Source: http://stlrecord.com/, May 17, 2017
By: Sam Knef
A dispute between a homebuilder and engineering firm over who was to blame for a newly constructed home being condemned shortly after the owners moved in has been decided by the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District.
In a decision handed down May 9, the appeals panel upheld a St. Charles County Circuit jury verdict holding C.B. Engineering Inc. of Union responsible for the condition of the Lake St. Louis home at 115 Place de Yeager because it failed to test the compaction rate of at least one layer of fill below grade upon which the home’s foundation was laid. The $615,000 home slid down the rear slope of the property, according to court documents.
The engineering firm faced cross-claims brought by Beris Construction LLC of Wentzville, which discovered in litigation brought by homeowners Carl and Jessica Eisenmann that, even though C.B. Engineering provided a certification letter to the city’s building department indicating testing was completed and ensuring the bearing capacity of the subgrade, it actually did not test or observe a layer of soil between 6 feet and 7 feet below grade.
According to the ruling, the certification letter stated that “the materials placed under observation met or exceeded the minimum compaction requirements and are suitable for support of the residential construction.”
Three months before the Eisenmanns were to close on the house, they had noticed cracking and leaking in the basement. As a result, the builder had a retaining wall installed, the ruling states.
The ruling also says that the engineer who was consulted for the retaining wall had not been aware of any problems related to slope failure when he was asked to design and install it, and he therefore did not perform any additional soil stability or global stability analysis of the area.…
Source: http://www.securityinfowatch.com, April 26, 2017
By: Keith Gushard
A $5.2 million civil lawsuit has been filed in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas in connection with a fire that gutted the Titusville Towne Square building more than two years ago.
The 17-count lawsuit has been filed by Erie Insurance Exchange, as it was the insurance agent for Titusville Redevelopment Authority, and Melissa Bergman, a tenant of the Towne Square. Erie Insurance is suing architects, contractors and the owner of an adjoining building claiming negligence. No trial date has been set in county court.
The suit claims negligence and breach of contract by architects and contractors in the design and installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system on the fourth floor of the Towne Square building. The owner of an adjoining building is being sued for both negligent security of her building and general negligence for letting a March 17, 2015, fire spread from her building to the Towne Square building. The suit alleges the March 17, 2015, fire at the adjoining building rekindled and set the Towne Square Building on fire March 18, 2015.
According to the suit, Erie Insurance has paid out $5,246,662.15 in insurance claims so far and wants to recoup that money plus interest, attorneys’ fees and any other costs the court “deems just and proper.”…
Source: http://www.constructiondive.com, April 19, 2017
By: Kim Slowey
It was just a few weeks ago that stadium officials floated the possibility of a change to the July 30 opening date amid rumors that the roof was not going to be complete. This latest delay pushes the opening almost five months behind schedule.
However, even the August 26 opening date doesn’t appear to be 100% firm, as team officials said the demolition of the Falcons’ former home, the Georgia Dome, has been put on hold as “an insurance policy” in case the team has to start out the season there. The Georgia Dome field has already been removed, as well as other equipment that would have to be returned so that the Falcons could play there, according to USA Today.
The roof design, while troublesome up to this point, is the focal point of the project. It is designed to open and close like the aperture of a camera lens, necessitating precision in design and installation. The steel delivery was also a challenge. Team officials said the manufacturing of roof material had to be coordinated between 32 factories in the U.S. and Canada.
When complete, the venue will be the first LEED Platinum–certified stadium and the first sports facility to earn all of the U.S. Green building Council’s available water credits. The project also received recognition from the White House last year when the Office of Science and Technology Policy used the stadium — which will have solar-powered electric-vehicle charging stations and solar panels — as an example of sustainability.…
Source: http://www.latimes.com, April 17, 2017
By: Ralph Vartabedian
Design flaws, construction shortcomings and maintenance errors caused the Oroville Dam spillway to break apart in February, according to an independent analysis by Robert Bea for the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at UC Berkeley.
Bea, a co-founder of the center and retired civil engineering professor, found that in the 1960s, when the dam was being planned, designers did not call for a thick enough concrete spillway floor. Nor did they require the continuous steel reinforcement needed to keep its slabs intact during decades of service.
The design also did not require strong enough anchors into the underlying mountainside to resist movements downhill and from side to side.
