Senior Center Short Circuited by Failure to Remove Drain Plugs

An electrical contractor designed and installed an exterior bus duct during construction of insured’s 250,000 square foot Senior Living facility in Livermore, CA in 2004. The bus duct carried up to 480 volts through the 3–phase 3,000 amp bus duct supplying power to the entire facility. However the contractor neglected to remove drain plugs in the floor of the bus duct as required by the manufacturer, and utilized a poorly designed support system to keep the bus duct off the ground. As a result a section of the bus duct settled over time causing water to penetrate the duct. An internal arcing episode occurred knocking out power to the entire facility. Total damages exceeded $296,000. The contractor claimed the settling was due to over-watering of the area by the insured and that the “completed and accepted” doctrine precluded recovery.

Following a private mediation before trial the case ultimately settled for $232,000.

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