Legal Question in Construction Law in California

I am on a construction project and the architect specified a plaster finish that was applied by the subcontractor per plans and specifications. The product is not performing to the standard the architect or the owner would like to see, or to what would be considered industry standard. However, the product is performing to the testing standards outlined in the specification. who is at fault?

Asked on 6/03/10, 4:27 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

It sounds like the product is contract-compliant in all respects. If the spec standards are not "industry standard," that sounds like a design error and fault would lie with the architect. As long as the product performs as specified by the manufacturer and installation was per spec, and performance is per design spec, I can't see how anyone in the chain of supply and installation would be responsible.

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Answered on 6/03/10, 8:21 pm
Thomas W. Newton Tims & Newton

Generally I agree with Mr. McCormick - if the architect spec'd the product and it was properly applied, then it is a design error. However, it strikes me that one piece of information is missing - did the sub apply per the manufacturer's instructions? The plans and specs issued by the architect may or may not have given detailed application instructions, and if given, may or may not have conformed to the manufacturer's directives. If the plans & specs called for application contrary to the manufacturer'ss directives, the sub may have had an obligation to raise the issue and get a clarification from the architect and hopefully a change order/release from the owner through the GC, if the architect in fact directed application methods inconsistent with the manufacturer's written instructions.

Sounds like an interesting problem - I'd love to hear how it turns out.


Tom Newton

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Answered on 6/03/10, 9:06 pm

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