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Re: What is it about Condos

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In CA most of the people who work on condos get sued because:
The projects are usually built by low bidders who often do poor work
Multiple owners &/or lawyers on contingency make lawsuits economically feasible. Construction errors are often systematic & the repair costs add up quick on large projects
Waterproofing is usually poorly detailed, supervised, & inspected
Good forensic experts often know exactly where to look--the same mistakes are seen on project after project. The HOA gets "one bite at the apple" so the tendency is for attorneys to name everyone--ethical consultants make a serious effort to prevent this but there are some incompetent/unethical "experts" for rent. Good waterproofing work is one of the most difficult tasks & is usually executed by the less skilled workers. Contractors who take the time to do top-notch work are usually not willing to waste their time bidding these projects. Mother Nature is a relentless inspector of waterproofing around here in N. Cal. (dry climates may do better). Litigations are usually precipitated by leaks & the damage in tight buildings with engineered lumber can be horrendous in a fairly short time. Cases are rarely tried, insurance companies usually conclude that the cost of defense+a judgment is more $$ than a reasonable settlement. Consequently the insurers of the guilty & the innocent alike share the cost. The construction industry needs to deal with the waterproofing problem comprehensively but it hasn't happened yet, so the safest course of action is to steer clear of multi-family projects in litigious areas.
Chuck Utzman, PE




I was talking with another engineer that does
residential in the SF Bay area who is a principle of a
old mid-sized firm, i.e. not a fly-by-night place.  He
said that they also used to do condo projects but that
they had been sued on 100% of the condo projects they
had done, so they no longer do them.  If I heard him
right and if he is close to right, that's incredible
and it tops all similar statements I've heard about
them

What is it about condos that makes them so legally
crazy?

MJ

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