Custom Home Development-Wide Construction Defects Evaluation

Basic Fact Pattern
  • Development of multi-million dollar custom homes, including six homeowners all suing their builder and all of his subcontractors.
  • Alleged construction defect in the varying exterior claddings resulting in systemic moisture intrusion and widespread underlying structural damage.
  • Alleged violation of building codes and consumer protection (fraud) statutes.
  • Exterior claddings included six differing combinations of hardcoat stucco, EIFS, wood trim, composite trim, brick veneer, adhered stone veneer, and custom windows.
  • Alleged damaged included complete re-cladding of all six residences, along with treble damage associated with consumer protection.
  • Minimal documentation was available from the builder, more than one decade after construction was completed.
  • First opposing expert passed away, prior to completing his work, causing a second expert to be engaged, who offered slightly differing opinions.
Investigative Actions Taken
  • Each residence was inspected inside and out, and destructively tested for moisture intrusion and associated underlying damage.
  • Interior thermal imaging and temperature and humidity surveys were conducted.
  • Re-cladding of four residences was observed.
  • Multiple code analyses were performed across the time periods from the first home to the last one.
  • Each home was 3D modeled, with material take-offs performed for individual wall panel.
  • The varying subcontractor structures for each home were reconstructed from the documentation produced by others in the matter.
  • Detailed causation and code analysis tied each individual wall panel requiring remediation back to the cause(s) of the damage and the specific subcontractors responsible for the same.
  • Extensive comparative analysis between the two plaintiff’s expert’s opinions, including completion of the training previously performed by the deceased one.
Determinations Made
  • Construction defects and code violations were variable across the six homes, but none were systemic and widespread.
  • Some interior damage was associated with maintenance, use, and building operation, rather than moisture intrusion through the exterior claddings.
  • Remediation of all wall panels on all sides of all homes was not required.
  • A customized scope of remediation was determined for each home, along with the total costs associated with performing the same.
  • Diagrams capable of allowing a lay audience to understand both causation and damage distributions were created for each side of each home.
  • All but two subcontractors were identified, with damages distributions determined for each.
Involved Experts: 

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