Sometimes Maintenance Plans Have Defects, Too

Recently, Guardian Group, Inc.’s Construction Defect Group was called to a Southern Florida apartment complex to investigate alleged construction defects; specifically, our experts were asked by the insurance carrier’s counsel to determine whether reported damages were the result of inherent construction deficiencies, deferred maintenance or recent storm activity.

A review of plans indicated a complex comprised of 2 main structures, each four stories tall and further divided into 2 buildings each, as well as a clubhouse, although the one-story building constituting the clubhouse was excluded from the investigation.

In total, 53 apartment units were inspected and photographed as evidence. A physical site inspection confirmed the exterior stucco damage reported, as well as the moisture intrusion and ceiling/wall staining of the interiors.

Observations included: 1.) Missing or unpainted portions of stucco, 2.) Organic growth on walls, 3.) Organic growth on cracked stucco, 4.) Missing roof granules and a bubbling membrane, 5.) Water-stained and deteriorated wood framed architectural feature, 6.) Severe roof wear and tear. The experts’ experienced eyes picked up on such things as rust/oxidation on sliding glass door frames, and the degree of rust documented simply doesn’t happen overnight or as the result of a single storm. In this case, many of the residences’ doors had become totally inoperable as the ball bearings had been compromised over the years.

Ultimately, a narrative was crafted that walked the reader systematically through each apartment unit and the pattern of improper maintenance displayed by the building’s owner. Additionally, historical photos showed many materials had simply aged beyond their useful life.

The use of specified materials and proper installation of them are typical “standard of care” construction defect issues. But owners/insureds also have responsibilities, both for on-going up-keep as well as for the timely identification of any issues. The attorneys on the case were appreciative of our experts’ responsiveness, the thoroughness of our report and the visual simplicity of our supporting exhibits and attachments.

When you require the support of a tried-and-true Construction Defect expert, trust your claims, cases and issues to Guardian Group, Inc. Put our nearly 30 years’ construction claims and forensic engineering experience in your corner today.

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