Recently, Guardian Group’s Surety Group was called in by a longtime client on an unusual claim. Although, that said, is there really such a thing as a “usual” claim in the worlds of surety and construction defects? No, not really. Every situation is different and must be assessed objectively, with the benefit of experience, of course, but also with a fresh set of eyes for every investigation. There are always unique factors that contribute to and exacerbate construction problems, as well as impediments that threaten to derail rapid resolution and best practice loss mitigation techniques. In this situation, Guardian’s Surety Group was asked to consult on a bond claim at a renowned zoological park in our nation’s Midwest. On this particular claim, it wasn’t the entire zoo or construction of the park grounds and pathways experiencing problems, but just the polar bear exhibit. There were issues with the freshly poured concrete in the polar bears’ domicile. The principal was nowhere to be found. And rectifying the situation would likely require a bear workaround, literally a plan to work around the bears.



Rapid deployment and a quick on-site inspection confirmed the obligee’s reports. Damage to the poured concrete in the polar bear exhibit included spalling and cracking. In quick collaboration with Guardian’s Construction Defect Group engineers, the team concluded that these concrete issues were the result of an additive in the mixture. (Often in colder climates the practice of salting to prevent the formation of ice is the culprit, but this was not the case here).



A re-let would have taken too long and raised questions about any qualified contractors’ ability to conduct the work in such a unique environment. On this particular claim, what the surety really needed to know was whether the repair cost estimates prepared by the zoo were reasonable, accurate, and adequate. The major challenges on this claim/request for cost review were the urgency of the matter and the site of the repair work, which comprised a key part of the polar bear habitat (including impacts on costs and schedule.) Because Guardian’s experts include not only engineers and seasoned claim investigators but project managers, as well, the team managed to very quickly verify the numbers. Equipped with their expert’s opinion, the surety was able to confidently and efficiently resolve their claim.
(Pro tip: should you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to get a polar bear to move, try mangos. Lots and lots of sweet mangos.)



When surety and construction defect claims hit your desk, time is of the essence.
Drawing upon over 30 years’ complex construction claims experience, Guardian Group, Inc.’s service groups work collaboratively to help you resolve claims expeditiously and cost-effectively. From construction and engineering expertise to claims investigations, and from construction cost reviews to complete project takeovers, when you need rapid response and rapid resolution you can rely on Guardian Group, Inc. Kindly reach out today.


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