Thursday, November 25, 2010

Reflections on my recent trip to South Africa: There are no construction defect suits for tin shacks.

I recently returned to Colorado from a two week trip to South Africa.  The main purpose of the trip was to attend the Entrepreneurs' Organization's Cape Town University, which was a phenomenal experience.  I was able to listen to exceptional speakers such as Lee Berger, Denis Goldberg, Gayton McKenzie, and Ian Thomas.  After spending a few days at at the conference and touring around Cape Town, I questioned whether there is any industry in South Africa similar to the construction defect industry in the United States.  I did a limited amount of research and discovered that, in fact, there is not a construction defect epidemic in South Africa.  I left Cape Town after the conference to go on safari and to visit Johannesburg.

Upon visiting Soweto, outside of Johannesburg, and  Guguletu, later when I returned to Cape Town, I witnessed first hand the abject poverty suffered by millions of individuals and families in South Africa.  What I came away with was that if you live in a tin shack and have to worry daily regarding the health and safety of your family, you have bigger problems than whether the exterior synthetic stone on your house lacks adequate clearance from your heated driveway.  Seeing how people live in these townships certainly puts things into perspective.  I do not think that the experience made me any less empathetic to people who suffer from true construction defects, but I do believe I will be less tolerant in the future of homeowners who claim that having only four nails per shingle on their roof instead of six has ruined their lives.

I also came back from South Africa with a deeper appreciation for the United States of America.  I am happy to have had the experiences I did in South Africa, but I am glad to be home.  

I spent the last week in mediation and trying to catch up.  Hopefully we will have our blog up and running again next week.  In the interim, if you have any questions regarding construction litigation in Colorado, please feel free to call me at (303) 987-9813 or send me an e-mail at



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