Claims Consulting Experience
Michael J. Vallez, P.E., MBA
Recent Construction Expert and Claims Consulting
Throughout his construction management and executive career, Mr. Vallez has been involved in addressing construction cost, schedule, quality, and safety issues from both the owner and contractor perspectives. Based on his extensive and diverse career, Mr. Vallez has also been called upon to provide expert witness and claims consulting services to a variety of clients, including lawyers representing owners and contractors.
High Rise Hotel Project - U.S.
Lead expert on behalf of the developer of a high-rise urban hotel project against the contractor for severe quality issues, multi-year delays and $68 million in cost overruns.
Mine Process Plant - Canada
Lead Expert on behalf of an international EPCM engineer/contractor defending against a multifaceted CAD$750 million claim on a major mining process plant.
In this case, the owner (plaintiff) claimed that Vallez’s client did not apply an acceptable standard of care for the design and construction of a large process plant under an EPCM arrangement, leading to major cost and schedule overruns.
Vallez’s work included a point-by-point rebuttal to the plaintiff’s expert report. Vallez identified and documented the major causes of project delays and was able to attribute these delays to actions and decisions by the owner and feed this information to the schedule analyst/expert. Vallez performed a detailed analysis of the contractors EPCM work performance against an industry standard of care and assessed the impacts of the owner’s actions and decisions in the areas of planning, stage-gating, risk management, cost control, staffing, change management, and scheduling on the project. Vallez was able to correlate the owners’ actions and decisions with historical cause-effect studies, thereby associating the schedule and cost overruns with the owner, not the EPCM work performed by the client.
Urban Civil Infrastructure Project – U.S.
Lead Expert on behalf of a major U.S. city involving a claim against a contractor regarding workmanship on a civil infrastructure project.
This assignment included writing an expert report for the city (plaintiff), and a surrebuttal to the contractor’s expert. The contractor’s failure to plan and execute the specified dewatering of the site was one of the root causes of the workmanship issues that led to a near complete write off of the asset. To rebut the contractor’s expert, Vallez provided an analysis and opinion of the geotechnical report to demonstrate that a clear reading of the contract and geotechnical report did not support the contractor’s defense.
Process Plant Structural Collapse - Canada
Expert on behalf of a major turnkey component engineering and equipment supplier regarding a two-part claim that included a $380 million claim by the owner and insurer for an alleged structural failure and resulting damages for delay in the amount of $500 million, and consequential damages.
Vallez Provided a detailed as-built schedule analysis of the post failure sequence of remedial structural work, and a standard of care analysis of the pre-construction planning and analysis of the interface between the owner and the equipment manufacturer.
LNG Plant Analysis - Australia
Quantum Expert on civil portions of a major multibillion-dollar international LNG project.
On behalf of the owner, performed a quantum analysis of the project cost overruns on civil work, including an analysis of all change orders and change requests. The quantum work that resulted was used by the owner to address claims against the EPCM firms involved in the project.
High Voltage Power Line - Canada
Lead Expert on behalf of a major government corporation regarding a $200 million contractor claim for alleged changed conditions, weather delays, and contract interference regarding a 1,500 kilometer high-voltage transmission line project.
In this case, Vallez prepared a rebuttal against the contractor’s $200 million claim. Vallez’s approach involved a detailed analysis of historical weather records, cold weather constructability analysis, and review of project schedules, correspondence, and contract. Prior to award of the construction contract, the contractor prepared a risk management plan, including over thirty project risks, and corresponding risk management strategies and tactics. Implementation of the risk management plan was a requirement of the construction contract. By performing multiple root cause analyses, Vallez was able to show that the contractor’s mismanagement and failure to implement its risk management plans was the major causal factor in the cost overruns.
Vallez also provided input and direction to the schedule consultant who performed a windows analysis.
Suspension Bridge Project - Canada
Vallez provided expert witness consulting on behalf of a bridge contractor to support a $15 million claim for changed conditions, engineering delays, and contract interference.
For this project, Vallez applied his industry experience to show how the owners engineer deviated from the contract and standard practices for contract administration, as a root cause of the project delays and cost overruns. Provided input and direction to the schedule consultant who performed a windows analysis.
LNG Project - Australia
Lead Civil Expert on behalf of a contractor involved in a multibillion-dollar LNG terminal project in Australia.
In this case, the contractor experienced cost and schedule overruns on its performance of site civil work for a major LNG plant construction due to changed and unforeseen conditions. To support this claim, Vallez performed a detailed review and analysis of the geotechnical data provided by the owner at the time of bid and re-created a “ground up” constructability analysis based on that that original data, and information gathered during construction. Vallez was able to demonstrate that the change between the original information and actual conditions was sufficient to warrant a changed condition claim.
Custom Equipment Manufacture - Australia
Vallez provided expert representation of a major component equipment supplier/contractor regarding a $50 million construction claim related to a multibillion-dollar mine development project.
In this heavy industry case, the equipment supplier/contractor Vallez represented had a prime contract to supply and install a major piece of mining equipment to a large hard rock surface mining operator. Vallez prepared an analysis and report to support its defects claim against a Chinese fabricator who was to manufacture and deliver the equipment to the mine site, for field assembly.
Hydroelectric Dam - Canada
Vallez was the lead expert representing a major Canadian Crown corporation in defense of a $55 million contractor claim for alleged changed conditions, interference, and contract administration pertaining to a large rockfill hydroelectric dam.
In this case, the general contractor for the rockfill fill dam project claimed that the geological conditions encountered on the project caused it excess cost and time to complete the work. The work required the contractor to temporarily divert the river; remove granular material in the riverbed to expose solid bedrock at the dam site; prepare the bedrock on which to place the site manufactured rockfill; manufacture the rockfill from an adjacent quarry of competent rock; then haul, place, and consolidate the manufactured rockfill in the dam. The contractor’s complaint included a claim that unforeseen conditions existed along the interface between the granular riverbed material and bedrock; a claim that the rock in the quarry was not correctly described in the geological and geotechnical information provided to the contractor at bid time; and other claims against the owner related to its administration of the contract.
Based on an analysis of the CPM schedule utilizing an as-built but-for schedule delay analysis Vallez demonstrated that:
- The contractor did not incur time related prolongation cost.
- The contractor’s compression (acceleration) claim was not supported.
- The contractor’s schedule did not meet the requirements of the contract and did not meet quality standards.
- The contractor knowingly proffered a two-year schedule that was impossible to achieve and contradictory to its bid assumptions.
In addition, Vallez demonstrated the following:
- The contractor did not correctly plan and execute its rock blasting in the quarry that was required to manufacture the required rockfill to meet the specifications. Vallez proved this by performing an independent analysis of the correct rockfill manufacturing and transportation operation using knowledge of rock blasting models and cost and productivity estimating for earthwork operations. Through this analysis, Vallez was able to show that the contractor did not base its estimate or construction plan on a sound application of standard industry practices for rock blasting, quarrying, hauling, and rockfill placement.
- The contractors schedule delay and schedule compression claims were unfounded, based on an analysis of the CPM schedule utilizing an as-built but-for schedule delay analysis.