When Is a Roof Not a Fixture?

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

One would typically think that an installed roof material was a fixture - that being a component permanently attached to the building. If so, the statute of limitations for asserting a defective product claim for a bad roof would be four years.

However, a recent Tenth District Court of Appeals case determined that a roof membrane (which could arguably be rolled up and removed) fastened only at roof edges and penetrations was a "product" or personal property rather than a "fixture" or real property. Federal Insurance Company, Inc. v. HPG International, Inc., Case No. 00AP-1125, May 31, 2001. This meant that the statute of limitations was two years rather than four years and that the case against the roofing manufacturers should not have been dismissed as untimely.

Therefore, it would appear that the statute of limitations for defective roofs (absent an express contract between the parties) will vary depending on the exact nature of the roofing system and its installation -- which make it appear either more like a fixture or a product.