Helping Quality Builders Help Themselves
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Being safe on the job is an ongoing concern we hear about all the time.  Who is responsible, what makes a site safe, and how to go about being in compliance with OSHA are all topics which have been addressed over and over again but with all the chatter, are sites really any safer?  Construction activity on a job-site is inherently dangerous work.  Think of all the safety concerns you encounter during construction of a typical 5 story building, demolition, grading, shoring, rebar placement, vault construction, fall protections, VOC gases, confined spaces, chemical exposure, the list is very extensive.  As we at BPG go around the country looking at quality on construction sites, we have seen a big lapse in on site job safety practices and have noted a lot more accidents and near misses than in years past.

Some of this can be directly attributed to the reduction in on site supervision as staffing levels have been reduced to save costs, but not all.  Many sub-contractors are using unskilled or untrained labor to perform,  developers are insisting the general contractor to provide safe practices onsite when in reality, he is focused on his production schedule and material list to secure ROI.  In the past, superintendents were the front line of safety performance.  If you came onto a job and did not report directly to the construction office you were in trouble.  Today, we move about the entire site and are rarely even challenged much less inspected to ensure we are compliant with job site safety rules.

OSHA requires each job site to have a minimum compliance consisting of at least: IIPP, Code of Safe Practices, federal and state notifications, fall protection plans, accident prevention plans, fire protection, basic first aid and PPE plans.  These plans and procedures work when they are implemented and enforced and greatly increase the awareness and seriousness of being safe on the job.  We all deserve a safe workplace, let’s give the superintendents the time and manpower needed to create, manage, and enforce these safety methodologies so we can all go home to our families at the end of the day!

1. New penetrations into the shell of the building.

  • Solar panels and wind technologies which have to be bolted into the shell and rooftops
  • Gardens on the rooftop and courtyards for the heat island reduction and optimized energy credits associated with vegetative roofs and waste water design criteria.
  • Day lighting the interior courtyards (including how to drain these newly formed areas) special concern on structural calculation, waste water, ventilation, site drainage, and effect on soils.
  • Fresh air intakes for HVAC and air exchange ventilation.  Many of the LEED credits focus on make-up air and ventilation rates which aim to increase the indoor air exchange rates per ASHREA standards which create a lot more penetrations in the shell.

2. Brown fields

  • Remediation and EPA certification
  • Non-permeable membranes which condense and consolidate petroleum gases and liquids
  • Soil contamination and extraction
  • Compaction of non native soils
  • Main concern on a LEED project of this type is the actual remediation which is to take place.  If the project site is defined as a brownfield under EPA’s definition, then there must be circumstances under the soil which the EPA has identified as dangerous to the environment and must be remedied prior to further development.  Having someone verify the steps and a measure to successfully account for the remediation is crucial to the project’s risk profile.

3. Non compatible materials

  • Due to the use of recycled materials (glass, plastic, wood, metal) do they have a chemical compatibility with one another?
  • Reuse of existing materials with new materials.  How do they intercept one another ie. Fittings, threads, existing chases, etc…
  • A major goal of LEED is to reuse materials to reduce transportation costs and virgin materials.  Sometimes in seeking these valuable credits, project owners may re-use materials which would be better suited to be thrown out with regard to risk.

4. Water reclamation

  • Parking water, does this drain into the grey water system?
  • Nuisance water and run-off.  Where is this being collected and how does the site drainage account for the large amounts of water if not allowed to shed off the property.  LEED seeks to limit the amount of water which flows off the project by collecting the water on-site by increasing the perviousness of the project site.  Great care should be considered in how this water is to be stored and what effects it may have on the underlying soil.
  • Detention basins
  • LEED gives credits for recycling waste water either for landscaping purposes or sanitary purposes.  These systems are complicated and require the mechanical engineer to take into account public utility systems, on-site facilities, usage rates, occupancy requirements, natural systems, blackwater, greywater, and treated waste water among others.  All of these systems must function in accordance with state and federal codes.

5. Sound attenuation

  • A major concern is the reuse of existing walls and floor systems.  Most projects which are designed as work/live are being constructed on an existing core and shell.  These buildings are older, and not designed for sound issues.  Care must be taken to ensure sound transfer of the plumbing, HVAC, and common walls.
  • Site selection credits aim to place projects in urban areas close to public transportation such as light rail, subway, and bus stops.  This adds to the ambient noise pollution of building residents.

