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Pete Fowler, head of Pete Fowler Construction Services, Inc. (PFCS), provided an overview of his company’s process for making strategic decisions about the handling of construction defect (CD) claims, focusing on a return-on-investment viewpoint and on recent developments in CD litigation since PFCS was formed in 2011.

In essence, windows and water leakage are still a major target for CD claims. They are being installed in exposures they are not designed to handle, and there is a lack of focus on protecting windows in harsh climates. This is in the context of greater attention being paid to the wall drainage plane and the proper integration of all components, including fenestration. Also, a more recent development that has bearing on CD handling is the degree to which potentially liable parties are covered in wrap (or “wrap-up”) insurance policies – liability products that serve as all-encompassing insurance that protects contractors and subcontractors working on a large (in excess of $10 million) project.

Fowler noted that builders are becoming more sophisticated and proactive, employing independent quality control procedures. That, plus analytical tools such as the increasingly-pervasive Building Information Modeling (BIM) are resulting in quality improvement – which is actually present in all aspects of today’s economy.