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New Urbanism is, with the new world of lifestyle choices and development opportunities, among the most prominent current concepts in city planning and development. Typically this type of real estate development is the creation of diverse, walkable and compact communities with mixed-use elements including high-rise condominiums.

Along with these development opportunities developers are also discovering construction risk issues that differ from those more familiar to suburban subdivisions. The construction risks associated with New Urbanism differ substantially from what builders may have experienced.

According to Don Neff, President of LaJolla Pacific, Ltd., who works with developers around the west,

“looking at the top risks leading to construction defect litigation, there is a different order of impact compared to single-family dwellings, encompassing water intrusion, acoustical, MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing), common wall and occupancy and/or ownership separation issues. These are all much more critical concerns for both residential occupants and retail tenants in a mixed-use project in a New Urbanist context, for example.”

Prior to taking on high-rise condominium projects, developers and contractors need to understand the unique risks involved.

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