Hiring The Right Experts

Hiring the Right Expert Can Make or Break a Construction Defect Case

  • Solid, direct evidence from independent and experienced experts gives an attorney the winning edge.
  • A proven team of experts working together with the attorney facilitating negotiations and encouraging settlement.

Written Agreements Between HOA Attorneys and Experts

  • Your attorney, on behalf of the client, should recommend and retain the expert.
  • Should define the scope of work, estimate the time required, and the range of anticipated consultant costs.
  • Allow for deviations in the work, which may fluctuate upon findings during investigation.
  • Provide for a method for invoicing and payment.

Finding the "Right Expert" With Solid Credentials

  • Construction defect attorneys who know experts from prior experience;
  • Industry organizations such as California Association of Community Managers (CACM), Community Associations Institute (CAI), or Executive Counsel of Homeowners (ECHO);
  • Other proven experts are often in a position to provide current references;
  • Mediators or retired judges who commonly handle defect claims.

Objectives of an Investigation By Experts

  • Identify nature and extent of the violations of statutory (CA Civ. C. 896) building standards, deviation from plans or construction industry standards, improper building materials or products, or building code violations;
  • Determine possible causes of the problems by:
    • Reviewing original design and construction documents
    • Referring to the building codes and industry standards
    • Review selected product and material publications
    • Reviewing the building repair receipts and maintenance records
    • Site inspection, owner surveys, and onsite testing
    • Consulting residential standards (CA Civ. C. 896)
  • Recommending repair options:
    • Responsible repairs
    • Permanent solutions
    • Tested products

List of Experts Typically Retained

  • Architect and Building Performance Standards Expert
    • Exterior building envelope
    • Waterproof integrity of structures
    • Roofs and penetrations in roofs
    • Exterior finishes
    • Below grade waterproofing
    • Coordinate of the overall investigation
  • Soils Engineers:  Analysis of the Ground Conditions, Landslides and Ground Water
    • Geotechnical Engineer
    • Geologist
    • Hydrologist
  • Structural Engineers
    • Vertical and lateral load-carrying systems of the building
    • Repair design for foundations and stability structures
  • Civil Engineer
    • Site grading and drainage
    • Development of topographic surveys
    • Utilities such as water and sewer from five feet outside the edge of the building
  • Landscape Architect
    • Landscaping
    • Irrigation
    • Drainage
    • Fine grading
  • Mechanical Engineer
    • Heating
    • Ventilating
    • Air Conditioning
    • Plumbing to five feet outside the building line
    • Boilers
  • Electrical Engineer
    • Electrical distribution and lighting (both inside and outside the building)
  • Cost Estimator
    • Development of cost estimates
    • Costs based on repair recommendations provided by the other consultants
  • Specialty Consultants
    • Corrosion engineers
    • Acoustical engineers
    • Materials specialists
    • Testing engineers
    • Roofing consultants
    • Windows consultants
    • Pest control and wood specialists
    • Industrial Hygienist
    • Waterproofing (decks, windows, sliding glass doors, skylights)
  • Typical Services Experts Perform
    • Consult with clients and client's agents
    • Perform field investigation
    • Review construction documents
    • Research technical literature
    • Prepare repair recommendations reports
    • Meet and interface with the cost of repair estimator expert
    • Meeting with other consultants on the case
    • Prepare for, attend, and review depositions
    • Attend settlement conferences and mediations
    • Trial testimony
    • Other assignments assigned by the client, the court, or the mediator