Understanding Forensic Structural Engineering & Its Necessities

by Sofia C. Blogger, Self Employed
Forensic structural engineering is the study and determination of causes behind the structural failure of constructions. This branch of engineering is often confused and is important to understand. This article has some basic information regarding the same.

Forensics Expert Witness ReportsForensic structural engineering is the investigation and determination of the causes of structural failures of buildings, bridges and other constructed facilities, as well as rendering opinions and giving testimony in judicial proceedings.

This type of engineering has become a field of professional practice and many companies are rendering forensic structural engineering services to their clients. With rapid economic development, increased design sophistication, more-and-more daring construction technology and accelerated project delivery came the increase in the number of structural failures throughout the world.

Crucial to the field of forensic engineering is the process of investigating and collecting data related to the materials, products, structures or components that failed. This involves inspections, collecting evidence, measurements, developing models, obtaining exemplary products, and performing experiments. Often testing and measurements are conducted in an independent testing laboratory or another reputable unbiased laboratory.

Goals of investigations:

  • To determine the causes of failure.
  • To compare statements by witnesses or injured parties with physical evidence.
  • To ascertain whether or not there was an illegal activity going on.
  • To assess damage to materials, products or structures and evaluate repair estimate.

Qualification of professionals:

  • Technically competent
  • Knowledge of legal procedures
  • Detective abilities

Causes of structural failure:

  • Design deficiencies
  • Construction deficiencies
  • Material deficiencies
  • Administrative deficiencies
  • Maintenance deficiencies

According to Jack Janney (1986), structural failure can be divided into:

  1. Structural Distress: an impairment of the strength or load response of a structure which may limit its use as intended.
  2. Structural Failure: the reduction of the capability of a structural system or component to such a degree that it cannot safely serve its intended purpose.
  3. Structural Collapse: Gross movement of major members or a significant portion of a structural system manifested by the creation of rubble from breakage of the members themselves and elements supported by themselves.

Establishing a preliminary objective and scope of work, checking on conflicts in interest, executing a contract agreement, and establishing an investigative plan.

Investigation process can be divided into the following subparts:

  1. Definition of investigation objective
  2. Collection of background information and documents
  3. Initial site visit
  4. Formation of investigation plan and project team
  5. Formulation of initial failure hypotheses
  6. Comprehensive document review
  7. Site investigation, field testing, and sample collection
  8. Structural analysis and laboratory testing
  9. Revision of failure hypotheses
  10. Final conclusion
  11. Report

These are some basic concepts of forensic structural engineering. Further knowledge can be gathered from professionals working in the field in Brisbane.

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About Sofia C. Freshman   Blogger, Self Employed

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Joined APSense since, July 12th, 2018, From Sydney, Australia.

Created on Jul 17th 2018 07:43. Viewed 386 times.


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