What Is a Forensic Engineering Inspection?

What Is a Forensic Engineering Inspection?

June 30, 2021

Most people don’t think about what forensic engineering is because, whatever it may be, they don’t think it applies to them. The opposite couldn’t be more true. Forensic engineering inspections don’t just determine how a building fell apart after the fact—they save money, protect property and keep you out of harm’s way.

The role of forensic engineering

When people hear the word “forensic,” most of them imagine detectives sleuthing their way around a crime scene. The detective gathers evidence that illustrates a story of what happened, who did it and why. Police track down the culprit and bring them to court, where they stand trial for their deeds.

Forensic engineering isn’t like the crime shows you see on TV, although forensic engineers and detectives do share some similarities. Instead of investigating crime scenes, forensic engineers visit sites that experienced building or structural failure. They collect evidence in order to determine what caused the structure to collapse, which prosecutors can use in court if the failure caused bodily injury or property damage.

How forensic engineers inspect structures

A forensic engineering inspection starts off with engineers arriving at the site. If a new building collapsed, the engineers will look for signs of structural failure. They inspect the rubble, taking note of which types of materials were used during construction and how they initially fit together. In older buildings, forensic engineers look for more subtle signs of wear and tear, such as rust, sagging and mold growth.

Once they’ve gathered evidence from the site, engineers will interview people who witnessed the collapse or the poor conditions of a building. These testimonials help fill in the gaps of the story and give engineers a better idea of what happened. The team of engineers will then complete a report that contains all their findings, which can potentially be used to file lawsuits against the property owner or construction company.

Why these inspections are important

Forensic engineering inspections help determine who was responsible for the structural collapse or poor upkeep of a property. Engineers have to find the person or company responsible so they don’t cause more damage in the future. These inspections are necessary in court cases so people who were injured or lost property as a result of the structural failure can get damages from the prosecuted company or individual.

Forensic engineering sheds light on construction practices so contractors don’t make the same mistakes in future projects. The engineers make breakthrough discoveries about which materials shouldn’t be used anymore and how to build load-bearing walls that are safe. Forensic engineers do more than prevent the inconvenience of having to rebuild—they also save lives.

When catastrophe strikes, you need someone to figure out what went wrong. The forensic engineers at High Plains Engineering & Design, LLC are here to solve the mystery so you can rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way. Check out all the types of inspections we offer to learn why our team is right for the job, then call to schedule a consultation.

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