Helping a fire suppression contractor dampen defect claims against him





The homeowner’s association of a large, high-rise condominium filed suit against the subcontractor who was responsible for the installation of the building’s fire suppression system. Included in this company’s scope of work was the installation of exit signs throughout the towers’ hallways and public spaces, a standard element of building code. The lawsuit alleged that all the buildings’ fire exit signs had been installed incorrectly (the signs did not point to their respective paths and doors) and the HOA demanded an egregious sum for a total re-do of the job.


One of Guardian’s forensic construction and engineering experts responded by deploying to the scene for an on-site inspection. During the site inspection, he could readily observe the problem. Whereas the HOA’s claim (reliant upon the work of a so-called consultant) said the errantly installed signs were widespread, Guardian’s expert found only sporadic incidences. These exit signs are manufactured in such a way so to make them customizable – the user simply chooses and punches out the direction they wish to indicate for a specific sign location and placement. In this case, admittedly, the subcontractor had made a few mistakes by not removing the punch out – a careless worker, no doubt. But the fix couldn’t have been any easier, and the problem was far from ubiquitous. In fact, Guardian’s expert turned the inspection into a repair job on the fly.

What makes this case noteworthy isn’t complex forensic diagnostics or the technical construction issues at hand. Rather, it is to draw attention to the role proper quantification plays in assessing construction defect damages and, of course, in mounting the strongest of defenses. Even when a contractor may be guilty of a defect or deficiency, low complexity and low frequency of issues are the proverbial mole hills some plaintiffs attempt to turn into mountains.



Whether the issue is exit signs or whether it’s windows, caulk joints, tile backings… or virtually any other aspect of construction that exists in multiples, quick action and experienced, accurate quantification of the construction defect issues can often help bring plaintiffs to the negotiating table. On this case, once equipped with the actual issue frequency data and the actual time/cost to remedy and/or repair (none – the problem was solved on the spot!), the plaintiff dismissed their case.




When attorneys and insurance carriers require expert support on their construction defect cases and claims, they often rely on the reputation and experience of Guardian Group. Known for rapid response, practical guidance, and ardent litigation support, Guardian puts its 30+ years’ complex construction claim experience to work on construction defect cases of every size and type. Today, operating as a division of YOUNG & Associates, now more than ever Guardian has the right experts in the right place to help you resolve your cases and claims quickly, confidently, and cost-effectively. To discuss the specific technical requirements of your case, kindly reach out to Guardian Group today.

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