‘Defective’ pool lawsuit victory

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A Tucker’s Town resident has won a $54,000 lawsuit over a “defective” swimming pool.

While Paul Cripp complained that his swimming pool began to have problems less than a year after it was built, with tiles falling off and lights working only intermittently, Pool Care Ltd argued that the problems were not related to the quality of the construction.

According to a court judgment dated December 20, while everything appeared to go “swimmingly” after the pool was completed in 2008, problems began to arise in 2009.

Pool Care returned to make repairs on the pool every year until 2013, when the complainant reached out to other companies to address the issue. After two other masons identified issues with the pool’s construction, the complainant filed a lawsuit valued at $54,292.49 plus interest.

The judgment noted reports by the masons which identified construction errors, including the creation of a weakness when the height of the pool was extended, the absence of a joint specified by the plans, large voids around the light cavities caused by poorly mixed gunite, hollow spots in the walls and areas of soft concrete in the ground slab.

However, Warren McHaig, of Pool Care Ltd, suggested the cracks could have been caused by seismic activity on the island, and argued that the gunite mixture used in the project was properly mixed by machine.

He also explained that a “hammer test” was conducted on the pool in 2008 with voids being identified and repaired.

Regarding the extension of the pool, Mr McHaig told the court that he had discussed raising the level of the pool to bypass a pipe with the complainants architect — a conversation Mr McHaig had not mentioned in prior witness statements.

However, documents before the court showed that the most recent earthquakes near Bermuda took place in April 2011, after the first cracks appeared, and December 2013, after the defendant’s last attempt to fix the issue.

And an e-mail provided to the court indicated that the defendant was aware that another pool he built at around the same time had similar problems.

Meanwhile, an expert for the defence told the court that the gunite mixture would not be problematic where the mixing was mechanically performed, offering general explanations as to how voids could develop in the plaster laid on top of the gunite shell which did not entail poor workmanship.

In his judgment, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley found that Mr Cripp had proven to the civil standard that the defects in the pool were caused by the failures of the plaintiff.

“In particular, I find that the top layer of the pool was raised by the defendant without sufficiently securing it the rest of the pool structure causing the cracking and loosening of tiles which the defendant was unable to fix,” he wrote.

“I accept the expert evidence in this respect and find that this aspect of the work was carried out at the initiative of the defendant without seeking explicit approval or advice from [the architect].”

He also found that the hollow spots in the pool bottom were caused by a failure to properly clean the gunite shell surface.

“These findings are further supported by the fact that other clients had similar problems and the lack of conviction with which the defendant responded when notified of serious defects being found in November 2013,” he added.

As a result, he found in the favour of the applicant for the full sum requested.

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Published Jan 3, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 3, 2017 at 2:38 am)

‘Defective’ pool lawsuit victory

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