Contractors remain "on the hook" for their work for several years following a construction job's completion. However, each state limits the contractor's length of responsibility by placing statutes of limitation and statutes of repose on the injured party. If the person or entity suffering injury or damage does not file suit in a specified amount of time, they lose the opportunity to pursue legalredress from the at-fault builder.
States vary greatly in regards to statutes of limitations on real property improvements. To complicate this legal limitation, the application of the statutes of limitation is not consistent acrossall states. Additionally, many states also incorporate statutes of repose effectively placing an outside time limit for specific injuries or damages based on timing of the injury/damage, root cause of the damage or any other factor the state chooses to apply.
Seventeen states have enacted "right to cure" or "notice and opportunity to repair" statutes (these are essentially the same in their application and intent). Before an injured party in these states can file suit against the contractor/builder, they must give a specified number of days notice to the contractor and give the contractor a reasonable opportunity to correct or fix the defective construction. The goal of these statutes is to cut down onthe number and cost of defective construction lawsuits. Each state with a right to cure or notice of opportunity statute is noted in the attached map.
Attached is a US map indicating the statute of limitation and statue of repose for each state and the District of Columbia. States with both a statute of limitation and statute of repose show both periods separated by a slash ("/" i.e. "4/10" in Illinois). States without a separate statute of repose show only the statute of limitations (i.e. "6" in North Carolina).
Many state laws regarding defective construction require special notes. Additional information is found on the second page of this attachment.
Although every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of this information, there is no guarantee that all the information captured is current or absolutely correct. Comments and corrections are welcome as we desire to post correct information. Any corrections will be applied to the map in a timely basis.
Helping Law Enforcement Help You March 2006 If you have ever asked, or even thought, what more your local police department could do to help you prevent equipment theft or recover your stolen equipment then you should first ask yourself another question: "What can I do to help them?"
by David J. ShillingfordNational Equipment Register, Inc. If you think that filling out a theft report after your equipment has been stolen is as much as you can do then read on… But let's first start with a reality check. Equipment security issues are not the number one policing priority in your area—nor should they be. Law enforcement resources are more stretched than ever as a result of budget cuts, Homeland Security demands, and, more recently, new public safety challenges stemming from the worst ever hurricane season. Because of the relatively few public safety resources that can be committed to equipment security, it is vital that they are used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Sadly, the opposite is normally the case. There are, however, many things that can be done to help law enforcement to be more effective when dealing with equipment security and theft. In many cases, police do have some time to investigate equipment thefts, but it is limited and without the right knowledge and information the process will be time consuming and unsuccessful—and not happen again. Some of the challenges faced by law enforcement are discussed in a previous Expert Commentary, Heavy Equipment Theft and Solutions. The best way in which equipment owners can help law enforcement is by providing information. Information is the key to a successful investigation, and it is equipment owners and their insurers who have the information that law enforcement needs. The challenge is to get that information into the hands of law enforcement when they need it.
There are different types of information that will help. Most officers know what it is but not always where to find it. By reaching out to law enforcement and helping to develop resources or simply letting police know what is available the chances are better that they will drive by your worksite over the weekend and stop to look at suspicious equipment.
What Information Is Needed? There are two different types of information that will help: general information about equipment that will help an officer single out and identify stolen equipment and then there is information about single pieces of equipment such as where to find the identification number and who owns it that will help the officer identify the machine and its owner. The first type of information is best delivered through training in the form of seminars or publications—both print and electronic. The idea is not to try to turn all officers into equipment experts, but to give them confidence, through a basic level of knowledge of equipment, about what are normal practices in the industry (and therefore what is suspicious) and where to go find more detailed answers. The second type of information is best delivered through equipment industry specialists who can answer specific questions an officer might have about an individual piece of equipment—ideally at any time of day. So the best way for you to help local law enforcement is to ensure that such training is provided on a regular basis and to inform officers about the different sources of information that will be able to answer their questions. Standard police training courses in academies and afterward are seldom afforded the time nor have the expertise to teach equipment investigation techniques. But whenever the insurance, construction, or equipment industries provide this training, it is well attended and received, and gives local equipment owners an excellent chance to make contact with local law enforcement with an interest in equipment crime. There is a third type of information that might be described as "intelligence." For example you might let local police know about any big project in your area with valuable mobile equipment, particularly any that are hard to secure. But before you expect patrols to be routed to help reduce your risk, it is best to have first offered to help. With this in mind, below are some practical steps that you can take to get the right information into the hands of law enforcement.