6. Fire Suppression Systems

  • LEED requires the use of no Halons be used in the fire suppression systems or any Ozone Depleting Potential.  The mechanical engineer must account for this in his design.

Human nature

    • In an honest effort to chase possible points and credits under the program, developers, designers, and contractors are being put under pressure to perform to standards unfamiliar to them at best.

New International Building Codes® (IBC) are being released this summer to be in effect in January 2012.  Among the many changes to the codes are substantial Structural Code changes in wind design and terminology as well as modifications to seismic provisions.  The International Residential Code is setting new prescriptive design for whole-house ventilation.  The last IBC code books were released in 2008 and went into effect in January 2009.  These changes could have substantial effect on permit approval especially on projects which were approved under the old standard and stalled out due to economic reasons.  Many municipal jurisdictions require sites to perform to current standards when seeking a building permit.  Essentially, if the project stalled for any considerable amount of time, the new standards could be required before the construction permit is issued requiring re-submission of building plans to the municipality or local building official.

For our field inspectors, this three year code cycle is often very confusing as many project sites are grandfathered in or under the last cycle as plans were submitted years ago before the new standards were adopted.  BPG inspectors work closely with project managers and architects to ensure code compliance and plan conformance when conducting an inspection and strive to stay current on their knowledge of local and state requirements.   Our engineers who perform our structural and architectural plan review prior to construction routinely send our inspectors field updates and code clarification notices to help keep the field informed.

Just another factor to be considered when insurance underwriters are considering take over projects or rehabilitation projects.  These new requirements may require extensive demolition of existing structures to be code compliant and may expand the original scope of proposed work.

What is a Wrap?

A Wrap, also known as an OCIP (Owner-Controlled Insurance Policy), is a commercial general liability insurance policy issued for a specific project which includes coverage for the builder/developer, general contractor, and subcontractors performing trade work on the project. It will typically include third-party liability coverage for the period of time the construction project is going on, as well as extended “construction defect” coverage for the structures once they have been completed and sold, for a period of up to ten years post-construction.

Why Are There Wraps?

Construction projects involve many companies… developers, general contractors, trade subcontractors, architects, engineers, and material suppliers, among others. Historically each of these companies would provide some level of insurance to the project. Logically this made sense… if a loss happened as a result of one sub’s work, for example, their insurance should kick in to fix the problem. However, due to the large number of companies involved in a construction project, in conjunction with variations in how the insurance policies were written and interpreted by the courts, the concept of “divide and conquer” took center stage.

As construction defect claims began to hit the court system, insurance companies and attorneys adopted the position of “every man for himself.” This especially became a problem on residential projects where there were multiple homeowners involved, for example condo, townhouse and large subdivisions. Homeowner associations sued builders who sued subs who sued suppliers… you know where it went. Insurance companies for the general contractors and subcontractors quickly began to exclude coverage for work done on these types of projects, and as a result developers couldn’t find general contractors or subcontractors who could do the work.

Why do Participants need to provide proof Insurances to Enroll?

General Liability- Why this is needed for Wrap Enrollment: To show evidence/proof of GL coverage for all other projects outside of this project. Your Evidence/Proof of Insurance is for records only. This evidence/proof will help protect the Wrap Insurance Policy for any work done outside/away from this Project Site/Location. The OCIP will not infringe upon your other commercial GL policy.

Workers’ Compensation- Why this is needed for Wrap Enrollment: To show evidence/proof that employers are protected/covered for any workplace accidents that could happen to one of their employees while working on this or any other projects for your company.

Auto Liability Insurance- Why this is needed for Wrap Enrollment- To show evidence/proof that any/all automobiles are covered in case any accidents should occur while driving to and from the Project Site/Location. Your Evidence/Proof of Insurance is only for our records only.

Wrap Administrator Services

BPG will enroll all trades and potential insured’s for the Project Wrap-Up Insurance Policy, providing all information regarding same to the Project Wrap-Up Insurance carrier and insurance packages to all Project enrollees.

  • Work with General Contractor and Subcontractors to understand the program, its benefits, and each participant’s role and responsibility.
  • Collect all requisite documents per the requirements of the insurance company and verify the validity of each document to help maintain compliance.
  • Issue Certificates of Enrollment to each successfully enrolled participant, acknowledging their compliance with the insurance company’s guidelines for enrollment eligibility.
  • Work closely with your broker and insurance company to ensure thorough communication and get any of your questions answered in an expeditious manner.

