Unfortunately, not all construction projects result in buildings that perform according to the owner’s expectations. Because of the complexity and countless variables in materials and labor that are involved in a typical construction project, it’s possible that something may go wrong. Proper diagnosis of the problem after the fact, and developing a reasonable resolution, is advantageous to everyone involved. As a result, litigation support is becoming an increasingly important segment of the services offered by GCI.
One of the most difficult aspects in litigation support cases involves overcoming allegations from experts who have deemed certain building products as defective in design, manufacture, or installation, when in fact they haven’t performed a complete analysis to determine the root causes of the issue. For example, one of the most common allegations we see at GCI is that water leakage enters a building. However, many different construction materials and laborers are involved in the construction of most buildings and the result is that all the materials need to work together in order to perform properly. Unfortunately, some experts support their claim by performing improper water tests, including testing at locations where leakage has never occurred before, which only serves to demonstrate that they can make a leak occur instead of determining why a leak occurs. In addition, we often see that the expert fails to perform the type of exploratory evaluation that’s necessary to uncover the defect that allows the leakage, and to determine which materials or processes are responsible. Instead they make an allegation that is too often based on speculation. Such an investigation is not particularly helpful, making resolution of the problem more difficult because of the many different parties involved, and as a result, the owner still fails to achieve their original expectation of a building that performs as required.
The GCI Difference
GCI often becomes involved in litigation representation because of incomplete work by other expert firms that has resulted in unsubstantiated allegations. When these experts allege a defect, such as water leakage, without a thorough analysis of causation, GCI is called on to determine whether a particular party has responsibility.
At GCI we have a team of experienced litigation support experts with decades of experience in the building industry. Our goal in each of our projects is to determine if the party we are representing has any responsibility in the alleged defect. We look to answer the following questions:
- Who is responsible?
- Was the product manufactured incorrectly?
- Was there a design defect?
GCI has worked with a number of different parties including building owners, developers, architects, contractors, product manufacturers, subcontractors, etc. But no matter who is paying for our services, we consider the “truth” to ultimately be our client. This allows our team to be completely transparent, regardless of the outcome.
Large Window and Door Installer
Recently GCI was asked to represent a dealer and installer of windows and doors in a multi-party lawsuit, which outlined alleged defects in the construction of a multi-million dollar estate. As is often the case with projects that we work on, while there were major allegations against our client, there was little in the way of direct proof that our client was responsible for the alleged defective materials or workmanship.
The owner of the estate hired an engineering firm that conducted water testing at several windows and doors, which ultimately led the owner to decide to have all the windows and doors removed and replaced. After an analysis of the testing, GCI was able to demonstrate at trial that the testing completed by the engineer was improper and that the allegations were without merit, resulting in a jury verdict in favor of the window and door installer.
Services provided by GCI’s litigation support team for this project:
- Forensic Inspections and Observations
- Document Review
- Product Review and Analysis
- Expert Testimony
Introducing Michael Bowie
With more than 35 years of experience, Michael has worked in all facets of the construction industry. He brings a unique perspective on issues that affect commercial and residential structures. He has a long track record of managing litigation work for a variety of construction and exterior building product manufacturers. He is highly skilled in corporate risk prevention, mitigation and management for the building industry having held a previous role as Director of Claims & Risk Management for a major manufacturer of exterior building products. During his tenure as such, he conducted claims administration audits, hundreds of inspections and established protocol and procedures to insure adherence to special account instructions and claims handling. Additionally, he has assisted in the development of window installation best practices to reduce warranty claims and to mitigate litigation expense. He is well accomplished in contractor and employee relations with a forte in corporate strategic planning that brings an additional expertise to the GCI team.