Could defective pipes be the cause of unexplained water leaks in your building?
Donna DiMaggio Berger
22 May 2016

Unexplained water leaks are an unfortunate fact of life for far too many high-rise communities.  While your board and members may feel there is nothing to be done other than regular repairs and perhaps a prayer for good luck, the fact is that buildings constructed in Florida between the years 2003-2010 may contain defective pipes and, if your building received a Certificate of Occupancy between 2006 and 2010, you may still have a cause of action to resolve the problem once and for all.

Allied, a division of Tyco, manufactured metal vertical water risers that were joined to horizontal runs of CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) pipe in many high-rise buildings. CPVC is a thermoplastic which is produced by chlorinating polyvinyl resin and is used most often in hot and cold water pipes. Often it is the CPVC pipes that service units off of the main risers and into units. Most frequently, these are fire sprinkler pipes.

Allied (or ABF piping) was used in buildings during the time period of 2003 through a portion of 2010.  When used together, the CPVC pipe deteriorates at a more rapid pace than expected which, in turn, causes leaks.  At some point, Allied became aware that there was a problem with the incompatibility between the ABF and the CPVC pipes and stopped using this combination in early 2010.

If your building was constructed between 2003-2010 and has this combination of ABF and metal piping and CPVC piping, the failure will ultimately occur even if it has not yet happened. While you do not need to be a high-rise to have this combination (it has been discovered in HOA clubhouses and low to mid-rise condominiums and cooperatives) it is much more prevalent in high-rise structures.

My law firm, Becker & Poliakoff, is investigating and pursuing these claims on behalf of our clients throughout Florida and elsewhere in the U.S.

How can you tell if you have this combination?

Often, you can confirm if you have the defective pipe combination by simply observing the pipes in locations where such observation is readily accessible. You will see the ABF or Allied markings on the pipes and should be able to see the joinder of metal pipes to plastic or CPVC piping. If not, our experts (some from MIT and others who are local engineers) can visit your community to readily determine if the problem exists in your building.

Who is responsible for this problem?

There are two classes of claims i) class action claims against the manufacturers of the pipe and ii) claims against developers and contractors. If the Board does not pursue these parties, then ultimately the Board or the members will be responsible to make repairs as the leaks surface over time.

How long do you have to address this problem?

The statute of repose, which is the longest time frame you have to resolve the issue, is ten (10) years from the completion of your building.

For more information on this defective pipe problem and how to solve it, please contact me at or visit our website at

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea condo sues Related, contractors over alleged shoddy construction
The Real Deal
26 May 2016

For the third time in five months, another condo project developed by the Related Group is facing accusations of shoddy construction work likely to cost millions to repair.

Last week, the condo association for Aquazul, a 96-unit condo tower in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, filed a lawsuit against Related, the project’s general contractor Pavarinni, and 18 subcontractors over the installation of a fire sprinkler system that is allegedly leaking water and causing extensive damage to fixtures and personal property.

A spokesperson for Related declined comment because company representatives have not seen the lawsuit, which was filed on May 13 in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

In the Aquazul lawsuit, the condo association alleges Tyco International, the company that installed the fire sprinkler system, knowingly connected steel pipes and PVC pipes that were incompatible. The complaint states that the steel pipes were coated with a material that caused pinhole leaks, cracks and blowouts if hooked up to the PVC pipes.

The condo association further alleges that Tyco executives conspired with their counterparts at Ohio-based Lubrizol Corp., the subcontractor that makes the PVC pipes, to mislead and failed to warn the construction industry about the incompatibility. Tyco general counsel Jennifer Ellis and Lubrizol spokesperson Julie Young did not respond to The Real Deal’s requests for comment.

The complaint also claims that after Tyco and Lubrizol disclosed there was a problem connecting the steel and PVC pipes together, Related and its building contractors installed the faulty system anyway. Related completed the building, at 1600 South Ocean Boulevard in Pompano Beach, in 2005.

The association is seeking to recover the cost to repair and replace the sprinkler system, and to reimburse unit owners for the damages they sustained.

Last month, the condo associations for the Trump Towers I,II, and III in Sunny Isles Beach, which were built by Related and Dezer Development, sued the two companies, as well as the construction companies of the project, over 150 defects in the three condos. And the three condo associations of the Icon Brickell have a pending lawsuit against the building’s general contractor John Moriarty & Associates and design firm Arquitectonica alleging construction defects too. Related built the tower, but is not named in the lawsuit.

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