The Condominium Phenomenon

It has been nearly 30 years since I first became involved in the representation of a condominium association that was confronted with construction defect issues. That case was litigated for several years, and eventually grew to engulfing a multitude of parties, including developer entities, the general contractor, design professionals, engineers, numerous subcontractors and suppliers, and all of their law firms and insurers. It ultimately resulted in a resolution that allowed the condominium to repair the significant deficiencies in the exterior envelope of their high-rise building. Since that time, condominium construction defect matters have come to constitute the majority of my work. This has resulted from two phenomena: The first has been the explosion of condominium development since the 1980s, with the wide acceptance of the condo as a desired form of housing. The second is the nature of residential construction and its tight profit margins, in which inspection, supervision and coordination of trades are often the first casualties of budget constraints.

In the years since that first construction defect case, I have litigated, and tried many more equally complex matters, and have resolved still more by other means of dispute resolution. Because condominiums are usually large multi-family housing complexes, they are much more like commercial buildings than they are typical housing, and the impact of design and construction issues are multiplied by the sheer size of the project. As a result, the consequences of failure to act diligently and properly have the potential to be enormous and prohibitively expensive.

This blog is devoted to the things that I have learned from these experiences that can benefit condominium owners, homeowner associations, and property managers in dealing with their ownership and maintenance responsibilities, as well as the means by which developers, designers, builders, and contractors can produce residential projects that do not become a source of liability and unhappy customers. I look forward to our discussions.