Claims – Contr Prof Liability

May 18, 2017

Appeals court finds C.B. Engineering responsible in dispute over condemned Lake St. Louis home

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.…

April 28, 2017

Insurer alleges improper installation of sprinkler system in lawsuit over fire that destroyed Pa. building

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.”…

April 19, 2017

Roof issues delay opening of $1.5B Mercedes-Benz Stadium — again

Source: http://www.constructiondive.com, April 19, 2017
By: Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium officials have announced that issues with the retractable roof will delay the $1.5 billion venue’s opening for a third time, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Atlanta Falcons officials said the new opening date has been pushed from July 30 to August 26, when the NFL team’s first preseason game is scheduled. A spokesman said the roof’s steel work is taking longer than anticipated, and extra time is required to adjust the signature design so that the interlocking “petals” fit with each other.
  • The roof has been the source of all the announced project delays thus far. This latest postponement means that Atlanta United, scheduled to begin playing at the stadium in July, will play elsewhere until the facility is open.

Dive Insight:

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.…

April 19, 2017

Serious design, construction and maintenance defects doomed Oroville Dam, report says

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.…

April 18, 2017

Developer McKafka sues architect, alleging construction delays and defects at the Crimson

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.…

April 11, 2017

Who’s responsible for PCC’s rotted roof?

Source: http://pamplinmedia.com, April 4, 2017
By: Nick Budnick

While PCC has blamed the construction company that built the Newberg building, claiming at least $3.4 million to cover costs, the construction company has instead faulted the college for its design of the building and accused school officials of failing to address the roof’s problems in a timely way.

Just four years after Portland Community College used taxpayer-approved bond funds to build a $7.2 million green building in Newberg, severe rotting of the roof endangered students and forced the college to spend more than $3 million to build a new roof.

But now the lingering dispute over who should pay for that replacement roof could complicate PCC’s plans to go to voters for a new bond measure in November.

While the college has blamed the construction company that built the Newberg building, claiming at least $3.4 million to cover costs, the construction company has instead faulted PCC. The contractor blamed PCC for its design of the building and accused school officials of failing to address the roof’s problems in a timely way.

Despite the contractor’s claims, and accusations that the college’s bond construction program covered up its mismanagement of the project, a PCC spokeswoman says the college can be trusted with the public’s money.

“The college has completed more than $300,000,000 in construction projects across its district, with this being the single claim of significance,” said spokeswoman Kate Chester in an email. “As such, the 2008 bond program is highly successful from a construction outcomes perspective, and it’s a program in which the college has strong confidence.”…

March 22, 2017

A Look at Smart Buildings and Construction Risks

Source: http://www.insurancejournal.com, February 3, 2017
By: Andrea Wells

With “smart” building becoming the gold standard in today’s commercial construction world, builders, building owners, workers and insurers are dealing with new technologies and risks. These smart technologies — from high tech gadgets aimed at increasing building efficiencies to wearable devices aimed at improving safety — are invading almost every corner of construction.

Whether smarter is better in the long run remains to be seen. This new world of construction brings advantages in sustainability and safety, but it also means additional risks related to costs, delays, materials as well as worker privacy and safety.

The smart or green building movement is growing faster than conventional construction, according to Mahesh Ramanujam, chief operating officer and incoming president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which administers the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications worldwide.

To date, there are nearly 90,000 commercial buildings and 120,000 residential projects participating in LEED across the U.S., saving energy and water, improving indoor air quality, saving businesses and homeowners money, and helping communities create jobs.

Scott Rasor, head of construction for Zurich North America, says most new buildings he sees qualify as “smart built” buildings.…

March 2, 2017

Edgewater condo owners sue engineering firm for $1M in damages

Source: https://therealdeal.com, March 1, 2017
By: Francisco Alvarado

Property at 2121 N. Bayshore Drive was affected by leaky HVAC, residents say

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.…

March 2, 2017

Missouri appellate court opens the door to Spearin claims by contractors against public entities

Source: http://www.lexology.com, February 24, 2017
By: David Dick, Thompson Coburn LLP

A Missouri appellate court has for the first time recognized that a construction contractor may pursue a breach of contract claim against a public entity owner based on the “Spearin doctrine,” meaning the contractor may recover damages based upon deficient plans supplied by the owner. The court also recognized that the contractor may use the “modified total cost approach” as a method of proving damages, and that expert testimony is not necessary for the contractor claimant to prove its case.

These rulings from the February 2017 opinion in Penzel Construction Co. v. Jackson R-School District, et al., are significant for public entities and contractors alike. Contractors have gained a potential litigation avenue when they suffer losses caused by the plans and specifications supplied by the governmental entity owner, even if the contractor can’t precisely tie particular damages to particular defects in the plans. And public entities of all types — school districts, universities, and state and local governmental entities — are now on notice that problematic plans and specifications could make them a target of litigation later down the road.…

February 21, 2017

Governors Island Sues Turner Construction For Poor Work on Seawall, Bridges

Source: https://www.dnainfo.com, February 20, 2017
By: Irene Plagianos

A leading city construction company and a firm it subcontracted are being sued by The Trust for Governors Island for more than $5 million over claims of shoddy work on seawall rehabilitation and bridges that connect visitors with docking ferries.

Turner Construction is responsible for choosing a subcontractor that made numerous errors in its designs to overhaul the island’s seawall and build new lift bridges, according to claims in the lawsuit filed on Feb. 15 in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Since 2009, Governors Island has had a contract with Turner — a prolific city construction company that was recently awarded a $1.55 billion Empire State Development contract with developer LendLease to refurbish the Javitz Center — to choose subcontractors and supervise work for numerous development projects on the island, the suit says.

In the same lawsuit, Governors Island accuses subcontracted firm Ocean and Coastal Consultants Engineering (OCC), hired by Turner, of “professional malpractice” for its design errors on several bridges that connect its ferries to docks at the Battery Maritime Building and at Governors Island, along with a plan to rehabilitate the island’s seawall — a barrier against floods and storm surges.

According to the suit, the island says it was forced to fix hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work because of the faulty bridges, including incorrect ferry measurements that created gaps between the ferry and the bridge.

Other mistakes included the incorrect design of connectors from the bridge to the boat dock that caused bolts “to shear off”, and choosing the wrong material for bumpers meant to absorb the shock of ferries docking, which then had to be replaced, the suit says.

Governors Island also claims that OCC’s plan to redo the seawall was so flawed that “no marine contractor would be able to rehabilitate the seawall as specified by OCC,” and the island lost thousands of dollars to implement a different design.

Turner Construction and Ocean and Coastal Consultants Engineering, owned by COWI North America, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Governors Island is asking for at least $2.4 million from each of the companies, along with reimbursement of lawyers’ fees.

Governors Island declined to comment on the suit.…