Training You need a few simple elements to create a successful training program for local police: A facility with a classroom and an area in which equipment can be displayed (a rental store with a big room or warehouse would work); A lesson plan (see Resources below); An expert in equipment investigation techniques (see Resources below); A group of equipment owners who can meet the officers to discuss their concerns and offer help, and of course, a group of officers willing to spend a day learning about equipment. All of these ingredients can be found in almost any community. You may have to bring in the instructor, but this can easily be done. If you are not lucky enough to have a local construction industry crime prevention program, then your local equipment owner association might be the best resource to help organize this. If you do not have such an organization, this training meeting may well lead to one being established. Future Expert Commentary articles will provide advice and a template for establishing a local equipment crime prevention program.
Equipment Information Let's start with the basics. If you have a piece of equipment stolen without fully and accurately recording the serial number PRIOR to the theft, then you are not helping yourself or the police. Short of the thief accidentally trying to sell the equipment back to you or driving it past you on his way out of town, you will be out of luck. A huge advantage for equipment thieves is that, until recently, law enforcement did not have quick, 24-hour access to ownership information for heavy equipment and theft reports often took days or weeks to get into the police computer due to delays in theft discovery. As most stolen equipment is being moved on weekends, and the theft often will not be discovered until Monday (at the earliest), there are only two ways in which this equipment can be identified. The first is if the thief has not yet had time to remove decals from the equipment. TIP 1: Make sure that there are as many highly visible decals as possible on each machine that clearly show the name of the company that owns the equipment and—better still—include the telephone number so that the officer can call you to check that the equipment is where it should be. TIP 2: Register your equipment by serial number and any other applied numbers on a national database that law enforcement uses to identify equipment. See the Resources list below for more information.
Funding Equipment Investigations A very effective way to help police to focus on heavy equipment investigations is to get local equipment owners to club together to create an "equipment investigation fund." This money can then be put toward overtime during which the officers must focus on equipment investigations. It is, of course, vital that this be discussed formally with senior law enforcement in your area first and be executed in the way that they dictate. This liaison can normally be done by the detectives that are active in this area. This may seem extreme, but as long as it is formally organized at the right levels, it can be very effective. In one instance the American Rental Association of Texas raised $25,000 to fund equipment investigations during overtime and this resulted in the recovery of $1.2 million of stolen equipment!
Conclusion The above ideas should really just be a starting point. The main thing is to reach out to local law enforcement and ask them how you can help them be more effective in combating equipment theft. You can then reach out to those listed in the Resources below to ask how best to deliver whatever is most needed. You will be surprised how effective this can be.
Beyond Equipment Theft
This article describes losses due to criminal activities other than equipment theft such as vandalism, sabotage, unauthorized use, joyriding, and the theft of materials, particularly scrap metal. In each case suggestions are put forward to minimize the risk of loss. Some of the solutions are similar to equipment theft prevention techniques and technologies but most vary in the exact application.
The theft of construction equipment is a significant and growing problem and tends to grab the attention of loss control specialists due to the value of the machines that are being stolen and recent efforts to track and analyze the problem. There are, however, similar, and often related, crimes that result in losses that, although less severe, become a significant drain on profits due to their frequency and the greater likelihood that such losses may not be covered by insurance. It is possible that the overall financial loss from these crimes is similar to that of equipment theft (see references below). These are also crimes that are often harder to prosecute and therefore harder to deter.
