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Stone Failures-Why? Article #1
Article #1, Article #2, Article #3, Article #4, Article #5, Article #6, Article #7, Article #8, Article #9, Article #10, Article #11, Article #12, Article #13, Article #14

Residential 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"

Failure Number 1:Stone Management

Stone management 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:

An unacceptable shade range;
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.

Communication between the parties, seller and buyer, is essential to eliminate stone management failures and defects.

Importers, distributors, 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.

The distributors and importers have a duty to state if the product is suitable for its intended usage.

The distributors 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.

An example, 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 author:

In preparing 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 law.
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 builder.
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 usage.
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 the defect.
An expert is one who knows more than the majority of persons in the same field of work.*

(*optional definition of an expert- someone from out of town with a briefcase)

This article is the first in a series of articles on Stone Failures (Dec. 2000) by Greg Mowat

Forensic Tile Consultants
9541 Vervain Street
San Diego, CA 92129-3523
(858) 484-8118, Fax 484-8302

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