Lakewest Flats

Houston General Insurance | Seattle, WA

  • Client
  • Houston General Insurance
  • Location
  • Seattle, WA

Project Overview

In 2008, OAC was hired as the structural engineer of record for a significant exterior repair / reconstruction project at 3 four-story stucco clad wood-framed condo buildings. Located on the west side of Lake Union just north of downtown Seattle, the repair project involved a full reclad of the buildings, and substantial deck, roof and stair tower framing repairs. The repair project occurred concurrently with a first-party property insurance claim centered on structural impairment caused by extensive wood decay.

In 2011, OAC was retained by one of the carriers in the ongoing property insurance dispute to provide opinions on the cause, nature and extent of decay damage to structural wood sheathing and framing components uncovered during the 2008 reclad project. As engineer of record for the repair, OAC was responsible for the detailed documentation of decay damage and so was poised to provide expert opinions on the impact to the structure.

A large part of our forensic work here was to provide estimates of the timing of structural impairment caused by the decay to the wood structure. For this, OAC teamed with a wood decay expert from the University of Washington’s forestry department. This collaboration produced a thorough, reasonable and reliable analysis whose merits contended successfully with legal challenges brought on by opposing attorneys. One of these was the “Daubert” challenge (Federal Court’s standard for reliability and hence the admissibility of scientific evidence). OAC navigated these challenges by working closely with the attorney hired by our client. Working collaboratively as a team, OAC provided expert witness testimony during depositions, hearing and ultimately trial in Federal Court, during which the judge rendered a fair and favorable ruling for our client.

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