Engineering

When Do You Need a Forensic Expert?

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July 30, 2020

When the building breaks, the car wrecks, or someone falls, who are you going to call? Well it’s certainly not Ghostbusters!

The real question is who are you going to call to understand why an issue developed and determine whether someone may be responsible? A forensic expert will be a great place to start.

First, what is a forensic expert? A forensic expert is someone who takes the time to explore all options when it comes to problem solving. Someone who is knowledgeable about topics that may include: roofing, foundation, structural, or water intrusion; data breaches and cybersecurity; structure or vehicular fires; or, motor vehicle accidents.

The forensic engineer is a trained professional who investigates residential, commercial and even industrial properties in search of the source of a detected issue, large or small. They study different soil types and behavior, patterns of cracks, weather patterns, how building components work together, and the list goes on and on. They are who we look to when we just can’t figure out the issue at hand, and we need someone, trained with a critical eye and analytical mind, to investigate the issue, to determine if there is a problem and what the problem really is, and provide a written report with those findings and suggested recommendations.

The engineer’s background can include planning, design and construction assistance for commercial, residential and industrial development and building projects where complete layout and infrastructure is required. The expert’s body of knowledge expands through the interrelationships encountered from project commencement to completion or the intricate details of ADA accessibility to walking surfaces. Other experts develop understanding through roadway projects and understand how motorists react in given situations where accidents occur.

A forensic expert is needed when the source of the problem cannot be detected by the untrained eye.

For example, as flood events occur, scouring and erosion can compromise building foundation systems that can create long-term damage that may not be visible or recognizable until another event occurs or the building succumbs to erosion. Another cause of structural damage can be related to fungal decay or insect-related reasons due to an abundance of water intrusion overtime. There are really several possible factors to the types of damages or claims that call for a forensic engineer.

Not only does their job entail investigating, but there is a legal aspect as well. As litigation breaks out, the forensic expert must be able to educate the legal professionals, defend his findings and expert opinions, and testify his/her findings in a court of law.

Next time don’t take a guess—reach out for a forensic expert who is well trained and eager to take on the challenge of scoping out the issue at hand. Forensic Consulting Group is a sister company of CNC and can answer your questions and give expert guidance when it’s needed most. Contact them at 855.750.1044 or admin@fcgengineers.com.


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