This is the problem, at least around here.

Did an evaluation of a 4 story, 8 unit split faced block building in Chicago. Three years old and a real mess.

  1. Developer paid an Architect to design. The Architect, as more and more is happening, used AutoCad and just cut and pasted the plans. There has been a recent change to the local code requiring rebar to be installed in the walls, especially at the bond-beam areas under the joists. BUT, AutoCad never got, nor did they pass on to their clients, that update.
  2. Builder built the building, following the plans. "No rebar in the plans, therefore we don’t have to use it.
  3. Building dept “reviewed” (meaning, they held onto them for a week to make it look like they actually had some expertise, which the don’t being mere “city employees”, which in Chicago means that they know an Alderman) the plans.
  4. Building done and signed off on.
  5. Three years later, the building exterior side walls (single whyth, 8" split block) are bowing and the building will be blessed if it is torn down.
  6. The clients (the condo association) cannot understand that there is no one that they can sue (and hope to recover). 8 families have just lost their down payments and 3 years of mortgage and assessment payments and are out on the street.

This is what I deal with, pretty much every day. It’s like informing someone that they have cancer.

I fail to understand why a Architect who designs cr-p gets off Scott free to continue his pattern while a ghetto kid stealing a candy bar from hunger gets sent to 26th and California.

What a great country.

Where is the AHJ? Getting paid-off, I bet.

There are many, de facto, AHJs.

  1. City of Chicago Building Dept. Underfunded, usually just a revolving door for the Unions and friends of city officials looking for jobs. BTW> By Illinois law and case law, local code officials have NO liability. So, a governmentg employee, and a member of a union, and no expectation of being held “responsible” and protected by a political patron, why should they be expected to do any real work? Not so much pay-offs, just typical government employee cr*p.
  2. Local gas utility, People’s Energy. These guys are good and on top of things. They even give us free training every year and the VP of operation’s personal cell phone number, in case we run into anything. Sure, they ain’t the city, but the can shut off the gas to ANYTHING!
  3. Local electric utility. Usually pretty good, but also underfunded and underpaid.
  4. Local fire dept. Also good, but underfunded and overworked.

Hope this helps;

Not so sure about the under funded part as much as I am the funds simply not allocated where they should be.

Another good example of why a third party inspector should be involved in every construction project.

I think it’s crazy people hire contractors to build/remodel for them and they have no one looking out for their best interest.

Thanks for posting Will, interesting.

why is there no one to sue? shouldnt the owner be held liable? the architect? anyone?

The builder was just following the Architect plans, and has no liability.

In Illinois, municipal code inspectors are pro9tected, by court rulings, from any liability.

Sure, the Architect whould have known better, but he was relying on his AutoCad program to supply the details, of which he has no freakin’ clue, even though the law says that they do.

A new program being started by the City of Chicago is to have “registered Architects” who are certified by the city and are responsible to do the construction inspections and file these certifiecations with the city. another attempt by the city to shirk any liability.

QAnd the fun keeps right on coming.

I work in commercial construction and we dont have an in house engineer or architect- when a customer has a plan and its not engineered we have to get one or have them sign papers that its THEIR design and not ours. The reason for the stamp is to assign liabilty. I think the engineering company’s insurance should be paying these poor people for their losses

In Missouri, the architect would have been sued because of his negligence and the contractor would have been sued because he should have caught the architect screw up.
My once owned heating and cooling company caught a ductwork screwup on a set of plans for a retail store. We made the general contractor go back to the architect and redraw the plans. If we installed the system wrong, no matter what we would have been held responsible with the general contractor and the architect.
As an inspector, I get involved in cases where everybody who was involved gets sued.

When this happens in Missouri or Kansas, the realtors and attorneys cry that this is why we need home inspectors licensed .

I agree with u. That is good infro…

We need licensed home inspectors so reports will all be basic, the same, and say nothing about any defects. No appliances, one this, one that. And on top of that, we need insurance, required by law, so when we get sued, we pay for the defects we did not document, because, by law, you do not have to.

Everyone gets protected but us.

As a GC I see this crap all the time…the kicker is that they put ALL the liability on the GC to ensure that THEIR plans are correct…like what the heck are they getting paid for? I have pissed off plenty of Architects and rightfully so… I had one residential client fire his architect and I ended up doing the blueprints myself with a few SE stamps on same.


I will never forget, when I was working as a welder, doing a job at the old main post office in Chicago, the GC had a shouting match with the guy that drew the plains up , he end up throwing the plans at the guys feet and shut everyone down, until he got good ones. never did get all my $$$ from that job.