The analysis is the first major assessment of what caused the massive damage that forced the evacuation of nearby Oroville and left the state with a repair bill likely to reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
It also sends a warning that the state’s aging fleet of dams may contain unknown defects that would threaten public safety in future wet years.
California Department of Water Resources spokeswoman Erin Mellon said the agency has not seen Bea’s analysis.…
Source: https://therealdeal.com, April 17, 2017
By: Francisco Alvarado
An Aventura-based architecture firm allegedly left McKafka Development Group hanging, delaying construction on its 90-unit high-rise called the Crimson in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, according to a lawsuit.
McKafka, through its limited liability company Alpine Estates, accuses International Design Engineering and Architecture, or I.D.E.A. for short, of breaching its contract and negligence, in the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month.
Stephane L’ecuyer, I.D.E.A.’s principal, did not return two phone messages seeking comment. McKafka principal Stephan Gietl also did not respond to The Real Deal, but his lawyer Bruce King said, “We had several discussions to get a resolution and have been unable to do so.” He declined further comment.
According to the lawsuit, McKafka hired I.D.E.A. on Feb. 8, 2013 as the architect of record and Facchina Construction of Florida as the general contractor for the Crimson. However, the architecture firm performed poorly, the lawsuit alleges. The Crimson, at 601 Northeast 27th Street, remains unfinished today.
“I.D.E.A. failed to timely coordinate with or respond to Facchina, prepared incomplete or inconsistent drawings and specifications, and failed to perform in a manner consistent with the design schedule,” the lawsuit states.
McKafka alleges that I.D.E.A. also failed to timely respond to requests for information, change order requests, or provide staff to ensure continuity of service. In addition, according to the suit, I.D.E.A. improperly designed the garage ramps that led to substantial structural changes. The company also improperly designed the temperature control system, resulting in high humidity in the condo units, the lawsuit alleges.
Other significant revisions at the Crimson included the relocation of piles and beams and the redesigning of the height of the building’s stairs and the size of an emergency generator room, McKafka alleges. As a result of the repairs and revisions, the project was delayed and Facchina charged the developer for the delays, as well as additional construction costs, according to the suit.…
Source: https://therealdeal.com, March 1, 2017
By: Francisco Alvarado
The condominium board at an older building in Edgewater is suing the engineering firm that designed the HVAC system at the property, alleging that the system caused extensive damage to the building.
In a Jan. 26 lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Biscayne 21 Condominum Inc., which represents the 192 unit owners of the mid-rise tower at 2121 North Bayshore Drive in Edgewater, is suing Fort Lauderdale-based Hillman Engineering. Biscayne 21 alleges that Hillman was professionally negligent and breached its contract by designing a leaky system that caused damage to the building’s interiors.
The condo board is seeking more than $1 million in damages, plus attorneys’ fees. Representatives for Hillman declined to comment, and Harry Malka, the attorney for Biscayne 21, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
According to the lawsuit, Biscayne 21 determined near the end of 2010 that the HVAC system needed to be upgraded and repaired. On Feb. 15, 2011, Biscayne 21 hired Hillman to determine the extent of the repairs to the existing equipment, design a revamped HVAC system approved by the association, and oversee the installation of the new system and repairs.
“Shortly after the conclusion of the project, the new HVAC system began to experience many leaks in the new insulation,” the lawsuit states, “causing damage to drywall and flooring throughout the hallways and corridors of the property.”
Biscayne 21 hired Bosch Group, a construction consulting firm, to inspect the work performed by Hillman. On Nov. 12, 2015, Bosch issued a report documenting “numerous design and construction administration errors and omissions” by Hillman, the lawsuit states.
Biscayne 21 was built in 1964. Prices of available units start at $279,000, according to Realtor.com.…
Source: https://suffolktimes.timesreview.com, March 19, 2016
By: Tim Gannon
The Village of Greenport has filed a lawsuit against the engineering firm that designed its $5.8 million power plant upgrade.
The lawsuit filed Feb. 2 seeks more than $10 million in damages from Genesys Engineering and claims the Pelham-based company was negligent, breached agreements and didn’t provide certain services.
Village officials have said a design flaw of the power plant prevents the village from switching from one transformer to the other without having to shut down the power in the entire village first.
The village found “several significant issues” arose with the operation of the power plant upgrade after spending more than $4 million on the project and claims the upgrade failed to match the input voltage of transformer No. 1 to the input voltage of transformer No. 2 and failed to take into account the existing equipment at the plant, the lawsuit states.
