General Contractors

May 21, 2019

Defects in west Denver homes highlight what can happen when development outpaces everything else

Source: https://denverite.com, May 20, 2019
By: Donna Bryson

The ensuing legal tangle calls into question how city building officials ensure that developers can meet the demand for housing — and do it safely.

After the city raised safety concerns so serious that new beams had to be installed to support a row of homes in Villa Park, the owners and their builder joined to sue the engineering company. The engineers in turn blamed the city and a company contracted to review building plans.

The legal tangle spelled out in Denver District Court papers is a matter of life or death for the small building firm and, at the very least, stress for the homeowners and the engineers. It also puts a spotlight on how Community Planning and Development is managing, amid Denver’s building frenzy, to ensure that developers can meet the demand for housing — and do it safely.

The pressure is strong to get permits issued so people can have houses and offices. In a 2017 report, the Denver auditor focused on the building permitting system, noting “Denver is growing quickly, and we want to ensure the process for planning projects is effectively meeting city objectives and efficient for customers.” The auditor’s recommendations on improving efficiency urged reviews to determine whether staffing and resources were sufficient. Safety was not a focus of the report, the most recent to look at permitting.…

May 21, 2019

Ongoing asbestos cleanup forces 2 New Orleans schools to spend another year at temporary spots

Source: https://www.theadvocate.com, May 19, 2019
By: Marta Jewson

Two New Orleans charter schools will spend a second year in temporary facilities as multimillion-dollar asbestos remediation jobs stretch into another school year. The schools — Lafayette Academy in Carrollton and Rosenwald Collegiate Academy in Algiers — had previously been expected to move into their permanent buildings this fall.

In a lawsuit filed Friday, the Orleans Parish School Board claims it has spent $5 million relocating schools and programs as a result of contractors’ mismanagement at Lafayette Academy’s South Carrollton Avenue building, which was closed last summer due to an asbestos release.

The Choice Foundation, which runs Lafayette charter school, is a co-plaintiff in the suit. The foundation says it has spent $1.3 million replacing possibly contaminated furniture and equipment at the campus.

Asbestos, a commonly used building material until the 1980s, is dangerous when its fibers becomes airborne. Many old schools may contain the fire-retardant material in floor tiles and adhesive, ceiling tiles and pipe insulation. It is generally safe unless renovations or other activities disturb the material.…

April 2, 2019

Completion of high school project delayed another year

Source: AXA XL Environmental

To achieve the completion date on a school project, the GC accelerated its schedule, allowing the drywall contractor to start before the building envelope was completed. Rain damaged a majority of the installed drywall as well as the materials stored on site. This resulted in $2 million in repair costs and associated delay costs, borne by the GC.…

April 2, 2019

Local bank faces both asbestos and mold cleanup

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC renovating a bank hired an asbestos abatement contractor. As part of their final cleanup process on a Friday, the abatement contractor utilized a high-pressure wash, resulting in saturated carpets, ceilings and walls. Materials remained saturated over the weekend while the HVAC system remained turned off. The GC was greeted with extensive mold growth throughout the building on Monday morning, and ultimately a $600,000 bill to correct the damage. Although the GC ensured that the subcontractor retained pollution insurance, the subcontractor had a mold exclusion on their policy, leaving the entire cost on the shoulders of the GC.…

April 2, 2019

Renovations at school result in bodily injury claims

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC was renovating an elementary school. During the course of work, dust from concrete cutting set off the fire alarms. Parents of students filed a claim against the general contractor for bodily injury due to fear of contracting silicosis. Although the GC was not held liable for causing a pollution incident, defense costs exceeded $50,000.…

April 2, 2019

Contractor causes property damage to building

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC used muriatic acid while performing concrete etching in a commercial building. The highly corrosive fumes from the acid were not properly contained and were released into the building damaging the newly installed chrome fixtures. As a result, the GC was responsible for $75,000 in property damages.…

April 2, 2019

Contractor destroys company’s heating/air conditioning system

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC removed lead-based paint from a commercial building. The contractor isolated the work areas with containment; however, the HVAC system was not disconnected. The dust generated from the lead removal operations clogged the heating coils of the HVAC system in the building. The contractor was liable for replacing the HVAC system and the associated disruption of business in the building.…

April 2, 2019

City workers sickened

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC was renovating a municipal government building and did not properly contain the area to minimize seepage of fumes from materials utilized and emissions from gas-powered generators and equipment. Ten separate bodily injury claims were filed when employees complained of headaches, nausea and respiratory  problems due to unsafe air quality conditions from exposure to toxic fumes and airborne contaminants. An air quality study was conducted and the contractor was held responsible for causing the building-related illnesses.…

April 2, 2019

Homeowner finds sewage in drinking water

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A subcontractor improperly tied-in sewage piping during installation causing raw sewage to migrate into the underlying ground, contaminating a nearby water well. The general contractor was subject to defense costs exceeding $25,000 as well as property damage and bodily injury claims.…

April 2, 2019

Employees are hospitalized after installation of new carpets

Source: AXA XL Environmental

A GC installed new carpeting in an office building. One week after installation, the building owner informed the contractor that employees were complaining of headaches and dizziness. This was attributed to the odors from the new carpets. The general contractor could not prove that the manufacturer of the carpet
or the carpet adhesive was responsible; thus, the contractor was left with the claim. The GC filed a claim with their general liability carrier. The claim was denied due to the fact that “hazardous materials” such as formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds associated with the carpeting and adhesives are pollutants.…