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The Role of Experts in Construction Litigation

The Role of Experts in Construction Litigation

Expert advice and opinion can be important components of negotiation and litigation strategies.  According to one study, expert witnesses were used in more than 80% of the jury trials in civil matters, particularly because so many cases involve matters of science and engineering. Construction dispute attorneys in Riverside County can advise and assist you in determining whether your claim requires the assistance of an expert.

What is a forensic architect?

Buildings are structurally complex and can be costly to repair. Damage to even one system can harm the entire structure. In some cases, it is difficult to determine the cause of the failure and allocate responsibility for said failure. A forensic architect is one of the many kinds of experts who provide assistance with construction claims — from the causes of water intrusion and mold growth to the failure of underground lines, among other things. 

A forensic architect uses the principles and tools of  architecture, structural engineering and the chemistry of  building materials to investigate the cause of a building defect, make repair and restoration recommendations, and estimate costs. In some instances, shop drawings made by a contractor or by the manufacturer of a component provide detailed specifications and are sources of important information about the cause of the damage.

The forensic expert may testify at trial or may prepare reports to be used in alternative dispute resolution settings on behalf of any one of the parties affected by the damaged structure, including but not limited to owners, contractors and designers.

Using expert help to resolve construction issues      

Many things can go wrong during the construction process and thereafter. For example, a commercial maintenance firm recently filed a lawsuit against a construction company, demanding $350,000 in damages caused by a leaky roof in a FedEx facility. Leaky roofs can be costly and difficult to fix — design flaws, poor material and shoddy workmanship can cause or exacerbate the problem. Forensic architects use tools and techniques like infrared and nuclear thermography to detect moisture, locate the source of the leak and allocate responsibility among the various parties involved in the project. It takes experience to know when such expertise is necessary to solve the problem or to prepare for possible litigation. California construction law attorneys can help clients solve construction problems quickly. 

When construction problems present themselves, the construction attorneys at Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger efficiently provide effective solutions — outside of the courtroom and within.

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