Construction Defects

Robert A. Plichta, AIA, NCARB, CPP
Senior Consultant/Forensic Architect
Phone: (630) 851-4566

 View Capability Sheet

The design, construction, and maintenance of a building and its numerous systems and components require a sophisticated orchestration of professionals, tradesmen, and managers.  New technologies, materials, accelerated project delivery schedules, and a changing regulatory environment can also prove challenging to the design, construction, or maintenance process and the quality of the work performed.  The introduction of defects during any of these stages can lead to emotional and financial distress, catastrophic system failures, injury, or even loss of life.

Industry has categorized defects into three major areas.  Within each of these categories, exposure can exist to a gamut of individuals and companies:

  • Design Defects
  • Construction Defects
  • Material Defects

Design Defects covers a wide array of participants and the application of their services.  Defects can range from an improper design, non-compliance with the municipal codes and ordinances, errors and omissions by design professionals, or improperly specified products and materials.  Individuals and companies who may have exposure in this area of defects could include the architect, engineer, designer, or property owner.

Construction Defects is the largest area where the opportunities for defects typically occur.  These defects can be associated with the site environment, the building envelope, or the internal systems and features of the building.  Defects can include:

  • Poor workmanship
  • Lack of on-site supervision
  • Failure to comply with codes and ordinances
  • Failure to meet industry standard-of-care
  • Improper component or system installations
  • Non-conformance with construction document designs and specifications

Individuals and companies who may have exposure in this area of defects could include the developer, the contractor/builder, the numerous subcontractors, architects, engineers, project managers, and owners.

Material Defects originate at the manufacturer’s level.  The exposure of the manufacturer can fall into several areas that include product design, material selection, material quality, fabrication and manufacturing processes, product application, and installation procedures.  It has also been found that the materials defects also overlap with construction defects in that a product may have technical or material flaws, it may be installed improperly, or it may be the wrong application of the product.  At any of these levels, some form of investigation, analysis, and testing must be performed in order to ascertain the manufacturer’s exposure.

Areas of Specialization

Clients who come to ESI recognize that the breadth of our organization provides the expertise that encompasses the entire Construction Defects market.  With the qualifications to assess your needs, ESI can organize either the individual expert or a team of experts to assist in the investigation, perform scientific analysis, identify cause and origin, provide representation in litigation matters, and more.

Capabilities Include

  • 3D Laser Scanning and Scene Preservation
  • Applied Mechanics
  • Biomechanics and Human Factors
  • Civil/Structural Engineering
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Electrical System Failures and Testing
  • Environmental and Air Quality
  • Fire and Explosion Analysis
  • Forensic Architecture
  • Graphics and Visualization
  • Laboratory and Industrial Services
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics and Materials
  • Polymers and Composites
  • Safety Assessments and Risk Analysis

Professionals in This Area








Abubakar, Nila, P.E.   Senior Staff Consultant  


Ahearn, David L., P.E.   Senior Consultant  


Bernhardt, Randall, M.S., P.E., S.E.   Senior Consultant  


Cydzik, Kristina, P.E., LEED AP   Senior Consultant  


Domel, August W., Ph.D., P.E., S.E.   Principal  


Faupel, Steven J., E.I.   Staff Consultant  


Fischer, Chad R., Ph.D., P.E., S.E.   Principal & Director of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering  


Godoy, Francisco J., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant  

Texas (Houston)

Johnson, Andrew W., P.E.   Senior Consultant  


Kenney, Robert, P.E.   Principal  


Kercsmar, Christopher C., P.E., LEED A.P.   Senior Consultant  

North Carolina

Locker, Douglas M., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant  


Mesyef, Kevin K., P.E., S.E.   Senior Staff Consultant  


Nordstrom, Mark G., P.E.   Senior Staff Consultant  


Plichta, Robert A., AIA, NCARB, CPP   Senior Consultant/Forensic Architect  


Riddle, Joseph K.   Senior Staff Consultant  


Tuczak, Edward J., M.S.E., P.E.   Senior Consultant  


Underwood, Mel A., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant