What's Beneath the Surface
What's Beneath the Surface
We are often called upon to investigate building failures in the context of construction defect litigation. The process generally includes the same phases of investigation for each project; a common process is:
INSPECTIONS: Inspections are conducted to verify each claim and the extent of the defect or damage.
TESTING: Portions of buildings are disassembled to reveal conditions that are the source / cause of damage.
DEFINE REPAIRS: A repair scope document is developed to delineate the extent and process of relevant repairs.
MEDIATION: Parties involved in the litigation provide their analyses, repair scopes and costs of repair, with the goal of arriving at a mediated settlement.
The above methodology is applicable to nearly all of our forensic cases. If mediation doesn’t resolve the dispute, we sometimes provide supplemental services including deposition testimony, trial exhibit preparation and trial testimony.
“Construction defect disputes nearly always settle prior to trial. In more than 30 years of forensic experience on thousands of structures, we have only provided testimony in seven (7) trials.”
Reconstruction Documents & Management
Implementing repairs to damaged and defective conditions pose a complex challenge to owners. We have provided a full-range of services in regard to reconstruction of various facilities, including residential buildings, research and office buildings, and a performing arts center. Our clients for this type of work have included various homeowner associations, a public university, a community college and private homeowners.
Our services are provided within the following phases:
PRIORITIZATION OF REPAIRS: In conjunction with a cost estimating consultant, we advise owners regarding which repairs should be accomplished within applicable budget limitations.
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS FOR REPAIRS: Based on the approved scope of repairs, we prepare drawings and specifications that are suitable for bidding of the repairs and for obtaining a building permit.
BIDDING / NEGOTIATION: We assist the owner in obtaining bids for the work, and in negotiating a contract for the repairs.
CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION: We provide administration of the construction contract, including period observations of repairs in progress, providing clarifications, administering submittals and change orders, processing applications for payment, and project close-out services.
The above methodology is applicable to nearly all of our reconstruction projects, though all phases listed are not always provided and sometimes different terminology is utilized.
Building Envelope Consulting
The building envelope is made up of the the roof, walls, and foundation that enclose a building. Each part of the envelope sees the same elements – sun, wind, water and hail – but in different proportions. The roof receives the brunt of searing sun, pounding rain, and hail. Walls endure horizontally-applied wind and rain. The foundation is embedded within dark, wet ground. The connections between these parts represent the greatest opportunities for energy savings.
Certain projects require precise advice to the design and construction team regarding the building envelope. Because of our extensive experience with the evaluation of building envelope failures and their repairs, we are sometimes called upon to provide counsel to architects and contractors during design and construction in regard to appropriate designs for various building envelope conditions encountered.
When changes occur in the ownership of large, complex facilities or structures, there is often a need to take stock of the condition of the buildings at issue. We have directed the evaluation of a variety of building types in this regard, including shopping centers, retail buildings, classroom buildings and office buildings. Evaluation services are comprised of inspections of the facilities and definitions or relevant repairs for the conditions documented during inspection.
On occasion, we have provided reviews of other architects’ drawings and specifications prior to construction. The intent of these reviews is for quality control; i.e. our counsel provides direction to architects in regard to proper detailing and specifications, and in regard to constructability. Most commonly, the focus of such counsel is in regard to building envelope systems such as roofing, waterproofing and window installations.