Insurance underwriters evaluate the risks and exposures of potential clients. They decide whether to accept risk and offer insurance, the extent of coverage the client should be offered and the premium they should pay for it.  Underwriting measures exposure and the commensurate premium required to provide equitable returns to all parties.  The primary function of an underwriter is to acquire— “write”—business that will make the insurance company profit, and to protect the company’s book of business from risks that they feel will make a loss. In simple terms, it is the process behind the eventual issuance of insurance policies.

Each insurance company has its own set of underwriting guidelines to help the underwriter determine whether or not to accept a risk. The information used to evaluate the risk of an applicant for insurance is dependent on the type of coverage involved.  The variables that insurers assess in order to classify risks should be objective, clearly related to the eventual cost of providing coverage, practical to administer, capable of financial assessment, consistent with applicable law, and designed to protect the long-term viability of the insurance program.

In certain situations underwriters may decline a risk or alternatively provide a quotation in which the offer has been increased in price and/or various exclusions have been stipulated, which restrict the circumstances under which a claim would be paid.  Depending on the type of insurance product (line of business), insurance companies use automated underwriting systems to encode these rules, and reduce the amount of manual work in processing quotations and policy issuance. This is almost exclusively the case for life assurance or personal lines (auto, homeowners) insurance.

To assist underwriters who write real estate, product liability, general liability, and construction policies, Builders Protection Group, LLC (BPG) has launched a new service designed specifically to assist the assessment of risk exposures.   In partnership with our national and international insurance carrier clients, we pro-actively support the underwriting process with onsite physical and safety inspection services, risk assessment interviews with on and offsite personnel, detailed loss reporting compilation of liability claims profiles and assessing construction management profiles.

All of these factors strengthen the underwriting and decision making process providing the carrier an informed profile of the applicant.   It is our goal to provide direct assistance to underwriters seeking to evaluate an applicant to further assess the adequacy of premium or need for additional terms or exclusions.

Since 2002, BPG has conducted thousands of risk assessments of builders, owners, general and sub contractors and real estate projects all across America, conducting both onsite inspections and providing insurance administrative services.  During this period we have become one of the nation’s premier construction risk management consultants serving insurance carriers, brokers, owners, and developers.   BPG is using this experience to enhance the underwriting process by providing the underwriter in a service provider capacity responding to predetermined and bespoke requirements.  We understand that no two risks are the same as there are a multitude of variables to each proposal.   It is also our goal to provide an overall economic benefit to the insurance transaction by lowering the eventual claim and associated costs payout of any insured event in addition to our value added proposals to our carrier partners.  By conducting these onsite inspections and interviews, BPG can further define the landscape of the insured risk and the hazards associated with the proposal.   The enhanced due diligence provides the potential for more informed risk decisions ensuring increased and profitable markets share for our carrier clientele.

BPG has been asked on numerous occasions to evaluate various products, and project sites to assist in the decision making process.  Projects have included large infrastructure development such as federal bridge work, roadway construction, health care facilities and hospitals, and pre manufactured assemblies.  This service takes a big leap in the underwriting process by sending our risk managers to the site to view firsthand the operation, management, site conditions, safety, legal profile, and overall exposure of an applicant.  Our services are designed to cater for general and products liability exposures whether of manufacturer, sub or general contractors, project specific origin.

BPG does not replace the underwriter in the evaluation process. We serve them as an additional instrument to evaluate and assess the risks involved in the complex task of providing a superior overall profile of each applicant and project specifics.

By engaging BPG our partner will be provided with the following services:

1.       Risk review and assessment.

Areas of Review:

  • Operations
  • Risk Management
  • Loss Control & Safety
  • Management Succession Plan
  • Insurance Details/Limits of insurance
  • Outstanding Contractual Exposures
  • Exposure From Completed Operations
  • Records Practices
  • Exposure From Workers’ Compensation
  • Employee Training
  • Contractor Selection Practices

a.       Physical Damage and Liability from Automobile

2.       Site inspection of the project site or plant facilities (random and scheduled).

3.       Safety inspections (random and scheduled).

4.       Review of key project documents (hydrology reports, soil reports, architectural and structural plans, review of site recommendations and verification)

As Wrap administrators, we here at BPG get a lot of questions when attempting to enroll sub-contractors into a Wrap insurance policy.  The primary question proposed to us is “why should I have to enroll when I have my own insurance?”  The answer most of the time is individual sub-contractors do not have appropriate coverage to work on these types of large projects and/or they have policy exclusions in their own general liability coverage which prevents them from performing work on the type of projects traditionally covered by a Wrap such as multi-family construction.