Theft of Materials
The theft of building materials is not a new problem but one that is a constant problem, particularly for those in the home building business. It is not just building materials that are stolen but also expensive electrical units from houses in the last phase of construction.
A similar crime is the theft of scrap metal such as the theft of a large amount of copper wire from utility company or the theft of a catalytic converter to extract the small amount of semiprecious metal; even large metal sculptures are being more frequently stolen. The recent spike in scrap metal theft is directly related to the high prices that scrap metal is presently commanding.
Both crimes are problematic because it not only costs money to replace the stolen material, but also business interruption costs are likely to be incurred. Furthermore, this is a risk that is sometimes not covered by an insurance policy. For the criminal, the risk is low because, without a serial number, the material is unlikely to be uniquely identifiable and therefore difficult or impossible to identify, prove ownership, and prosecute.
Associations are starting to tackle the problem at an industry level. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), has created a Scrap Theft Alert system. Whenever ISRI learns of a major scrap theft, it sends an e-mail notice to scrap recyclers in the state where the theft occurred as well as in surrounding states. Another association taking an active role in combating scrap metal theft is the Construction Industry Crime Prevention Program of the Pacific Northwest (www.cicpp.com).
Another solution is to make the material uniquely identifiable. One such method is the use of HELPtechDNA. A container of HELPtechDNA contains thousands of miniature chips with a serial number etched onto them. The chips are premixed in a specially designed durable adhesive that contains an ultraviolet trace (UV). Once applied, all HELPtechDNA numbers are registered onto the National Equipment Register (NER) database that is used by police agencies through the country to identify the true owner of materials and equipment. When a law enforcement officer shines a blacklight over an area where HELPtechDNA has been applied, it will fluoresce, alerting the officer to their existence. Once located, the HELPtechDNA number can be read with an x30 powered magnifier, and the owner located on the NER database. HELPtechDNA warning labels and signs let thieves know that the items have a unique identity that cannot easily be removed. (More information is available at www.identificationtechnologies.com.)
One of the best solutions is to keep the thieves out. This can be done through traditional methods, such as gates and fences, but a recent addition to worksite security is DEWALT's SiteLock, a mobile alarm system based on a central control unit that links wirelessly to a variety of locks and sensors which can be placed on materials and equipment on a worksite and that will trigger an alarm if disturbed. (More information is available at www.dewalt.com/us/core/.)
As ever, good project management can have an effect on security. In this case "just in time" deliveries will reduce the amount of material available to thieves.
Vandalism and Sabotage
Sabotage is a form of vandalism but needs to be treated separately because vandalism can be deterred by making your assets a riskier option for a vandal than other potential targets. On the other hand, the target for sabotage has already been chosen and is largely independent of risk. Sabotage may result from events such as a labor dispute, a competitor, or more general political demonstrations, such as protests against deforestation.
Vandalism is, however, not entirely random. Whether it is graffiti or physical damage, the likelihood of vandalism is greater in certain areas (high crime, low visibility) and at certain times of day (nights, particularly weekends). If there is a choice as to where equipment is left over a weekend, these factors should be considered. Although random acts of violence are hard to deter, the equipment owner who is mindful of this risk and, with better overall security, is less likely to become a victim.
Combating sabotage depends largely on the exact nature of the threat and the local conditions. The bad news is that you have already been chosen as the target. The good news is that the events that lead up to such an act should provide you with some warning that will allow additional measures to be taken. A remote logging operation might consider corralling equipment and monitoring access roads. An urban work site might notify local law enforcement of a heightened risk. Please note that you should reach out to local law enforcement before you need them. There is much that you can do to help them help you, details of which are provided in a previous Expert Commentary, "Helping Law Enforcement Help You."
