This case involves a Plaintiff who was working with a company that had been contracted in the construction of a large shopping center. Right before the incident in question, the heat in the construction site had been off for an extended period of time, due to a lack of propane to fuel the heaters. The defendant general contractor was responsible for running the heat. Before the accident, it had also been noted that the floor had been covered with water, which was coming through a portion of the unfinished roof. The water froze due to the absence of heating overnight, leaving a large sheet of ice on the concrete flooring of the building when workers returned to the site in the morning. While going to get some materials for a job he had been assigned, the Plaintiff traversed the floor that had been covered with ice by the leak in the ceiling. While attempting to walk across the ice inside the store, he slipped and fell, landing on his shoulder and sustaining serious injuries.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Is the proper heating of an indoor environment while curing cement the responsibility of the general contractor?
- 2. Should water ever be leaking though a roof? Is that the general contractor's responsibility to fix?
Expert Witness Response E-051717
I have been working and managing construction for over 25 years both as a national builder and a general contractor. I hold many certifications and have extensive practical as well as classroom education in the construction industry. I am regarded highly as a consultant in the construction insurance industry. None of the jobs I’ve managed would have run allowing the described safety or construction quality issues. Normally it is the GC’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment. The leak in the roof should have been addressed prior to the floor being poured. If the CG did not have the contract for that part of the project then it would have been his responsibility to correct, and if not he should have contacted whomever did. As far as the heat is concerned, unless they had subcontracted it to the plaintiff, the GC would be responsible.
Expert Witness Response E-007427
The general construction site environment is the responsibility of the General Contractor, particularly as it relates to safety. The responsibility for maintaining concrete at or above the 50°F mark for at least the first two days after the floor is poured may be determined by the subcontract. If not, then the general contractor has the overall responsibility for the proper installation of the concrete, which would include maintaining the concrete temperature at or above 50°F. As any building is constructed, water from the exterior may penetrate to the interior, particularly during the construction and completion of the roof. The responsibility for diverting, drying, or otherwise dealing with that water may be governed by the subcontract with the roofer; if not, then the overall responsibility for dealing with water defaults to the general contractor.