The next question usually is “how much is this going to cost me?”  This question is a little more complex as different project owners handle the cost of the policy in different ways.  Some owners will share the burden of costs with all trades on a risk profile percentage.  In this scenario, trades who have the most risk and exposure contribute more than trades who are less at risk,  such as clean up trades or appliance installers.  Other owners base the contribution amount on contract amounts and existing general liability rates provided by the sub-contractors.  In addition, we have seen some project owners absorb the entire cost of the policy themselves.  There are numerous ways in which owners and sub-contractors calculate the costs involved, but the bottom line is that in most cases the cost of providing the insurance for the project is typically shared by all involved including owners, designers, general contractors, and sub-contractors.  Enrollment into a Wrap policy does not increase a sub-contractors individual general liability rates away from the Wrap project as the contract amount is not going to affect the individual GL rate.  Work performed under the Wrap is separate than that performed under an individual policy.  Often we advise sub-contractors to discuss this with their insurance agents for more clarification.

Given the present economic environment and the perilous state of the construction insurance market, why should insurance professionals engage third party inspection companies to assist their writing of construction business?

The obvious answer is to diminish the risk of potential construction defect claims, but the answer is more complex than that.  Third party inspection is a general term used by insurance professionals to describe a multitude of services and service providers who in one way or another provide risk mitigation services.  These services vary from quality control, site safety inspections, wrap administration and insurance compliance, engineering services, and legal review just to name a few.  Many insurance carriers utilize these services during the underwriting process, vertical construction, and project close out to assist their monitoring and reporting of exposure to litigation and to help assist loss control on written construction business ranging from single family housing, to large infrastructure projects all across the country.

Historically, construction defects and poor quality workmanship performed on site were areas that insurance companies had ordinarily relied on third party inspectors to ascertain and correct.  Companies were dependant on their internal underwriting procedures to assess the associated risks with offering coverage and premium costs when quoting a specific project at the onset.  To some degree, certain carriers mandated third party site inspection as a last ditch effort to control quality and to create an additional line of communication to the carrier to report on site conditions which may cause future claims.  In other cases, the carrier may waive the requirement of onsite inspection altogether, relying upon the general contractor or the owner’s internal quality assurance and control program.   As the insurance market has become competitive and expenditures are being squeezed, underwriters have had to reduce their associated costs to be able to offer the most competitive quotes in order to secure the policy and to remain profitable.  Consequently, many carriers now waive the requirement of onsite inspection to ‘save’ costs, placing more emphasis on their initial underwriting procedures to evaluate the associated risks involved.  Each carrier has their own formula for calculating associated risks, however this method rarely includes onsite visitation with little or no oversight of the actual vertical construction process.

The decision to waive the onsite inspection process may prove to be a benefit to cut initial expenses, but it will undoubtedly cost the insurance company as well as the owners, design team, and general contractor in the long run.  Construction defect claims have risen across the country particularly in California, Florida, Nevada, Colorado and New York. Current figures place the annual costs of construction claims to exceed a billion dollars annually in punitive damages and legal fees in the residential construction market alone.  While not all of these costs are covered by the insurance policy, the project owners and designers do have a stake in these claims.  As a result, projects have become more difficult to insure as well as the provisions of the policy have become increasingly restrictive, for example, environmental exclusions, prior work exclusions, course of construction coverage vs. completed operations coverage, placement of multiple policies with the same Insurer (for example, general liability and automobile) etc.  Individual factors influence the “base rate” such as loss histories, errors and omissions policies carried by the design team, safety records and a host of other factors all of which must be taken into account by the underwriter providing a policy quote.

As the housing market in America began to collapse in the recent economic recession, many significant carriers largely reduced their homebuilding programs in favor of more profitable avenues such as manufacturing, transportation and shipping.  As the housing market continues to improve insurance companies are beginning to see an increase in the need for new policies on projects which were left abandoned or defaulted during the recession.  These projects range from local housing tracts to large scale commercial centers and municipal projects.  Many of these types of projects have been idle for a number of years and have been unattended or worse.  In many cases, these projects require extensive forensic review to determine the percentage of completed construction, remedial onsite correction of environmental conditions, removal of exposed building materials, and planning updates to comply with the current building codes.  The original owner and general contractor are no longer in business, and the majority of site documentation lost.  Without conducting in depth review onsite, how can these insurance providers possibly understand the risk profile of the project?  Onsite physical inspection aside, where is the due diligence of reading and understanding the environmental reports, soil surveys, hydrology studies, energy calculations, city or county infrastructure plans?  Most of these projects are being bought and developed by private equity firms with little to no construction history through fee builders and construction management firms.  These joint venture firms are looking to make a quick and substantial profit while the market is depressed hoping to turn the project and move on.  Consequentially, the underwriter must factor in an increased risk to the project to protect the carrier from the lack of experience and unfavorable site conditions.  It is common to inspect a building which has been exposed to the elements for years and find failing  or incomplete roofs, poor quality craftsmanship, vandalism, theft, code violations, and unsafe site conditions.  Many project owners want to acquire these projects, and get them ready for sale as quickly and inexpensively as possible hoping to utilize as much of the existing building and materials as possible.  Even the most thorough underwriting policies are bound to miss or be misled by the multitude of factors and time constraints afforded to them during the underwriting evaluation process.   The carrier is then forced to provide a high premium quote or they will subject the policy to numerous exclusionary clauses in an effort to cover the associated risks.  In other cases, the broker may be mislead in presenting the information directly to the insurance provider due to a multitude of reasons such as perceived site conditions vs. actual conditions due to lack of experience by the owner acquiring the project.

Some would argue that the inspections performed onsite by the municipal inspectors and deputy inspectors is sufficient to bring a value to the underwriting process.  Pursuant to California statute, county and city inspectors are immune from liability for building deficiencies with minor exceptions relating to fraud or gross malfeasance.  Municipal inspections focus on health and life safety, code compliance, and plan conformance.  Third party inspectors draw attention to areas of the construction which have a high potential for leading to a claim.  This difference should not be taken without due consideration.  BPG evaluates every project from a variety of perspectives starting with the design, material selection, assembly, installation methodologies, and finished products as a whole, with regard to risk management and litigation prevention.  We are aware of the particular items and products most likely to lead to future claims and focus during the construction process.

Construction defect is defined by each state but generally “failure of the building or any building component to be erected in a reasonably workmanlike manner or to perform in the manner intended by the manufacturer or reasonable expected by the buyer, which proximately causes damage to the structure.”  This is not limited to construction, some states have expanded construction defect to include inadequate or improper design as well.

Utilizing this combined knowledge of onsite construction standards as well as legal theories used to bring a claim against a project, BPG is able to diminish the overall exposure of a project and help to prevent future claims for the insurance companies and owners alike.

In addition to being onsite while the construction activities are occurring, BPG has the ability to conduct in depth design review in areas such as architecture, structural engineering, civil engineering, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design.  Using Building Information Modeling (BIM), our engineers can help to solve constructability issues and eliminate the need for costly change orders, redesigns, time delays & building modifications prior to the start of any construction. In past projects, BPG has successfully found numerous design flaws in the use of building material selections, ADA design access and use, improper fire rating design, improper structural load calculations, and inadequate mechanical planning in regard to sizing, and conflict of space.  Using a combination of technology and experience, BPG can identify and help resolve problems before they occur, saving both time and money for all parties in the longer term.

Our inspectors see a lot of traditional wood framing in the field.  One of the most common corrections they call out has to do with top plates and bottom plate penetrations and improper splicing.   Job-site or project Superintendents should walk the framing with the framing foreman at the conclusion of rough framing to ensure rough mechanical and plumbing notching and boring are within code standards and that the splicing of the double top plates are code compliant as well.  Bottom plates are routinely notched out for rough drain lines and HVAC equipment which ultimately requires the structural engineer to re-evaluate and calculate design loads.  These repairs will cause delays in the production schedule as well as add hardware costs to the original plan set and budget.  In areas where seismic concerns are to be considered, these repairs will most commonly lead to re-submission of plan sets to municipal plan check which can be a lengthy delay and cost to the project’s bottom line.