Joyriding and Unauthorized Use
Like vandalism, the target of joyriders is likely to be more random than unauthorized use where someone (usually an employee or subcontractor) uses equipment out-of-hours (usually over a weekend) for a different "cash-in-hand" project and returns the equipment before work resumes. The total loss of a machine is unusual, but there can be indirect costs. The potential for incidental damage to other property from joyriders can be significant, as can be the liability if injury results. Unauthorized use can result in a "theft" if an employee is using equipment during the weekend and decides later on that it is too risky to move the equipment back to the worksite.
Most theft prevention and recovery mechanisms rely to some extent on the fact that a thief needs to move equipment some distance before selling it. A joyrider does not face the same challenges. The best, if not the only, defense against joyriding is therefore to immobilize the equipment. This may be achieved by securing the ignition system with a device such as Keytroller (www.keytroller.com) or by immobilizing the equipment using special locks designed for equipment such as those supplied by the Equipment Lock Company (www.equipmentlock.com). It should be noted that the blocking of smaller equipment with larger equipment that might help deter the theft of the more easily stolen machine may not be as effective against joyriders as a joyrider may be as happy, if not happier, to "ride" a large machine. Like vandalism, the risk is greatly diminished if measures are taken to render other targets in the area better targets.
Unauthorized use may also be tackled by immobilizing the equipment although an employee/operator may also be the person with the keys or code. Recording hour meters before and after weekends is the easiest way of detecting unauthorized use. Another powerful tool is the use of Global Positioning Systems such as QUALCOMM (www.qualcomm.com) that record the exact location and usage of a machine at any time of the night or day. Rental companies use GPS to monitor machines that go "off-rent" on a Friday but cannot be picked up until Monday morning.
Losses from vandalism, sabotage, unauthorized use, joyriding, and the theft of building materials and scrap metal are significant. The overall size of the problem is often underestimated because of the difficulty of tracking total losses because many of these losses are never reported to an insurance company. With a little effort, the chances of being a victim can be greatly reduced, with the added plus that many of the techniques and technologies also have a beneficial effect on safety and equipment theft.
USA Today: "Thefts at Building Sites on the Rise," Dec. 28, 2005.
Wall Street Journal: "Metal Is So Precious That Scrap Thieves Now Tap Beer Kegs. Brewmaster Combs Junkyards for Company Property; Stealing 3Â½ Tons of Steel," March 14, 2006 (online.wsj.com/article_print).
Opinions expressed in Expert Commentary articles are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the author's employer or IRMI. Expert Commentary articles and other IRMI Online content do not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinion. If such advice is needed, consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser
PREVENTING WATERDAMAGE ON CONSTRUCTION SITES
While fire is the major cause of damage to buildings under construction, water damage claims were the
second most frequent property loss in 2010. Water damage can also lead to mold growth, costly
litigation, and financial loss.
In addition to direct costs associated with cleanup, material replacement, equipment repair, and mold
remediation, water damage incidents may lead to significant indirect costs associated with construction
delays and business interruptions. Many construction contracts include liquidated damage provisions in the
event a project is delayed past a predetermined date. Construction delays, especially those near the end of
a project, can result in loss of revenues as well as increased taxes, interest expense, legal fees, inspection
fees, and marketing expenses.
One strategy to help ensure a successful project: Take proactive measures to avoid water damage and
be fully prepared to take immediate action in the event of a water intrusion.
Water Damage Prevention Plan
A water damage prevention plan (WDPP) is generally job-specific, in place prior to the start of construction,
documented in writing, available to all contractors working on the job, and included in employee orientation. It should be re-evaluated as conditions change or following any water intrusion incident.
The following areas should be considered when designing a WDPP:
Proper planning is more than just ensuring that the building envelope is weather tight before allowing
interior trades to begin work.
• In the design stage, it involves locating mechanical and electrical equipment away from areas where
water may collect, such as basements. Building plans should locate water lines in heated areas, away from
crawl spaces or closets to avoid frozen water lines.
Preventing Water Damage During Construction
• Site development or grading plans should divert water accumulations from the construction area. Connections
to permanent sewer and storm water systems should be made before building construction begins.
