Assessment of building settlement and the litigation process: a case study
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During the construction of a five-story hotel building, up to 7 inches of settlement occurred around the southwestern corner of the building.

Expecting that much of the settlement had occurred during construction, the Owner elected to complete the construction of the building without implementing any remedial measures. However, the building continued to settle after the construction was complete, resulting in wall tilt and floor cracks. Finally the Owner implemented a repair program that involved the installation of jet grouted piers under a significant portion of the building. The Owner brought claims in arbitration against the Contractor and a lawsuit against the Architect, the Structural Engineer, and the original Geotechnical Engineer. At the request of the attorney (i.e., the second author) on behalf of the Contractor, the first and third authors evaluated the likely causes of the building settlement and provided the assessment of whether the actions of the Contractor were contributory to the settlement. This paper is organized to provide: (i) an overview of the project history; (ii) the results of settlement calculations; (iii) an assessment of likely causes of the settlement and whether the Contractor's actions caused the settlement; and (iv) a description of the litigation process and results. The case study provides the geotechnical engineering profession an opportunity to understand both the technical and legal aspects of the issue.

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Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Ming Zhu, Robert Bachus
  • All Authors: M. Zhu, T. Gary, and R. Bachus
  • Title: Assessment of building settlement and the litigation process: a case study
  • Event or Publication: American Society of Civil Engineers 6th Congress on Forensic Engineering
  • Practice Areas: Environmental Management Assessment and Systems, Sediment Assessment and Remediation
  • Date: 2012
  • Location: San Francisco, California