Progressive property damage caused by defective construction is a challenge. By the time the problem is discovered, the project has been completed and is being utilized. The various contractors are long gone from the site. The nature and extent of the problem may not be self-evident. And, responsibility for the problem will almost surely be hotly contested.
In a recent New Jersey case, a contractor whose work had been implicated as a cause of progressive property damage looked to liability insurers with whom it had contracted during different periods over the past years. Two insurers argued that the problems in the building had been discovered prior to issuance of their policy, so no property damage had “occurred” on their watch. One insurer prevailed with this argument, the other was less successful.
The other case in this issue involved the government’s slow response to a contractor’s request for information. The slow response did not delay contract performance because the information requested was available in a detailed statement of work incorporated into the contract.