drawings had been approved as early as July and full approval was provided by October 12. The precast panels had been fabricated by Marietta and were awaiting erection as of November 7. A large number of panels were fabricated as of November 27. It is important to note that at this point the collapse had already occurred and that there was no possibility of precast erection until the replacement steel was fabricated and erected.
(17) Meanwhile, approval of the drawings was withdrawn by the architect on November 26. However, Durrah, the project manager for Smoot, ordered Marietta to continue production notwithstanding. Marietta apparently produced some 190 panels by December 18 and an additional 171 between December 18 and January 14, 1985. It is clear that any problems with the drawings at this point were of little consequence since production proceeded and no evidence was produced that any panel fabricated was later rejected. On the contrary, the evidence indicates that some 360 panels were produced without interruption in late November, December, and early January with no evidence of special pressure on the fabricator to rush. These facts create a strong inference that Marietta could have begun, not later than November 8, to fabricate precast panels at a rate sufficient to maintain project momentum.
(18) To the extent that Williams' argument on concurrency relates to the process of precast fabrication and to the effect of precast shop drawing delays on project progress, the Court noticed that Williams failed to call as witnesses any officials from Marietta or subpoena its company records. Instead, it presented Mr. Arthur Williams, who in 1984 was a 22 year old engineer in training and in charge of his first precast erection project. He was employed by Williams and testified on its behalf. He was not on-site but rather handled the project from his office in Virginia. Mr. Williams was scarcely in a position to comment authoritatively on conditions at Marietta at the time or on the actual impact, if any, of the precast shop drawing delays. The Court regards his testimony as of minimal value.
(19) The precast drawing issue requires the Court to make inferences based on practical experience and to consider the credibility of witnesses, the actions of the parties on this project, and the correspondence and documents referred to by counsel. Given the magnitude of the disruption caused by the steel collapse, the Court hesitates to reconstruct in retrospect what might have happened had the collapse not occurred.
(20) Given the importance of precast in getting the building enclosed for the winter and its position as the next item on the critical path, the Court finds the evidence considered as a whole indicates that, in the absence of the collapse, precast fabrication would have been begun by Marietta on a continuous basis not later than November 8, and perhaps earlier. Smoot, in estimating the 83 days of delay, had already credited the defendants for the precast issue to take account of the November 8 date.
(21) Williams and Strait then argued that there were additional Project delays after January 30, 1985, and that these negate their responsibility for delay resulting from the collapse. This argument is without merit. Defendants pointed out that while Smoot had originally scheduled Project completion for October 10, 1985, final inspection did not occur until May 8, 1986, and actual acceptance was not achieved until early January 1987. Exhibits admitted into evidence contain observations and criticisms by the District of various items of construction work. Such comments from the owner are normal in any on-going construction, but defendants argue that these problems demonstrate, in effect, that the Project would have been delayed in any event.
(22) This argument ignores an 83 calendar day delay on the critical path. In addition, Smoot's president testified that the impact of the collapse was to cause a loss of momentum which was never recovered. Even without this circumstance, however, the logical inference was that regardless of whatever other delays might have occurred, the Project would have been completed 83 days earlier, but for the collapse. Smoot does not charge defendants with any delay after the steel reerection was complete. Instead, a clearly identified 83 day period, proximately related to the collapse, is found to be defendants' responsibility.
(23) After carefully considering the parties' testimony and the record concerning the case and after having concluded that 83 calendar days of delay have been demonstrated, the Court turns to the quantification of damages attributable to the defendants Strait and Williams. Smoot's expert, Brower & Associates, and the plaintiff's other witnesses quantify these as follows:
Extra labor for job security
and safety; anchor bolt
removal and reinstallation $ 3,554
Loss of labor productivity due
to disrupted site and discontinuity
of work 19,604
Unabsorbed home office overhead
(Eichleay formula) 109,911
Unabsorbed field office overhead 74,463
Extended equipment cost 5,000
(Plaintiff estimated these damages
at $ 11,205. Upon review, this Court
has awarded the sum of $ 5,000.)
Escalated cost of winter protection 2,888
Labor escalation 4,049
Increase of insurance premium 135,000
Claims of attorneys' fees and expert
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