What’s to Prevent a Repeat of 2006 Failures in South Florida’s 2016 Construction Boom?

By George DuBose & Donald Snell on August 25, 2016


The immediate future looks bright for South Florida as it basks in a revival of new construction. But Florida-based Liberty Building Forensics Group (LBFG) cautions designers, engineers, and contractors not to let history repeat itself.

 A significant number of condo projects built in Miami in the early 2000’s ended in litigation due to building failures such as new product failures, humidity and mold problems, air conditioning failures, and even falling stucco off the building. Despite being a lengthy, costly, and hostile learning method, litigation is unfortunately construction’s only true form of feedback.

Building complexity and costs have not decreased since 2006, nor have risks gone down. Designers and sub-contractors have not become more insightful and proactive about the underlying causes of failures, either. In fact, today’s buildings are larger, bolder, more complex, costlier, and more susceptible than ever to failure.

 Projects are at greater risk in this fast-paced market, with developers using out-of-region architects and builders who lack knowledge about unique construction challenges and risks of mold and moisture problems that warm, humid climates pose.

 Liberty’s experts believe that only by embracing the mistakes of the past and properly managing risk can we build better structures in the future. As Italian philosopher George Santayana once said, “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute…no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained… infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

 A recognized leader in solving, remediating, and litigating complex moisture and mold-related building failures, Liberty has extensive expertise in investigating and resolving construction and design deficiencies. This includes over 30 years of successfully assisting the Disney Corporation in completing over 500 highly complex construction projects worldwide; as well as successfully resolving the largest moisture/mold problem in the last 20 years and recovering $60MM+ in repair costs for the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

 Liberty staff have authored 3 manuals that are currently serving as industry standards for avoiding and resolving mold and moisture problems, including both the NCARB training monograph used by architects worldwide and Disney’s in-house design guidelines. Liberty has assisted clients in recovering over $500 million through its proven ability to understand and apportion complex moisture-related insurance claims and then to effectively communicate its findings to a judge or jury.