Many people are familiar with the common types of engineering: civil, electrical, mechanical, environmental, structural, and so on. But one discipline that might not be so widely known is forensic engineering, also referred to as investigative engineering.
Forensic engineering can be anything that requires an investigation into the origin and cause of a failure or malfunction. These investigations and subsequent engineering reports are conducted by licensed professional engineers. This type of engineering is more common than most people may think. Insurance companies often call upon professional engineers to investigate claims that people make for some type of damage to their house or building structure. Professional engineers are brought in to analyze the situation and determine if the insurance claim is legitimate, who should pay for the damage, and the possibility and scope of repair. Property owners, plant managers, and others may also request forensic engineering services.
Weather-related events such as wind, ice, hail, and snow are frequently the cause of structural damage. Foundation shifting, roof damage, burst pipes, electrical malfunctions, and other structural and equipment issues can be subject to a forensic engineering investigation in order to determine the cause of damage. Fire origin investigations are also common in forensic engineering, in addition to the evaluation of the structural integrity of the building or area involved in the fire. Equipment failures or malfunctions can also be investigated.
Forensic engineering often seeks to answer questions – was the flooding situation caused by a damaged or blocked drain, improperly installed equipment, or poor maintenance? How can we prevent this from happening again? The forensic engineer puts on their detective hat to reverse engineer the situation, and uses their engineering knowledge along with clues from the scene to figure it out.
Encorus Group has several licensed professional engineers on staff who have experience performing forensic investigations. If you are in need of forensic engineering services, call Tara Lowry at 716.592.3980, ext. 120 or email [email protected].