause an unreasonable risk of
fire.
   (e) With respect to plumbing and sewer issues:
   Plumbing and sewer systems shall be installed to operate properly
and shall not materially impair the use of the structure by its
inhabitants. However, no action may be brought for a violation of
this subdivision more than four years after close of escrow.
   (f) With respect to electrical system issues:
   Electrical systems shall operate properly and shall not materially
impair the use of the structure by its inhabitants. However, no
action shall be brought pursuant to this subdivision more than four
years from close of escrow.
   (g) With respect to issues regarding other areas of construction:
   (1) Exterior pathways, driveways, hardscape, sidewalls, sidewalks,
and patios installed by the original builder shall not contain
cracks that display significant vertical displacement or that are
excessive. However, no action shall be brought upon a violation of
this paragraph more than four years from close of escrow.
   (2) Stucco, exterior siding, and other exterior wall finishes and
fixtures, including, but not limited to, pot shelves, horizontal
surfaces, columns, and plant-ons, shall not contain significant
cracks or separations.
   (3) (A) To the extent not otherwise covered by these standards,
manufactured products, including, but not limited to, windows, doors,
roofs, plumbing products and fixtures, fireplaces, electrical
fixtures, HVAC units, countertops, cabinets, paint, and appliances
shall be installed so as not to interfere with the products' useful
life, if any.
   (B) For purposes of this paragraph, "useful life" means a
representation of how long a product is warranted or represented,
through its limited warranty or any written representations, to last
by its manufacturer, including recommended or required maintenance.
If there is no representation by a manufacturer, a builder shall
install manufactured products so as not to interfere with the product'
s utility.
   (C) For purposes of this paragraph, "manufactured product" means a
product that is completely manufactured offsite.
   (D) If no useful life representation is made, or if the
representation is less than one year, the period shall be no less
than one year. If a manufactured product is damaged as a result of a
violation of these standards, damage to the product is a recoverable
element of damages. This subparagraph does not limit recovery if
there has been damage to another building component caused by a
manufactured product during the manufactured product's useful life.
   (E) This title does not apply in any action seeking recovery
solely for a defect in a manufactured product located within or
adjacent to a structure.
   (4) Heating shall be installed so as to be capable of maintaining
a room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit at a point three feet
above the floor in any living space if the heating was installed
pursuant to a building permit application submitted prior to January
1, 2008, or capable of maintaining a room temperature of 68 degrees
Fahrenheit at a point three feet above the floor and two feet from
exterior walls in all habitable rooms at the design temperature if
the heating was installed pursuant to a building permit application
submitted on or before January 1, 2008.
   (5) Living space air-conditioning, if any, shall be provided in a
manner consistent with the size and efficiency design criteria
specified in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations or its
successor.
   (6) Attached structures shall be constructed to comply with
interunit noise transmission standards set by the applicable
government building codes, ordinances, or regulations in effect at
the time of the original construction. If there is no applicable
code, ordinance, or regulation, this paragraph does not apply.
However, no action shall be brought pursuant to this paragraph more
than one year from the original occupancy of the adjacent unit.
   (7) Irrigation systems and drainage shall operate properly so as
not to damage landscaping or other external improvements. However, no
action shall be brought pursuant to this paragraph more than one
year from close of escrow.
   (8) Untreated wood posts shall not be installed in contact with
soil so as to cause unreasonable decay to the wood based upon the
finish grade at the time of original construction. However, no action
shall be brought pursuant to this paragraph more than two years from
close of escrow.
   (9) Untreated steel fences and adjacent components shall be
installed so as to prevent unreasonable corrosion. However, no action
shall be brought pursuant to this paragraph more than four years
from close of escrow.
   (10) Paint and stains shall be applied in such a manner so as not
to cause deterioration of the building surfaces for the length of
time specified by the paint or stain manufacturers' representations,
if any. However, no action shall be brought pursuant to this
paragraph more than five years from close of escrow.
   (11) Roofing materials shall be installed so as to avoid materials
falling from the roof.
   (12) The landscaping systems shall be installed in such a manner
so as to survive for not less than one year. However, no action shall
be brought pursuant to this paragraph more than two years from close
of escrow.
   (13) Ceramic tile and tile backing shall be installed in such a
manner that the tile does not detach.
   (14) Dryer ducts shall be installed and terminated pursuant to
manufacturer installation requirements. However, no action shall be
brought pursuant to this paragraph more than two years from close of
escrow.
   (15) Structures shall be constructed in such a manner so as not to
impair the occupants' safety because they contain public health
hazards as determined by a duly authorized public health official,
health agency, or governmental entity having jurisdiction. This
paragraph does not limit recovery for any damages caused by a
violation of any other paragraph of this section on the grounds that
the damages do not constitute a health hazard.

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Last modified: March 17, 2014