Engineers: Claims

Elevation Error

A civil engineering firm was retained by an architect to provide an elevation survey for a boathouse project on one of the Great Lakes. The boathouse owner insisted that the structure be located as close to the water as possible, despite the engineer cautioning the owner against doing so, because of the potential danger posed by “storm surge”. After the piers were drilled and the initial grading completed, the owner had a change of heart. He directed that the structure be located 25 feet further from water. Further, he proceeded to insist that the engineer pay for $500,000 in additional costs on the grounds that they did not adequately inform the owner of the potential danger from the storm surge.

Sinking House

A structural engineer was retained to design the foundation for a single family home in the Rocky Mountain region. The engineer’s design was based on a soils report prepared by a geotechnical engineer retained by the contractor. Approximately six months after the house was completed, the floor slab began to experience differential settlement throughout the house. Doors and windows were out of plumb and there were extensive cracking in the floors, walls and ceilings. It appears the house was built upon an ancient slide plane that was not detected by the geotechnical engineer during his investigation.

Gas Explosion

A civil engineer was hired to design a new water line for a city water system. The new line was located near various other utility lines. The engineer was hired to provide on site monitoring of the placement of the new line. On the day the engineer was watching the placement of the water line, another contractor was smoking a cigarette at the same time the gas line was breached. An explosion resulted and the employee suffered burns over 70% of his body. Suit was brought against all of the parties involved on the construction project.