Water Intrusion

Builders, homeowners, and claims adjusters in every market worry about water intrusion and moisture management in the homes and buildings they build, live in and insure.  Warranty claims and construction defect litigation due to water intrusion equates to millions of dollars of lost revenue every year nationwide.  This not only impacts profits, but insurance premiums as well.  In addition to the financial impact, consumer confidence and builder’s reputations are also at risk.

Construction defect claims and lawsuits result from four main areas:  Design, Material, Construction, and Subsurface or Soil issues.  Water intrusion tops the list of the most common claims in all construction defect litigation categories as well as warranty claims.  Most water intrusion claims stem from the following areas:

  • Roofing
  • Sheet Metal Flashing
  • Window and Door Installation
  • Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems

The most effective and successful strategy of water management is installing and maintaining a proper drainage plane to direct nuisance water away from the building envelope. Every building, regardless of the building’s location or climate, should have a drainage plane installed. A drainage plane is a layer of water-resistant material that completely covers the home’s exterior and integrates with flashing to provide a drainage path from the roof to the ground. When water penetrates the exterior finish, the drainage plane works in conjunction with interconnected flashing to guide water back to the exterior. The drainage plane protects sheathing and framing from getting wet and prevents moisture buildup in exterior wall cavities.  To be successful, the drainage plane has to run continuous from the roof to the soil and integrate with flashings at intersections, penetrations and other vital areas.  Grading away from the building is equally important to prevent pooling of water against the foundations or worse, the basements.  Many buildings suffer from improperly designed drain lines and insufficient site grading, resulting in flooding or pooling of water both above and below the surface of the soil line.

If water is allowed to penetrate the building envelope, serious damage can occur, including structural damage to the framing and sheathing, rotting of the truss members, biological growth, and a host of other cosmetic damages of the finishes.  If water is not properly allowed to drain away from the home, serious soil subsidence issues can also arise.

Builders do have many options available to them to mitigate water intrusion.  Using the proper building materials, inspecting the finished applications, and utilizing a peer review of the design and details to ensure drainage systems are compatible with each other are but a few of the steps each builder can take to help ensure proper water management.

When considering the value of a peer review of the moisture envelope, consider when examining the architectural and structural plans, many times the roofing systems and drains are not compatible with the flashings and copings of the building or home.  Often, HVAC curbs located on the roof are poorly flashed or allow too much nuisance water to run in one direction to an under sized drain.   Windows and doors which are exposed to wind driven rain often fail due to improper sill pans which upon first inspection look to be perfectly acceptable on the plans.  Roof to wall flashings have no counter flashing to protect from poorly maintained drains and gutter systems.  In short, having another trained set of eyes to focus upon the building envelope can prove to be a very worthwhile endeavor.  Professional peer review firms will have the advantage of being able to view the plans and specifications as a whole document which allows them to follow the flow of water from top to bottom without the burden of having to design.  Often, architectural drawings and structural drawings are created by different firms often in different cities.  Constructability reviews are essential in identifying vertical and horizontal collisions, and looking for system compatibility.

While moisture management is essential in all homes and buildings, the need is magnified in multifamily, mixed-use and attached housing developments.  Attached housing developments, and especially condominium projects, continue to endure a disproportionate number of defect claims against builders, engineers and architects.  While the reasons for this are hotly debated, the defects in the design and construction almost always start with the building envelope as the primary target.  Roof design, skylights, window installations, and exterior claddings are scrutinized on every unit.  Due to general liability exclusions for most sub-contractors, builders are taking on the bulk of the risk along with professional engineers and architects by providing large premium OCIP or Wrap policies for their trades.  Some insurance companies have been giving these builders premium discounts for third party inspections, especially third party quality assurance and waterproofing companies.  These inspection companies along with architectural and structural peer review do not necessarily eliminate a builder’s risk, but they do reduce or minimize the builder’s exposure, and effectively minimize the opportunities for frivolous attempts to make claims.

Under the definition of strict liability, a defect is a defect no matter who is at fault, finding possible defects in the construction and design during the initial plan review process and as the building is being built is the best opportunity to eliminate defects, thus ensuring the homeowner or building owner a safer and more durable structure.