An Overview about Forensic Engineering Services

Blog | September 11th, 2018

Forensic engineering services are employed when structures experience damage. A bridge is on the verge of collapsing, a tall building has cracks running along a load-bearing wall, or some other puzzling incident has befallen an engineering asset. Essentially, forensic engineers, by virtue of their job description, are structural sleuths, who use science to determine the causative factors that impact structures so profoundly and destructively.

A Forensic Science Primer 

Engineering sciences construct, maintain and repair a vast number of structures. They modify building frames, renovate and update older properties, and address countless other essential tasks. Then, when/if a construct fails, that same science swings into action again, this time as an investigative service. The alloys in the framework are examined, perhaps in a laboratory environment. Welds are assessed, concrete samples collected, and dimensional measurements recorded. The building or civil engineering project is deficient in some manner, and it’s in danger of breaking down, but the data amassed during this scientifically directed investigation will soon determine the liable party.

Reverse Engineering the Project 

And that’s the goal here, to rewind time so that the forensic engineers can gain actionable insight. It’s not enough to have a theory, after all, not when there’s talk of liability and culpability in the air. Sound engineering principles, totally unbiased sciences, are used to establish the facts. Principally, the material data and engineering principles are used to construct models and simulations, which are incredibly detailed, but they’re intended for the eyes of other engineers. However, when that information goes to court, the forensic engineering service needs to be able to translate those complex datasets into a nontechnical format, a narrative that can be followed by any jury or concerned observer.

Professionally Addressed Challenges 

Every incident is different. For every structural failure caused by substandard materials, there could be two cases where a single component didn’t function as intended. Tasked with the tough duty of managing scores of different engineering principles and the material sciences that accompany such technically oriented matters, forensic engineers can’t do their jobs unless they’re backed by at least one technically slanted degree, plus many years of industry service.

True enough, it’s a tough balance. Forensic engineering services use their broadened capabilities to govern numerous technical disciplines. All the while, these same uniquely experienced individuals are also able to harness their specialized skills to view potentially catastrophic incidents from every possible angle. They see the structural defects, collect the data, test that data in labs, and conclude the case study by translating technically dense documentation packs into a straightforward, easy to comprehend narrative that can stand up in court.

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