Daily Bulletin


  • Written by News Company

Forensic engineering is the application of the science of engineering that helps to research and find out the cause of structural failures. Forensic engineers analyze the reason behind the failures of buildings, bridges or any other small structure.

The results of the investigation by the forensic engineers may be used for litigation, claims, testimonial hearings or any other such legal proceedings. Therefore, the forensic engineers require expertise, practical knowledge of the construction as well as the knowledge from a legal perspective to direct the investigation and create the reports.

These reports of the forensic engineering investigation are held of high value at various levels of an organization and in government proceedings.

How Does the Forensic Engineers Investigate?

Forensic engineers will analyze the problem and find out the reason for the failure, which will help to avoid such problems in the future. It can be a single reason or a combination of factors that finally led to the collapse of a structure.

The forensic engineer will begin by gathering all the documents and official reports associated with the construction of the structure. They will also take into consideration the testimonials, medical reports, photographs and videos.

Apart from these records, they will visit the scene and collect physical evidence. The physical evidence includes:

  • Condition of the site

  • Materials used

  • Condition of the machines used

  • Work permits, safety protocols, standard procedures, etc.

They may also take some samples, photographs and videos after obtaining permission.

What Are the Most Common Failures for Structural Damages?

According to ANZ Engineers, who are one of the leading forensic engineers in Melbourne, most of the structural failures are due to negligence in safety, functional issues or any other additional reasons that may be related to external conditions. The three main types of failures that require the assistance of a forensic engineer are:

  1. Distress in the structure

  2. Complete or partial failure of the structure

  3. Collapse of a portion of the structure or as a whole

These failures can be caused due to several reasons:

  • Inadequate strength of a structure

  • Inability of the structure to hold a load

  • The reduction in the ability of a particular structure or component that wasn’t able to serve its purpose

  • Movement of a significant portion of the structure that’s over the limit

  • Faults in the electrical system that influenced the damage to the structure

  • Ignorance or negligence of the workers

  • Improper deliverance of the changes to the design

  • Deflection from the work plan or regulation

How Are the Results of the Forensic Analysis Used?

With the details obtained from their investigation, forensic engineers will analyze all pieces of evidence. They may even re-enact the scene of the structure, test out various possibilities before reaching a conclusion. Since the forensic engineers are experts at construction and various such aspects related to building structures, they can analyze and pinpoint the exact cause of the failure.

These reports from the forensic engineers are definite directives to the exact cause of the failure as well as an estimation of the damages because of it. These reports can be used in several legal proceedings and courtrooms, sometimes with the testimony of the forensic engineers, to fully understand the impact of the damage and the cause of it.

The duration for the completion of the forensic engineering analysis can vary a lot. It can take a few weeks, a few months or in some rare cases, even years to complete.

The forensic engineers are very thorough at what they do and therefore, collect as much evidence and details as possible from the scene of the incident before beginning the analysis. They approach the problem totally impartially, which helps in finding out the true reason for the failure.

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