Basic Fact Pattern
- Catastrophic damage to a building adjacent to a demolition and new construction site.
- The adjacent building suffered a severe underpinning failure after the demo was completed and the construction was in progress.
- The local municipality demolished the adjacent building after condemning it.
- The insured underpinning contractor had allegedly performed improper excavation and underpinning, including a lack of dewatering, leading to the underpinning failure.
- There were numerous conflicting elements of testimony and documentation amongst the multiple other involved parties warranting further investigation.
Investigative Steps Taken
- Severely damaged building was inspected, along with the adjacent construction site.
- Extensive testimony and documentation was performed, in order to produce a timeline of verifiable facts.
- Drawings and geotechnical information were analyzed for appropriateness of the underpinning design.
- On-site photos and daily construction logs were analyzed to determine the work actually performed in the field and the timing of the same.
- Extensive comparative analysis was performed to determine the truth of the matter.
- The engineer responsible for the design and inspection of the underpinning was practicing engineering outside of his technical competence.
- Both the structural and geotechnical design of the underpinning were insufficient for its intended purpose.
- The in-field direction provided by the engineer to the underpinning subcontractor directly led to the catastrophic underpinning failure.
- The engineer also falsified records submitted to the municipality, resulting in reporting to the local engineering board for disciplinary action.