5 More Case Histories Refreshed

GBA Publications Committee   

Learn from others. Don’t repeat  the mistakes of the past! GBA Case Histories are being used by our members for loss prevention discussions in support of professional development and mentoring. That is why GBA case histories are so valuable, and why GBA is updating them all, while adding new ones, too. Five more Case Histories have been re-issued.

GBA CASE HISTORY 91 (download):

An assisted-living facility owner accepted the general contractor’s ill-advised “value-engineering” suggestions that led to a serious and costly mold infestation. The owner retained an environmental consultant to identify whom the owner could sue. Not the architect: He had disavowed further involvement after the owner authorized the value-engineering recommendations. Not the general contractor: It went out of business. The only potential victim was the geotechnical engineer. Fortunately, the geotechnical engineer had included appropriate limitations in its report, indicating, among other things, it could not be responsible for problems arising from changes about which it was not informed.

GBA CASE HISTORY 92 (download):

The bizarre tale of a politically well-connected civil engineer who retained a geotechnical engineer to provide support services on a municipal airport project. The airport manager was busy with several other projects, the civil engineer told the geotechnical engineer, explaining why the airport manager failed to approve and pay for the final plans. But the airport authority had approved and paid for the geotechnical engineer’s plans; the civil engineer had signed them – illegally – months before. When the civil engineer refused to pay the geotechnical engineer, the latter sued in small-claims court and won, but still the civil engineer would not pay. The geotechnical engineer also filed ethics charges. Soon after the state’s registration board gently slapped the civil engineer’s wrists, the civil engineer died. His son – an attorney – threatened the geotechnical engineer with a wrongful-death suit. The geotechnical engineer settled the potential suit by agreeing to forgo collection on the amount awarded by the small-claims court, which – in essence – was uncollectible anyway.

GBA CASE HISTORY 93 (download):
A geotechnical engineer was engaged to serve as the owner’s representative during earthwork operations on a five-city-block cluster of high-profile, mixed-use, high-rise buildings. The foundation subcontractor claimed a changed condition when the project’s soldier-pile system began to collapse. The geotechnical engineer suggested a study to learn why the collapse was occurring. When the developer refused, the geotechnical engineer demonstrated “financial fortitude” and undertook the investigation on his own. The engineer learned that the problems occurred because the subcontractor modified the composition of the lean-mix concrete used for backfill, resulting in the general contractor and the foundation subcontractor paying the extra cost; close to $5 million. The developer insisted that the general contractor also pay for the engineer’s study.

GBA CASE HISTORY 94 (download):

An archaeological firm that was far more astute about technical issues than business issues accepted a one-sided contract for a major project that ran into a variety of difficulties, including a long-simmering feud between the public-agency owner and the public-agency regulator; unexpected soil conditions; and unusually severe weather. The project took five years to complete; one year for the technical activity and four for the litigation, as the firm sought to recover the costs it incurred because of the client’s bureaucratic foot-dragging.

GBA CASE HISTORY 95 (download):

A rack-system supplier retained the GBA-Member Firm to test the welds of a preproduction rack assembly. The welds failed to meet specs and the Member Firm reported that result. The client paid the less-than-$1,500 fee and shortly thereafter retained the firm to test a welder’s qualifications. Three years later, the GBA-Member Firm was sued because of its involvement in the more than $100-million collapse of an automatic rack-storage system. Making matters worse, the collapse killed an employee of the warehouse where the system was installed. A representative of the client lied by saying the Member Firm had approved the qualifications of the welder whose work was faulty. The Member Firm’s documentation, which could have been better, was at least good enough to permit a comprehensive investigation whose findings ultimately helped get the firm off the proverbial hook, but at a cost exceeding $50,000 and many sleepless nights.
GBA Case Histories are FREE to all Members.

Access GBA’s Entire Library of Case Histories: HERE