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Lawsuit alleges defects; expert responds with hurricane force


Guardian Group, Inc.’s Construction Defect Group was recently called in to consult on a purported construction defect case in the Southeast. The insurance carrier and their legal team sought forensic support in defending their general contractor client. The owner/developer was suing him for 2 million dollars in estimated repair costs, plus lost revenue due to business interruption.


The site investigation made clear: water intrusion and its expected resultant damage were widespread. From ceilings to floors, the water-stained walls on about half of the lower floors of this 5-story building evidenced serious moisture. But the windows, always likely suspects, had already been tested and had passed those moisture penetration tests. Guardian’s expert concurred with the window test results.

Instead, Guardian’s construction defect expert directed everyone’s attention to two critical points: 1.) Only one side of the building had been impacted by the water intrusion. That meant wind and a single event. 2.) Guardian’s team accessed historical weather data and that data confirmed a hurricane just prior to the reported damage with recorded wind speeds at this location of greater than 95 mph. So, from where did the water emanate? The air conditioning units. Also called PTACs, the small, single-room air conditioning units were installed along the length of the building at about 20-foot intervals and had been rated to withstand up to 60 mph, no more. It was unclear as to why the hurricane was unreported by the plaintiff or his legal advisors.


Guardian demonstrated the hurricane as the proximal cause of the moisture intrusion at the point of the PTACs. Further, having proved both that the air conditioning units installed were the ones specified in the plans and that they were installed properly and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, Guardian’s work supported the attorneys in getting the general dismissed from the lawsuit. One can only speculate as to why the owner chose to mount a construction defect case when a loss due to a verifiable hurricane would typically be covered by one’s property insurance. Perhaps it was a matter of the policy he chose and inadequate coverage… perhaps there was something more sinister at work. Regardless, Guardian Group stood shoulder to shoulder with the contractor and the legal team. The general contractor was no match for a hurricane… nor should he have been expected to be, especially as it pertains to alleged construction defects.


When your cases, claims, and issues demand greater technical certainty, greater responsiveness, and greater professionalism, you can rely on Guardian Group, Inc.’s over 30 years’ complex construction and engineering experience. Providing carriers and their counsel a more reliable standard of expert forensic services, Guardian’s Construction Defect Group stands ready to support you. Even before case or claim needs dictate, put yourself on a first-name basis with a proven leader in the field. Kindly get to know Guardian today.

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