Alleged Engineering Negligence in a Commercial Property Project

This case study explores a dispute between a property developer and an engineering firm over alleged negligence in a commercial property conversion project.

ByExpert Institute

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Published on February 6, 2024

Real estate construction meeting

Case Overview

This case study delves into a dispute between a property developer and an engineering firm contracted for a commercial property conversion project. The project involved transforming a warehouse into residential apartments. The contractor oversees all engineering aspects, including connecting the building to sewage lines.

However, complications arose when the contractor encountered difficulties securing state permit approval for the sewage connection. Further exacerbating the situation was an outstanding balance of approximately $7000 owed by the developer to the contractor from a separate project.

Consequently, the contractor abandoned the project before resolving the sewage issue. The central question in this case is whether or not the contractor was negligent in their duty to complete the project.

Questions to the expert and their responses

Q1

Can you describe your professional background in engineering, particularly as it relates to your experience working as a contractor on commercial properties?

My engineering background spans several roles, including as a contractor/project manager executing work under contract and state guidelines. I’ve also served as a Building Official responsible for overseeing and administering construction activities in accordance with state and local law.

Q2

What information would you need to review to opine on this case?

To form an opinion on this case, I would need to review several documents:

  • The contract for work between both parties, including executed change orders and progress requests
  • The scope of work in question
  • The nature of the permit denial from the state
  • Communications related to the dispute between both parties
  • Communications from either party to the local building department regarding removal of the defendant from the permit or to the general contractor if they are responsible
  • Any other relevant communications about work stoppage due to non-payment.

Q3

Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

While I have never reviewed a similar case for litigation purposes, I have examined numerous cases of this nature during my tenure as Director of Inspectional Services.

About the expert

This expert brings over two decades of experience in building codes and property inspection, with a strong foundation in civil engineering from a reputable university. They hold multiple certifications, including being a licensed building official and a certified residential and commercial building inspector. Their diverse professional background spans roles such as project engineer, local building inspector, director at a construction firm, instructor at a construction learning service, and currently serving as building commissioner, zoning officer, and director at a municipality. This extensive experience makes them highly qualified to provide expert insights into cases involving construction disputes and alleged negligence.

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