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Construction Defects May Lead to Water Intrusion, Mold and Other Serious Consequences

In November, a homeowners’ association in Lake Oswego, Oregon filed a $5 million lawsuit against the developers of Sunset Crossing, a community of luxury townhomes. As reported last month by The Oregonian, the homeowners are suing over claims that construction defects have led to water intrusion and structural damage to their townhomes, which were built in 2005. The suit also alleges that the developer violated state and federal building codes and failed to repair damages caused by water intrusion.

Preventing Water Intrusion through Proper Design & Maintenance

Water intrusion leads to high moisture levels in buildings, which in turn can cause mold growth, dry rot, wood deterioration, and other issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), building design and operation are integral to limiting the water and nutrients that foster mold growth. Specifically, design, construction, and maintenance strategies must be implemented to manage:

  • Rainwater and groundwater, preventing liquid-water entry and accidental humidification of buildings
  • The distribution, use, and disposal of drinking, process, and wash water, making equipment and associated utilities easily accessible for maintenance and repair
  • Water vapor and surface temperatures to avoid accidental condensation
  • The wetting and drying of materials in the building and of soil in crawlspaces during construction

If proper measures are not taken and water intrusion occurs, mold can spread throughout a home, not only depreciating its value but also triggering allergies and causing illnesses. The Mayo Clinic cited mold exposure as a leading cause of many respiratory problems, and a contributor to nearly 100% of chronic sinus infections.

An issue that is often a problem in water intrusion cases is that the existence of moisture may not be immediately apparent to building occupants. Very often, water intrudes only the wall cavity and actual leakage or water stains do not materialize. Therefore, an expert must investigate the structure to determine if dangerously high moisture levels exist.

Construction & Design Defect Expert Witness

If you believe a construction or design defect has led to water intrusion and mold in your home, or if you are involved in such a case, and need an expert to advise you or appear as a witness, contact Engineering Expert Witnesses for a free initial case evaluation. Based in California, Pierre Handl, P.E. evaluates construction and design defect cases nationwide.

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