Polaris Forensics


Inevitably, construction activities do not always go as planned. Things fail; concrete cracks; concrete placement issues arise. Whatever the case might be, Polaris experts have the capabilities to diagnose the problem, its severity, and whether it presents a long-term or immediate concern. Polaris experts can also provide repair recommendations and repair drawings to mitigate identified issues.  In the event that problems or disagreements cannot be settled and legal action ensues, Polaris experts have vast experience providing litigation support and can continue work throughout the lawsuit.

Construction Defect Litigation

Polaris was engaged as an expert in a lawsuit pertaining to construction defects at a recently constructed multi-story hotel structure in Texas. Our team of experts evaluated the structure and identified various deficiencies and failures of the contractor and its subcontractors to construct the hotel in accordance with the construction drawings and specifications, including improper installation of exterior masonry veneer, lack of proper roof drainage, electrical equipment omissions, and inadequate acoustical protections/assemblies.  Of particular note were two deficiencies—improper location of sanitary plumbing lines and improper construction of fire-rated assemblies.

The design of the structure included chases within the restrooms through which the plumbing lines were to be installed.  The plumbing subcontractor and the general contractor unilaterally decided to install the sanitary plumbing lines within the cavity of a demising wall instead of within the chases.  Although the performance of the plumbing system was not affected by this change, the change resulted in the installation of the plumbing lines in the wall that was located directly behind the headboards of the beds within the guestrooms.  Shortly after its grand opening, the hotel began to experience complaints from occupants regarding plumbing noises that would wake them up throughout the night.  

According to the construction drawings, furring walls were to be installed at the exterior ends of each of the guestroom demising walls for aesthetic purposes.  The construction drawings contained details for constructing these furring walls in accordance with the applicable building code; however, the actual construction of the walls did not meet building code requirements.  The as-built furring wall assemblies resulted in a condition in which code-required fire-rated partitions were not provided between the guestrooms (i.e., dwelling units).  

Experts retained by the other parties in the lawsuit attempted to establish that the as-built furring walls did in fact meet the requirements of the applicable building code; however, these experts’ analysis of the code provisions was incorrect.  Polaris was able to conclusively establish that the code provisions cited by the opposing experts were being improperly applied to the as-built furring walls.  Polaris’s positions regarding the furring walls were later affirmed by the International Code Council (ICC), the organization which published the applicable building code.  

The opposing attorneys took the deposition of Polaris’s expert as part of this project.  The expert was able to clearly define the analysis performed, the deficiencies identified, and the reasons why the work performed by the contractor and its subcontractors failed to meet the requirements of the construction documents and applicable building code.  The case settled shortly after the expert’s deposition.

Deficient Fire-Rated Partition

Deficient Fire-Rated Partition

Deficient Fire-Rated Partition

Improper Plumbing Installation

“With so many options for experts, I know I can count on Polaris for an accurate and impartial report. Plus, their service is timely and within budget.”

- Harry H.

General Property Adjuster, Insurance Carrier