• Water usually enters the exterior skin of a building at transition points such as windows. The design and
installation of moisture and air infiltration barriers or retarders should allow water to exit the exterior wall
systems and ensure that external walls have appropriate drainage planes behind them. Appropriate vapor
barriers are critical.
• Building plans should include waterproofing designs to all roofs, foundations, windows, doors, gutters, and
drainage systems and specify the types of flashing, waterproofing components, moisture barriers and
• Fire sprinklers (piping, sprinkler heads, stand pipes, control boxes)
• Mechanical systems (heaters, air handlers, evaporators, chillers, tanks, boilers, piping, refrigerated lines, reservoirs)
• Wet areas (shower, bath, laundry, water closet)
• Condensation resulting from moisture-laden air in close proximity to cold surfaces
Supervisory personnel are typically responsible for implementing all water intrusion prevention methods,
such as work practice/administrative controls and engineering controls (i.e. water leak detection systems). A WDPP often further:
• Includes clearly defined responsibilities for supervisors, employees, and subcontractors.
• identifies personnel responsible for monitoring weather forecasts and properly securing the site in expectation of inclement weather
• identifies personnel having authority to shut down, delay installations, or stop construction in anticipation
of a natural event such as heavy rainfall, windstorm, flooding, or hurricane • includes personnel responsible for work scheduling, material deliveries and storage, worksite inspections, and employee training designed to minimize water damage loss
• Has an approval process for scheduling water pressure testing of sprinkler or plumbing lines.
Deliveries and Storage
Construction materials vary in their susceptibility to water damage. The WDPP should identify moisture
sensitive building materials; specify when they are to be received; and where they will be stored prior to
installation. Manufacturers and suppliers can help you determine which materials are susceptible to moisture
damage. Site supervisors and purchasing personnel should collaborate to determine the optimal delivery
schedule for these materials.
Inspections and Surveillance
The WDPP should identify personnel to monitor the site during the workday and to ensure the building is
weather tight at the end of each work shift. It should address protection during the night and on weekends. Security patrols should be responsible for detecting and responding water intrusion incidents or inadequately heated locations in the same manner as a potential security threat. Common causes of water damage during construction include:
• improper installation of weatherproofing, waterproofing, and moisture barrier systems on the exterior skin of a building
• poorly glued connections on plastic pipes or improperly sweated copper pipe connections
Supervisors should ensure that all weatherproofing/waterproofing installations adhere to the building plans, manufacturers’ specifications, industry standards, and all relevant building codes. The WDPP should include a quality control plan for plumbing connections and fittings such as marking each connection with a permanent marker. The plan should also include the fire sprinkler system.
Worksite inspections should verify that:
• Water accumulations from rain and groundwater are not migrating into the building
• All door and window openings are covered at the end of each work shift and prior to inclement weather
• Water lines and mechanical equipment are protected from freezing
• Sprinkler or plumbing lines that are pressure tested with water are drained immediately following the test
• Standpipe valves are closed
• Roof drains are not blocked with leaves or debris
• Sink drains are not clogged
• Storage areas are dry and well ventilated
• Materials are raised off the floor by pallets for storage
The WDPP often outlines preventative measures to minimize the risk of water damage such as an
administrative policy to shut off the domestic water supply during off-hours. Supervisory personnel should
verify that no trades will be working during off-hours before shutting off the water supply. In addition, they
must ensure that the domestic water line does not provide water to any operating mechanical system that
requires a constant water source. Other preventative procedures include:
• Providing a secondary power source (i.e. generator) when using sump pumps or other water pumping systems
• Testing sprinkler and plumbing systems with air pressure to identify system leaks before charging with water
• Sealing leading edges of roofing materials at the end of each day to prevent storm water from getting under an incomplete roofing membrane
• Providing heat during the winter in buildings with charged water lines or standpipes to protect from freezing
MARINE BEST PRACTICES
• Leaving a gap of at least 1/2" between the drywall and the floor to minimize water contact in the event
floors become wet
Many leak detection systems are available to help prevent water damage. Many commercial water flow
detection systems are completely non-intrusive (no cutting of pipe to install) and easy to program.
