No parking. Literally. This garage had major construction defects.



Quite often, the worlds of surety and construction defects intersect. Such was the case on a claim a surety client reminded us of recently. It was a shared war story, if you will, and nothing bonds surety bond folks quite like being ‘in the trenches” together. In this case, the general contractor for a three-story parking structure had notified the surety of a large claim. The surety company, in turn, asked Guardian Group, Inc. to go out and investigate the Mid-Atlantic property and the contractual obligations surrounding it.


When Guardian’s surety claim consultant arrived at the parking structure, he could hardly believe his eyes. While problem-ridden construction almost always necessitates the use of construction and engineering professionals, these problems were so pronounced even a layperson could detect them with the naked eye. Now, of course, we scheduled a follow-up visit with a Guardian Group engineer and a Guardian concrete construction defects specialist, but one could readily see that the concrete slabs were out of plumb. Another readily apparent defect was the stairway risers, which were rounded instead of straight-edged. While many of the other defects and deficiencies posed current and future challenges to the proper functioning of the parking structure, the latter posed significant risks to human safety and represented likely future slip and fall claims.


The general had already identified a repair scope, including replacing the risers and the application of a leveling agent to the concrete. But why did the general contractor accept and pay for this so obviously defective work? Why, indeed. While his reluctance to do anything that might injure the sub’s business or reputation may have been admirable, he wound up shirking his own responsibilities under the bond. Regardless of his reasons and charitable nature, the general had chosen not to default the contractor, and Guardian could clearly see and attest to the payment history. Guardian argued that the surety had no liability and Guardian’s expert recommended that the surety deny the claim on the ground of overpayment. Ultimately, a settlement was reached, simply to save the time and money required of protracted litigation. Moreover, it was a token sum, 10% of the bond value. The surety thanked Guardian for its quick inspection, the recommendation, and the material support it provided for it.


From supporting you on daily contract and commercial claims to consulting on some of the most complicated, problem-fraught construction in the world, Guardian Group, Inc. brings over 30 years’ surety experience to each and every claim. Combining technical construction and engineering proficiency with investigative and administrative experience and efficiency, Guardian helps sureties resolve their claims swiftly, fairly, and cost-effectively. Guardian’s people, processes, and proprietary online claims management system help sureties do more with less. To learn more about how we can help you achieve your claim handling objectives, kindly call on Guardian today.

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