Plugging the Leaks on Lawsuits: Practical Advice for Window Manufacturers, Curtain Wall and Glazing Companies
I look forward to seeing many of you at the 2017 AAMA Summer Conference in Rhode Island! For those of you that have heard me preach around the country about the numerous litigation risks and challenges that fenestration companies face, you know that there is a healthy list of topics that should keep you up at night. Warranties. Field inspections. Testing. Specifications. Shop drawings. Insurance. Document retention polices. Defense counsel. Installation. The list goes on. Failing to have a working knowledge of the various landmines that must be avoided is a recipe for disaster.
For over 17 years of assisting fenestration companies in navigating the treacherous waters of litigation risks, I consistently see two primary landmines folks continue to step on. Installation and insurance.
We all know that our products are only as good as the wall system they are installed in. We all know that the lynchpin of any wall system is the harmonizing of dissimilar materials. Installation is the beginning and the end of our products meeting design specifications. Yet time and time again, fenestration companies fail or refuse to keep their finger on the “installation pulse.”
They do not actively participate in project-to-project installation guidelines. They do not require field testing of mock ups, testing the entire wall system as it is going to be constructed. Saving a few thousand dollars up front can cost you hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, in litigation down the road.
Every year, insurance brokers remind fenestration executives it is time to renew the various insurance products in place. It typically is a “cost” analysis only. Commercial General Liability policies are critical to help you weather any storm when it arrives. Almost no one fully reads and understands how the policies are applied in practice. They don’t walk through how claims are processed. They are unaware of the numerous ways insurance companies make mistakes and potentially commit bad faith when “protecting” your company. They don’t understand that having a broker with an intimate understanding of the fenestration industry is important to best protect your assets and enable you to handle the “bet-the-company” litigation.
As such, please join me at the AAMA Summer Conference in Rhode Island on June 21 to discuss installation and insurance issues. Knowledge is power. And gaining knowledge to avoid two of the largest landmines fenestration companies step on time and time again will not only make your company stronger, it will make our industry stronger.
Let’s plug the leaks on lawsuits together!