Flawed Ventilation System In Residential Home Fails Soon After Installation


HVAC ExpertThis case involves a house in Nevada which was built into a steep hillside. Most of the HVAC supply and return ducting was directly buried into the surrounding terrain. The remaining ducting was poorly installed in the interior walls allowing air to dump into floor and wall spaces. Within 10 years of the house being built, the surrounding terrain collapsed the ducting. An expert in structural engineering was sought to visit the site and address the potential design and construction flaws of the home.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your background as it relates to this case?
  • 2. Have you evaluated similar structural problems in homes?

Expert Witness Response E-040655

I am both a licensed engineer and an architect. My specialty is structural engineering and architectural construction. I have been involved in forensic engineering for 24 years and did traditional engineering and architecture in the years preceding that. I have not seen a house that was constructed like this before because most contractors follow some standard construction procedures. This house appears to be a bad experiment. Any forensic investigation involves comparing each defective component to a standard of care (probably the UBC or CABO in this case, although I would prefer to use the IRC). Bottom line, I know how to analyze and critique this situation. My process is to itemize defects and show those on a floor plan. This makes it easier to understand what is being discussed in the body of the report. I have acted as an expert in many construction defect cases for both plaintiff and defense as well as insurance companies.

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