Defects And Failures:
When homeowners or property managers call us to perform an independent
inspection we ask, "Well, what are the problems?"
Common responses are:
"The floor is not flat!"
"There is excess lippage and the contractor says this is normal!"
"The stone is stained or discolored!"
"The stone is hollow!"
"The stone is cracked!"
"The stone is fractured!"
"The stone surface is spalling or falling apart!"
"The polish is not uniform!"
"This is not what we bought or expected to have installed!"
"The stone is different in color or has a larger shade range
in color and we bought one color of stone"
is a term we use that defines what the owner expects to receive.
The defect or
failure occurs and is claimed by the owner when the stone is not
what the owner expected. Examples include:
The blending or lack blending of the stone, which has shade variation;
The finish of the stone;
An unexpected finish or color;
Imperfections in the stone;
Quality of the stone;
Performance of the stone.
The emphasis here with the failure and defect, is on what the seller
sold and what the buyer expected.
between the parties, seller and buyer, is essential to eliminate
stone management failures and defects.
fabricators of the stone materials have a duty to educate variations
that are inherent in stone.
When stone is
selected and approved with known variations of that stone, importers,
distributors, fabricators have a duty to supply what was ordered,
or verify the difference in the product delivered is acceptable
by the buyer.
and importers have a duty to state if the product is suitable for
its intended usage.
and importers are the experts in our industry.
They are liable
for supplying inferior stone when the quality or performance is
not what was expected or representative of the samples the stone
was chosen from.
a large custom home in Palm Springs had stone selected and the range
installed as to what the owner was told the range would be within.
The stone delivered to the site was not within this range that was
approved. $1,000,000 worth of stone had to be modified to work with
the existing site conditions and owner.
Notes from the
this article and speech, my first step was to list and review the
hundreds of failures and defects we have investigated. I then categorized
these negative failures with reminders of what not to do in order
to emphasize correct assemblies, when properly installed, will work
and perform for the intended usage.
Please work toward successful installations without failures.
Forensic is defined as the application of science technology to
There are some differences between the commercial and institutional
construction that differ from the residential construction.
I define a general contractor as a contractor that may competitively
bid, or negotiate for, and contract to perform construction, based
on documents provided by others that are warranted as a complete
set of documents.
I define builder as a contractor that hires the architect to prepare
drawings for construction and obtaining a building permit, and constructs
the project based on how the portions of the project are assigned
to subcontractors for installation.
A builder set of drawings means the architect was no longer involved
in the project after the builder receives the building permit by
the governing jurisdiction in which the project is built. In this
role, the builder assumes all liability as owner, architect and
Defect is defined as a lack of something essential, imperfections
and shortcomings, failing.
Failure is defined as something that is not performing for its intended
Patent defect is defined as a defect observable or discoverable
by the average person.
Latent defect is defined as a defect that takes an expert to discover
An expert is one who knows more than the majority of persons in
the same field of work.*
of an expert- someone from out of town with a briefcase)
is the first in a series of articles on Stone Failures (Dec. 2000)
by Greg Mowat
9541 Vervain Street
San Diego, CA 92129-3523
(858) 484-8118, Fax 484-8302