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Water Ingress & Damp

Client: Joint venture investment consortium.
Situation: A 500 room beach front 5 star international hotel including 3 storeys of condominium apartments located in the Caribbean was under construction and approaching completion when the project was hit by a category 5 hurricane. The hurricane caused extensive damage to the project, partly as a result of wind speeds causing damage together with flying debris, and also as a result of the sea surge which flooded substantial parts of the island and flooded the entire site and ground floor, together with all of the contractor’s temporary accommodation and containers of materials. Furthermore, the intense rain fall flooded down through incomplete roof apertures, causing extensive water ingress in to the heart of the building. A dispute arose with the projects insurers as to the extent of work required to be remedied as a result of the hurricane, and concerning how such work could be differentiated from other work caused by failures of the D&B contractor in respect of either design or workmanship. Probyn Miers undertook a thorough and detailed analysis, advised on the position, and prepared expert reports for the ICC International Arbitral Tribunal. We also prepared a forensic video fly-through of the project in order to illustrate to the Arbitral Tribunal the full extent of water penetration in to the building.
 Action: Our investigations focused on numerous different aspects of the design and construction, including flat and pitched metal roofing, glazing and aluminium window systems, curtain walling, external walling and render, stone floor tiling, and integration of M&E.
 Result: The case ultimately settled during the hearing.

 

Client: Insurers for the architects
Situation: A Cambridge University college had commissioned a new library which was designed and constructed to achieve a lifespan in excess of 100 years. The roof was substantially clad in lead, using high quality materials throughout. After Practical Completion, problems arose in relation to water ingress which gave rise to a check on the design of the library roof. This in turn led to concerns for the rainwater drainage capacity of the roof in the event of heavy storms. Probyn Miers was commissioned by the insurers of the architect to investigate the position and to report on the design and construction of the roof.
Action: In conjunction with the other parties’ experts we investigated the design and had various parts of the roof opened up for further inspection in order to ascertain the construction. This ultimately led to the roof being stripped and fully redesigned and relayed.
Result: The dispute was ultimately settled by negotiation.

 

Client: Building insurer.
Situation: A dispute arose between a property owner and a building insurer about the scope and level of losses covered by an insurance policy following the discovery of extensive defects in a recently purchased house.  Probyn Miers was required to provide an opinion on standards achieved in design and workmanship, and to analyse a range of defects and areas of damage.
Action: Probyn Miers was appointed as architect to identify and analyse the defects and to consider alternative strategies for remedial works, including inverted roofs and pressurised roofs, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Result: The case settled before trial.

 

Client: Solicitors for the Parochial Church Council
Situation: A timber platform was erected on the church’s wood block floor.  After completion, the platform’s timber surface started to deform, and eventually had to be removed.  The cause was identified as a high level of moisture inside the platform, which was then entirely removed.  The moisture had caused damage and rotting to the underlying wood block floor.  The Parochial Church Council sought advice concerning how the defect might have arisen and whether any party might be held liable for the costs of repairing the floor and replacing the platform.
Action: Probyn Miers examined the relevant documents and drawings, visited the site and took measurements of damp, temperature and humidity.  In common with older buildings generally the church and its floor were not of damp-proof construction and relied on natural evaporation from interior surfaces to moderate dampness.
Result: Probyn Miers identified the most probable and predominant cause of the excessive moisture as being the suppression of evaporation from the floor by the overlying platform structure, the interior of which was inadequately ventilated.

 

Client: Film Director
Situation: A seafront award-winning private house was beset by problems of water ingress through the external glazing and walling, through the ground and through the roof. We conducted an extensive review of the design and construction, including opening up certain areas of the building, in order to arrive at an understanding of the routes and causes of water ingress. Several tests were undertaken in the presence of experts for other parties in the dispute.
Action: Our investigations included tanking, stainless steel framed glazing systems, under floor heating, contiguous piled retaining wall construction and Caltite construction, and other roofing and water proofing.
Result: The case went to trial in Ireland and settled shortly after the commencement of the trial.

 

Client: Solicitors for architect and PI insurers
Situation: New accommodation had been built for a well-known secondary school with a large residential campus in the south of England.  Water ingress occurred around window openings and through brickwork features.  The Claimant was mainly concerned with faulty construction by the Contractor, but also alleged faulty design and inadequate inspection by the architect.
Action: Probyn Miers was appointed to give expert opinion.  This raised issues of brickwork detailing and weathering and the extent of the architect’s inspection duties.  Probyn Miers prepared a report for the client.
Result: The case was settled at mediation.

 

Client: Solicitor – property owner.
Situation: The Property owner purchased a flat on the ground floor of the property shortly after it was completed in 2006. After a period of time damp appeared in the kitchen, the external wall, the entrance hall and bathroom and in the bedroom. The damp gradually developed to the point where the flat became uninhabitable.
Action: Prpbyn Miers carried out a site inspection and prepared a preliminary report. The report concluded that the damp might be the result of one major failure of the building fabric in the kitchen area, or the result of separate failures in each of the affected areas. Further the report proposed two courses of action to establish the source, or sources of the problems.Probyn Miers suggested that investigation should be carried out by a competent contractor acting under the instructions of the managing agents and provided the client with a suggested draft of a letter to them.
Result: No further action was required from Probyn Miers

 

Client: Solicitor – property owner.
Situation: The Property owner purchased a flat on the ground floor of the property shortly after it was completed in 2006. After a period of time damp appeared in the kitchen, the external wall, the entrance hall and bathroom and in the bedroom. The damp gradually developed to the point where the flat became uninhabitable.
Action: Probyn Miers carried out a site inspection and prepared a preliminary report. The report concluded that the damp might be the result of one major failure of the building fabric in the kitchen area, or the result of separate failures in each of the affected areas. Further the report proposed two courses of action to establish the source, or sources of the problems.

Probyn Miers suggested that investigation should be carried out by a competent contractor acting under the instructions of the managing agents and provided the client with a suggested draft of a letter to them.

Result: No further action was required from Probyn Miers.


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