400 E. 3rd
400 East 3rd is a 17 story, EIFS-clad luxury condominium community in Denver, Colorado. In 2003, a couple years after the property was constructed, an engineering reserve study and compliance report was conducted, which revealed a number of construction items that would have or already had begun to result in non-performing systems ranging from mechanical to building veneers. Based on what was found, the HOA engaged a forensic engineering team to provide an analysis of the construction. The analysis considered the long-term continuous and progressive effects as a result of the systems failing to perform their intended functions, primarily focusing on the continuous and progressive effects of the systemic water intrusion, including the aesthetic deterioration of the mid-rise barrier EIFS that was used to clad the majority of the building.
The forensic analysis revealed numerous manufacturer product and construction installation deficiencies in the storefront and punched windows; deficiencies in the construction and integration of the barrier EIFS systems façade; and problems with the installation of the slider doors, which leaked. There were integration and profile problems with the balconies, which were improperly integrated with the barrier EIFS and doors; the balconies did not drain outward, and they did not incorporate daps at the walls and door thresholds that would have allowed for integration with the building systems. The foundation waterproofing was discovered to be incomplete, which allowed water leaks into the parking garage at the foundation boundary, infield planters, and expansion joints of the vertical and horizontal surfaces. Additionally, the finish on the metal handrails of the balconies on the site was prematurely corroding.
As part of the forensic analysis, SBSA’s staff members conducted performance testing in general accordance with ASTM E1105 “Standard Test Method for Field Determination of Water Penetration of Installed Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls.” The field testing included the upper level aluminum clad wood windows, vinyl sliding glass doors, and the clad punched windows. Both interior and exterior observations included the necessary associated intrusive evaluation to determine water paths, potential sources, and current damages. As well, the testing was to determine the commonality of construction practices. The testing revealed that the windows could not sustain water penetration as required by the project specifications. An analysis of the framing components of the upper windows determined structural deficiencies. Due to the product’s manufacturing and design deficiencies noted in the upper three floor window systems, further testing, analysis and review of installation was conducted to determine if the existing products could be upgraded so they could perform.
Allocation of Damages
SBSA’s staff was also retained by the Contractor to assist with allocating damages to other named defendants in the secondary cases. The total amount of damages allocated included the estimated cost of repairs for the defective work (if any repair work was already performed, actual costs replaced the estimated costs), professional fees associated with the repairs (including SBSA’s), and costs incurred during the settlement.