Articles Posted in Expert Interviews

Plumbing and HVAC Expert Witness Russell Keeler of Chason Energy reports that he was involved in a matter where a contractor hired an engineer to create plans and specifications based on a performance specification issued by an owner.  The documents created by the engineer were used by the contractor to prepare a bid.  The performance specification was rather specific in terms of expected sound levels and temperature conditions in the various spaces.

The engineer developed bid documents, which the contractor then used to prepare his bid.  His bid price was low (by half) of the next bidder, and he was awarded the project.  When the plans were reviewed by the concept engineer, they were rejected.  The contractor was forced to provide an installation that conformed to the performance specification.

In the lawsuit, the contractor sued the engineer for the difference in cost between the bid price and the cost to install the required installation.  Mr. Keeler identified the areas that the engineer had taken liberties in the design.  The judge found for the contractor.

Plumbing and HVAC Expert Witness Russell Keeler of Chason Energy commented on utility cost allocations

A common problem in mixed use developments (residential, retail, etc.) is the allocation of utility costs.  As developers try to minimize first costs of construction, the simple answer is to make the complex all-electric, so that each condo owner has an individual electric meter.  In higher end developments, this becomes a problem, as all electric is perceived as “lower end”.  A common solution is to use central gas fired hot water heat with gas appliances, with separate gas meters.  But…what to do about allocating heating costs?  Generally, natural gas costs are proportioned based on the design engineer’s estimate.  In a case where tenants dispute the allocation, additional calculations to verify the original allocations can be made, with a possible recommendation to add a series meters to more accurately assign costs.