Pyrrhotite Contaminated Concrete – A Call for Collaboration

Map showing area in MA and CT with pyrrhotite contaminated concrete

In Biblical fashion, more than 34,000 residential foundations in Connecticut and Massachusetts were built on sand between 1983 and 2016.  Not literally, but many if not most residential concrete foundations containing pyrrhotite aggregate from Becker’s Quarry in Willington, CT and mixed by JJ Mottes Concrete in Stafford Springs, CT will need to be repaired or replaced eventually. Those that contain pyrrhotite and have not (yet) shown evidence of failure will remain suspect and likely impact the value of the real estate.  This article focuses on the single-family residential sector but the problem may be wider. Connecticut DOT asserted that pyrrhotite concrete has not impacted its structures. However, there is visual evidence that some commercial and multi-family residential structures are showing telltale signs of pyrrhotite deterioration. What is known is that thousands of pyrrhotite foundations are crumbling in a slow-motion disaster.  The cost of correction currently ranges from $150,000 to $350,000, for lifting and fully replacing foundations. The economic impact on the region is immense. Connecticut officials have already identified approximately 50 towns affected by pyrrhotite foundations.  Only about 700 buildings have been officially reported to date in Connecticut. However, Governor Malloy estimates that over 34,000 homes might be affected. Massachusetts …

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Create a Legally Defensible Document Retention / Destruction Policy

My February 2015 NARI Legal Corner guest blog titled Build a Record You’ll Be Proud Of, addressed the importance of recordkeeping for contractors and provided practical guidelines for creating project records.  It showed that the successful management of construction projects requires proper management of a company’s records and other “information assets.”  Information asset management should be viewed as a key component of every contractor’s overall risk management program. The article concluded by recommending that organizations develop and implement a document retention policy and legal retention schedule, which together allow old records to be destroyed in a legally defensible manner. This article describes an approach to managing and retiring (destroying) information assets that is based on industry standards and best practices. A document retention policy is really a document destruction policy Information as Assets Broadly defined, information assets include not only project records, accounting records and official documents but all other information holding any value or representing any risk to the organization.  Information assets include anything that is recorded or stored such as email, instant messaging, voicemail, databases, digital photos or any type of document, whether printed out or not.  Assets in the form of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) also include …

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Build a Record That You’ll Be Proud Of


The management of construction projects involves the management of information. Frequently, decisions need to be made on-the-fly, before the written information necessary to document the decision is available.  Under time pressure and with no reliable systems in place, project documentation (building a record) is regularly neglected. Unfortunately, a poorly built record can have serious negative legal, and financial consequences. Why Build a Record? One good measure of the success of a construction project is whether the completed building meets the needs and vision of the owner. Even small projects require a written proposal containing references to plans and specifications.  Without good documentation, there is a greatly increased risk that the customer’s vision may not be converted to reality, leading to a dispute.  A key attribute of project documentation is the extent to which it enables any given stakeholder (general contractor, subcontractor, designer, supplier, owner, lender, insurer) to protect its own legal and financial interests during the course of, and after the project. A poorly built record can have serious negative, legal, and financial consequences. If a dispute arises for any reason (payment, workmanship, change orders, etc.) the first thing that lawyers need to see is the record – for the …

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