WOOD VS. WIND – AND A HIDDEN CODE VIOLATION
During a late-winter storm in 2010, a dozen massive wooden poles holding the nets at a golf course’s driving range collapsed, destroying a large section of the range. The facility had been built just 10 years earlier. Were icy weather and high winds the sole cause? Or were design flaws to blame?
The property insurer consulted a structural engineer, who found nothing wrong with the driving range’s design. But given the size of the loss and the newness of the structures involved, we convinced the insurer to dig deeper.
We hired a second engineer who studied the support system for the nets, determining that the wind load placed on the wooden poles was greater than they could withstand.
We quickly placed all parties involved in the range’s design and construction on notice and conducted an on-site inspection. Insurers for the defendants denied the claim, attempting to blame our insured for failing to remove the nets before winter set in.
Shortly afterward, another icy storm blew in, causing poles on the range’s opposite side to collapse. We promptly filed suit and, during discovery, uncovered flaws in the wind load analysis conducted during design, proving that the wooden poles did not meet applicable codes for wind load. The case ended in a large recovery for our client.