In 2018, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was retained by a group of unit owners at a prominent new construction condominium in lower Manhattan. There were numerous defects in the construction of their 150-unit building. The sponsor still controlled the board of managers and had only been performing band-aid repairs. The issues ranged from missing firestopping, façade defects, and ventilation issues to poor quality window and hardwood floor installations.
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. jumped into action to assist the group of unit owners in getting their building fixed using a protocol that Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. has successfully implemented on myriad buildings.
The first step was to engage an engineer, on behalf of the client, to conduct a top-to-bottom building investigation. The purpose of having Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. retain the engineer instead of the client is to preserve the confidentiality of the findings.
Once the engineer was retained, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. assisted the client in arranging access for the engineer throughout the building and individual units that were experiencing issues. This process typically takes a number of months, depending on the size of the building.
Next, the engineer prepared a comprehensive forensic report detailing each of the issues, ranging from more severe (life safety issues) to less severe (cosmetic issues). Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. then reviewed the report and worked with the engineer to make it as persuasive as possible, before sending it along with a Notice of Claim letter to the building’s sponsor/developer.
From that point, given our firm’s reputation, the sponsor is generally quick to commence repairing the building. In this case, the sponsor fixed nearly all of the issues identified in the engineering report. This was a major win for our client and saved the building hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars in repairs that it would have otherwise had to take on itself.
Had the sponsor not taken on the repairs after receiving the engineering report, we would have engaged in settlement meetings with the parties, engineers and attorneys for both sides present. This is often a step we take in settling construction defect cases, as it enables the parties and, more importantly, their respective engineers, the opportunity to sit down and discuss the defects and agree on next steps for each (i.e., additional probes, testing, and/or sponsor’s agreement to fix by a date certain).