Passive leak detectors monitor water flow and sound an alarm (local or connected to a centrally monitored
system) when water starts to flow and the system is armed during off hours. Active leak detectors not only generate an alarm, but can also prevent water leaks by automatically shutting off the water supply.
The WDPP can list the leak detection systems used on site, identify supervisory personnel responsible for
their use, and refer to the operating guidelines for each system.
Employee orientation training generally includes an overview of the WDPP as well as the site-specific
engineering and administrative controls to help prevent water damage. Employees must understand
their role in helping to monitor the workplace and reporting any potential water intrusion. Training
should be reinforced during regularly scheduled “toolbox talks.”
Ideally, moisture sensitive materials will be delivered “just in time” for use. That’s not always feasible, so
offsite locations or trailers are often used for storage. The longer materials and supplies remain in storage,
the greater their exposure to water damage. Potential exposures at offsite storage locations should be
considered in the WDPP. Transportation of moisture sensitive materials to the job site is another potential cause of water damage. Moisture sensitive materials should be properly sealed and/or covered to avoid water damage in transit. During inclement weather, unloading of these materials should be delayed.
The WDPP should outline water intrusion reporting procedures and include personnel responsible for
implementing them. All employees, subcontractors, and security personnel on the site should be provided
with 24/7 emergency contact information. Reports of water intrusion should be treated as an emergency
and with the same urgency as a fire or security breach. Immediate response and cleanup within 24 hours of an incident typically results in significant cost savings compared to a delayed response. All reports of water intrusion should be investigated and results documented in writing. Photographs of damaged areas should be included.
In addition to provisions for planning, prevention, training, and response, the WDPP should include risk transfer and contract management provisions. Since subcontractors are often hired to install building components in moisture sensitive areas, proactive risk transfer methods and hold harmless language should be considered in every subcontractor agreement.
Renovation projects and new construction with partial occupancies (i.e. tenant build-outs) involve unique
challenges in preventing water damage. Engineering and administrative controls that work well in new
construction projects must be modified whenever a building, or a portion of a building, is occupied during
construction. The WDPP for renovation projects and/or buildings that will be occupied during construction should
• Requirements for site inspection prior to construction and documentation (i.e. photos) of any wet building materials or signs of mold growth
• Procedures to ensure that the domestic water line does not supply occupied portions of the building
before considering shut off during off-hours
• Requirements for installation of water flow leak detectors on water lines that supply unoccupied construction zones. When water lines supply both construction and occupied zones, moisture sensors should be used, instead of water flow leak detectors
• Procedures to receive and address water intrusion concerns from building occupants during construction
• A plan for relocating occupants in the event of a water intrusion in occupied areas
For more information, including tips on contract management, contact your local Hartford agent, or,
The information provided in these materials is intended to be general and advisory in nature. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any view or recommendation contained herein will: (i) result in the elimination of any unsafe conditions at your business locations or with respect to your business operations; or (ii) will be an appropriate legal or business practice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for the control or correction of hazards or legal compliance with respect to your practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute or undertaking, on your behalf or for the benefits of others, to determine or warrant that your business premises, locations or operations are safe or healthful, or are in compliance with any law, rule or regulation. Readers seeking to resolve specific safety, legal or business issues or concerns related to the information provided in these materials should consult their safety consultant, attorney or business advisors. All information and representations herein are as of June 2011.
MARINE BEST PRACTICES
About The Hartford’s Marine Practice
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insurance products that safeguard property enabling businesses to achieve long-term financial stability and
success. We are moving commerce ahead by providing creative, competitive, and distinctive insurance products and services to our customers across the industries we service, including the transportation, manufacturing, construction, and renewable energy sectors.
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