“The electrical engineering services provided by the defendant Genesys in the design and engineering of the Greenport Power Plant upgrade resulted in the inability of the Greenport Power Plant to operate properly,” the lawsuit states.
The village hired Genesys in 2007 for electrical engineering services associated with the design, maintenance and operation of its 125-year-old municipal power plant and electric utility on Moore’s Lane.
An email seeking response from Genesys was not immediately returned.…
Source: http://lancasteronline.com, March 21, 2016
By: Tim Stuhldreher
Seeking compensation for “multi-million dollar losses and damages,” Manheim Central School District has filed a lawsuit against the architecture firm that designed the now-razed Doe Run Elementary School.
Foreman Architects-Engineers’ design was faulty and the firm failed to disclose the problem in a follow-up investigation, the lawsuit alleges.
The suit filed in county court last week accuses the firm of breach of contract, malpractice, misrepresentation and fraud.
Also named in the suit are the company’s president and vice-president, Phillip G. and David E. Foreman.
It says the Doe Run school’s structural design did not include appropriate provisions for handling lateral stresses, such as a “shear wall,” making the school vulnerable to ground motion or high winds.
“As a result, the school building was structurally unsound, and subject to cracking and potential collapse,” the suit says.
In compensation, the lawsuit seeks payment for the costs of initial construction, the investigations into the problems, Doe Run’s demolition and the design of its replacement.
Manheim Central also is seeking punitive damages and reimbursement of its legal costs.…
Source: http://www.constructionrisk.com, October 2013
An architect’s contract containing a limitation of liability clause (LoL) was enforced to grant a partial summary judgment limiting the architect’s liability to $70,000 in the face of a $4.2 million claim for damages due to structural problems that required a nearly completed hotel to have to be demolished. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in the case of Sams Hotel Group, LLC v. Environs, Inc., 716 F.3d 432 (7th Cir. 2013), held the limitation of liability clause in question applied to claims arising out of the indemnitor’s own negligence, and that it was not relevant that the clause had not specifically referenced the indemnitor’s “own” negligence, in contrast to negligence in general. In this case, the court explained the distinction between an exculpatory clause that removes all liability from a party, in contrast to an LoL clause that allows damage – even if only nominal in comparison to the total damages claimed. Applying Indiana law, the court stated that parties have freedom of contract and that “includes the freedom to make a bad bargain.” To allow the plaintiff to get out from under the bargained for LoL clause here, said the court, “would permit an end-run around Indiana’s economic loss rule and [plaintiff’s] own contract with [the design professional].”
The design professional here was to be paid a flat fee of $70,000 for its services. The limitation of liability clause of the contract provided:
“The Owner agrees that to the fullest extent permitted by law, Environs Architects/Planners, Inc. total liability to the Owner shall not exceed the amount of the total lump sum fee due to the negligence, errors, omissions, strict liability, breach of contract or breach of warranty.”…
Source: http://www.lexology.com, September 15, 2015
By: Laura Freid-Studlo
In Gongloff Contracting, L.L.C. v. L. Robert Kimball & Associates, Architects & Engineers, Inc., 2015 Pa. Super 149 (Pa. Super. Ct. July 8, 2015), the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed the trial court’s decision and held that a claim for negligent misrepresentation could be based on faulty design documents under Section 552 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts. The case was brought by a structural steel subcontractor (Gongloff) against the architect-engineer (Kimball) for a university convocation center. Kimball provided Gongloff and others with the design of the steel structure and repeatedly denied allegations of errors in the design. But Gongloff alleged that the “never-before-utilized” design was in fact defective, and that Gongloff experienced various problems and significantly increased costs as a result of changes made to correct the design.
Kimball filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings stating that Gongloff’s claim was barred. Although negligence claims that result solely in economic loss are generally barred under Pennsylvania law by the economic loss doctrine, there is a narrow exception found inSection 552 for “Information Negligently Supplied for the Guidance of Others.” In Bilt-Rite Contractors, Inc. v. The Architectural Studio, 581 Pa. 454 (2005), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted Section 552and held that it applied to cases where a design professional negligently supplies information that will foreseeably be used and relied upon by third parties, even where such parties have no contractual relationship with the design professional.…