Structural Forensics


A structure may fail to perform as well as intended for one or more of the following reasons: the original design didn’t fully adhere to the design codes and specifications; failure to conform to established engineering practices; the use of flawed design parameters (inadequate soil data in a foundation design, for instance); the structure was subjected to forces it was not meant to handle; poor construction materials; or inferior construction practices. A structure also deteriorates with time and exposure to the elements.

At NEDF we have the expertise to pinpoint the cause(s) of a structure’s distress and outline the steps required to remedy the problem. And our forensic capabilities are not derived from simple studies of design codes, textbooks and the works of other engineers; we have ourselves designed the types of structures that we agree to investigate. We have technical knowledge and educational training that is rarely found in the industry.

We provide our client with a clear and concise technical report of our findings, which may include repair scope of work. This will enable the party to make an informed decision, whether for insurance purposes or remedial requirements. Acting as an expert witness, we will give honest and factual testimony at a mediation meeting or court of law. We will accomplish all this within the budget and the prescribed time frame.

We investigate all structural aspects of the following buildings: residential (both single and multi-family), commercial, heavy industrial and petrochemical. The construction materials include reinforced concrete, structural steel, masonry and wood (both sawn lumber and engineered wood). We investigate foundation settlements, cracked walls, distressed columns and beams, sagging and cracked floor slabs, and damaged roof members.

Our experience in the design of non-building structures allows us to undertake the following assignments: overhead transmission lines; supports of PCS and dish antennas; signage supports, both free-standing and attachments; pipe racks and towers; retaining walls; industrial silo foundations; and supports of elevated chillers, vibrating equipment, industrial bins and conveyors.