Volume 50, Issue 9 - September 2015


Lawsuit Takes Aim at Alleged Spandrel Defects

Alleged defects in spandrel glass units on a newly completed mixed-use building in Portland, Ore., have prompted a lawsuit against the project’s contract glazier and glass supplier.

Building owner 12W RPO LLC is suing general contractor Hoffman Construction Co., contract glazier Benson Industries of Portland and glass fabricator Viracon Inc. for a collective $6 million to replace the units and cover the cost of lost rent at the 22-story building called The Indigo.

A complaint filed in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon alleges that after the completion of construction the owner “discovered the polyester metallic opacifier film adhered to the spandrel glass units installed in its building was defective in that it was separating and peeling away from the spandrel glass units, damaging the film, the spandrel glass units, and property exposed to sunlight through the damaged spandrel glass units.”

Claims for relief in the suit include strict products liability, negligent products liability and breach of warranty against all defendants, as well as a breach of contract against Hoffman.

The complaint alleges that the defendants were negligent in failing to manufacture, inspect and install the film properly and that the three parties are on the hook for the cost of remediation of the issues.

Factors considered in the estimated cost of remediation of the alleged damage include diagnosis, mitigation and the repair itself, as well as the loss of profits before and after the repair time frame, which the owner asserts will take “at least four calendar months.”

According to a report by the Oregonian, the glazing isn’t the only thing the plaintiffs have in sight. A day before filing this complaint, the owners filed a lawsuit against a supplier of plumbing parts for the building.

Both Viracon and Benson said they could not comment on pending legal matters.

Alleged spandrel defects at The Indigo have led to a lawsuit.

Oregon Seis-ing up its Schools

Legislative leaders in Oregon have allocated $300 million in bond funding for seismic upgrades and other safety improvements in K-12 schools throughout the state as part of the legislature’s $1.2 billion capital construction budget.

Senate president Peter Courtney of Salem says it’s the most money lawmakers have ever allotted for such projects—and it’s for a worthy cause.

“We know there will be a major quake,” Courtney said in a statement. “We know too many of our schools will collapse. These funds will help us fix our schools. These funds will save children’s lives.”

$175 million of the funding will go to the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program, which is used to make at-risk schools safer in the event of a major earthquake. A 2007 survey by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries found that more than 1,000 school buildings in Oregon were at high or very high risk of collapse in an earthquake, according to a release from Courtney’s office.

Darand A. Davies, president of Salem-based glazing contractor Dallas Glass in Salem, says that from his past experience, the glazing isn’t much affected in seismic upgrades. However, he adds that while he assumes this specific funding will be limited strictly to seismic work, “it is possible these seismic upgrades will go beyond just simple shoring of the building skeleton and will have a remodel component, as well.”

A remaining $125 million will be set aside to provide matching funds to assist school districts in making safety or other necessary improvements to aging school facilities. That potentially could include windows or glazing in some cases.

“Our property tax system makes it virtually impossible for some school districts to maintain or replace old and deteriorating school buildings on their own,” says Sen. Richard Devlin of Tualatin, co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee. “In 2010, voters gave the state the authority to assist school districts in their efforts. It’s an untraditional role for the state, but all of us have a responsibility to do what we can to see that all children are learning in a safe and secure environment.”

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