The owner of a residential property in Moree, an area widely known for shrink / swell soils, engaged a builder to construct a single-storey residence on his property. The builder also engaged a structural engineer to provide advice in relation to the necessary house footings.
Several years later, significant cracking appeared in the building structure. Litigation was then instituted against the builder seeking compensation for the necessary repairs to the building. The property owner also engaged a senior geotechnical expert from a major geotechnical firm to prepare the appropriate expert report for the litigation.
In the process of the litigation, SCE was engaged by the builder to inspect the site, and then advise as to the cause of the building damage; in addition, SCE was asked to review the expert report of the senior geotechnical engineer. The result of SCE’s review of property owner’s expert report was that it contained fundamental flaws as to the ‘cause of damage’.
As a consequence, the legal team for the builder decided to defend the case by intense cross-examination of the senior geotechnical engineer to expose the fundamental flaws and errors in the expert’s report. Subsequently, the Court agreed that the senior geotechnical expert had not correctly identified the ‘cause of the damage’, and as such provided a judgement in favour of the defending builder.
Note: Although SCE were not required to prepare an expert report or attend court, SCE extensively briefed and advised the legal counsel in the matter.