Wall collapses in apartment complex
The incident took place in a multi-family apartment complex containing 37 buildings and 548 units. The foundations of two of the buildings ran alongside the top of a gravity stone retaining wall approximately 25 ft away. During an unprecedentedly heavy rainstorm, a portion of the 30 ft-high retaining wall collapsed into a pond below.
An engineer determined that the retaining wall, built approximately 20 years previously, had been rotating forward for some years prior to the reported date of loss. It appeared that a lack of maintenance to the retaining wall (evidenced by missing mortar and growth of vegetation between the stones) had potentially contributed to the event, but the cause of loss could not be confirmed. The insured claimed for full replacement of the wall, asserting that the incident damaged the entire wall, not just the collapsed section.
After discussions with the insured about the condition of the retaining wall, potential insufficient maintenance and lack of evidence that the whole wall had been damaged, a compromise settlement was reached that covered repairs to the collapsed section of the wall and stabilising portions on either side.