In our work as Construction Defects Experts, Holloway Consulting has encountered seemingly every type of construction defect. This rather unique design defect or construction defect issue and dispute arose in a recent resort hotel construction litigation case wherein, although the architect specified an exterior curtain wall system, the General Contractor and its glass/glazing subcontractor actually installed a window wall system.
CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS EXPERT
CURTAIN WALL SPECIFIED – WINDOW WALL INSTALLED
This curtain wall system refers to several areas on the hotel’s exterior faces where the design called for an opaque spandrel glass at the floor slabs and transparent glazing exterior wall designed to extend the full height of several floors. A curtain wall system is typically fastened to the building in a manner that allows the glass to move independently from the movements of the building.
SEE GRAPHIC COMPARISON BELOW – FROM HOLLOWAY’S EXPERT REPORT
On the other hand, as illustrated above, a “window wall system” is basically a mulled “window” system much like hotel guestroom windows fastened directly to the building in a manner that does not allow any independent movements versus the building’s, and that are significantly less expensive than curtain wall systems.
OWNER APPROVAL – ARCHITECT REJECTION
The architect understandably rejected the window wall submittal because it had never approved a change from the specified curtain wall system. In addition to reduced esthetics, a change from the specified curtain wall to window wall would have required a contract deduction of $300,000. After the initial submittal rejection, the architect was forced to repeatedly reject the contractor’s subsequent submittals because they did not comply with the specifications.
The contractor refused to comply with the specifications and also failed to understand the strict design tolerances required by California building codes included in the project specifications for seismic and wind loading. These arguments between architect and contractor continued for nearly four months until, out of desperation and to avoid further delay to job completion, and against the architect’s recommendations, the owner instructed the contractor to purchase the window wall system.
On the one hand, the contractor ultimately installed a window wall system that was never approved by the architect, and the owner never received a credit for the $300,000 cost difference in the two systems. On the other hand, this issue was a contractor-caused delay and compensable damage used in Holloway Consulting’s construction schedule delay analysis and damages analysis, and in subsequent mediation and settlement.
The Holloway Consulting Group, LLC – Construction Defects Experts
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