Construction Litigation – Are You Covered?
In the old days, buildings were built, inspectors inspected, facilities facilitated and everyone lived happily ever after. Fast-forward to today, and there’s a growing dynamic in the mix: lawsuits.
Construction projects today are built within an increasingly litigious environment. Transparency and accountability are essential on a jobsite and builders who don’t have proof of how the work was done are taking on all the risks.
In an age when rework and dispute costs continue to rise, more and more construction professionals are realizing that third-party visual documentation can help get them out of costly and time-consuming jams.
Multivista, the global leader in visual construction documentation since 2003, recently worked with Cervasio on construction of Grove at Grand Bay, a pair of sleek, glass-and-steel residential towers in Miami, Florida. We sat down to chat with Mr. Cervasio about building with Multivista’s service and software.
Multivista: You said that having our services on-site is like having a “safety net,” can you elaborate?
Jon Cervasio: It’s that service of verification. Because when we are moving at the speed of our aggressive schedules, and we know you guys are shooting and capturing this stuff it frees us to move as fast as we can. And when the inspectors inspect we know we are protected, we have an added safety net through Multivista—that the work was captured. And that is a big deal mentally and gives us the ability to concentrate on moving forward.
Jon: Here’s a situation: We had a group that was hired by the owner’s rep that handled third-party inspection for MEPs. They came back after we had already sheet-rocked and were on the 14th or 15th floor and said they needed to personally inspect all our plumbing shut-off valves. We ended up going through all our pictures that Multivista captured and showed them each floor as we went up. After about 8 floors they agreed that the pictures gave enough documentation that those valves were changed out as required. That was another big deal.
Multivista: What would have happened if you didn’t have those pictures?
Jon: If we didn’t have those pictures we would have had to go in and cut sheet rock on every floor. These were transition valves in areas that we wouldn’t have had access to, it was all covered up so it would have been expensive.
Multivista: Even though you were already past inspection the inspectors came back. Is this typical?
Jon: Yes, there is a statute here [in Florida] called 558 statute. And it became an issue because people can be sued and just because it is code doesn’t mean it’s right. It is about negligence and a lot of owners are hiring inspectors that are used to being in court. And if a qualified expert tells you it’s going to be a problem, even if it’s code, it can still come back to bite you. So having professional photographic construction documentation to prove certain things is big. We had a lot of these incidences happen on this current project. We were able to go back through pictures to prove ourselves to a third party even though it was already inspected and signed-off on at a local level.
Jon: We had to core concrete in areas we had banded post tension cables that were tied to the hat truss. We ended up taking quite a few samples, coring six to twelve different areas with post tension cables and didn’t hit anything because you guys captured everything and we knew where everything was. That saved us a ton of money, an absolute ton of money. If we would have hit any of those cables, we were in such a critical path, it could have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and repairs. At that juncture of the project with the hat truss involved, we would have been dead in the water.
Multivista: So the pictures are a safety net for you in more ways than one?
Jon: Yes, and not just for us. Inspectors are human too, they miss things. We’ve had them panic and say, “I need to look at this!” and then, “Oh good, Multivista’s out here, so we’ve got the pictures.” It helps everyone’s state of mind. It’s a safety net because at the end of it all, whoever has the most documentation wins.