A Study of the Austonian
In Austin, the high-rise residential building called the Austonian was the tallest building in the city when it opened in 2010. The building is a striking piece on the Austin skyline and can be seen from miles away. The building houses luxury suites and penthouses with some of the highest values in the city.
Concrete Falls from a Balcony
In 2018, a six-foot concrete spall (a fragment from a larger object) fell from a residential balcony into the 10th-floor dog park. Thankfully no one was injured, but questions began to arise.
The homeowner’s association of the Austonian (ACA) hired an engineering firm to perform an inspection of the concrete in the residential balconies. The firm found that this incident was far from an anomaly and that all the balconies had been constructed in violation of code. The rebar had been extended too close to the edge of the concrete, creating a vulnerability for water to get in and expand the material. This construction defect was found to be universal across the entire building, not simply an isolated circumstance, and would need to be repaired.
What can Residents do if Construction Defects Surface?
In the Austonian case, the ACA filed a lawsuit against several of the construction firms that worked on the building’s construction. The construction firms named in the suit examined the original designs to find who was primarily at fault. While the firm that constructed the concrete balconies laid blame on an architectural firm that made changes to the initial design, the claims were not substantiated.
The ACA sought to receive payments that would cover the repair costs, an estimated $13 million, as well as litigation fees incurred from the suit. The matter was settled outside of court for an undisclosed amount. While this story might sound like a homeowner’s association being quick to litigate, they ultimately made a prudent decision to bring the matter to court before anyone was hurt due to construction defects.
My New Purchase has Construction Defects
Do you find yourself in a similar situation to the Austonian example above?
Construction defects are, unfortunately, more common than you might think. However, builders should be held to high safety and construction standards to ensure that no one gets hurt due to poor quality materials or poor workmanship.
Although the Austonian’s construction defects may have resulted in design errors rather than the ineffectiveness of materials or workmanship, the errors were found to be widespread throughout the building. Since building codes were violated, this gave the residents grounds to pursue litigation.
Defects Discovered after Construction
All defects might not be discovered right away, because many aren’t obvious to the naked or untrained eye. In this case, for instance, we see that the Austonian was built in 2010, but the concrete defect wasn’t discovered until the incident occurred in 2018.
However, whenever it’s discovered that a building has construction defects or possible defects, it is best to act swiftly and investigate the matter. A large piece of falling concrete could have severely injured someone if the repairs had been delayed.
How to File a Construction Defect Lawsuit
Richards Rodriguez & Skeith are staffed with experienced real estate lawyers to help assess your situation and move quickly into litigation if necessary. Filing a construction defect lawsuit should be handled by experts that can accurately evaluate your case and work efficiently and cost-effectively to resolve the situation. Contact Richards Rodriguez & Skeith today with your construction concerns.