Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Archive: Construction Related Losses

Wood Deck Safety Check

Even though we are still in February, here in the South, Springtime weather is just around the corner. That means we’ll be looking around the house and making a priority list of spring-cleaning projects.  And, for many of us, giving our wood decks a good cleaning gets put at or near the top of the list.  That’s all well and good, however, we should take it a little further and put checking out how safe and secure are our wood decks, particularly those that are built several feet or more above grade. Read More



Reducing Property Damage and Injuries Via Near Miss Reporting


What is a near miss?  It’s an unplanned event that does not result in injury or property damage, but had the potential to do so.  We often call these events “close calls” or “narrow escapes.”  For example, a scaffold guardrail is missing, a worker backs up and as he starts losing his balance, he is able to grab hold of the scaffold buck and prevent the fall.  Other than a racing heartbeat for a few minutes, presumably, no harm, no foul. Read More

Figure 1:  A view of the improperly constructed fireplace alleged to have caused the subject fire. 
 The hearth extension has been largely consumed in the fire.

Improper Fireplace Construction: Testing the Impact of Non-Compliant Clearance to Combustibles


As the weather turns cold, many people use fireplaces to provide supplemental heat. The warmth from a fireplace is a comfort and the aesthetics of a glowing fire are a pleasure.  However, there is nothing pleasurable about a residential house fire that results from an improperly built or used fireplace or chimney. Read More

Corrosion on treated wood deck.

Why Should I be Concerned About Galvanic Corrosion?


It is fairly common knowledge that the use of dissimilar metals in plumbing systems can quickly result in a leak due to a corroded pipe or fitting. Read More

Warren engineers,   John Holecek and Aron Olson working with new fall protection equipment.

Not Falling for Your Job?

Periodically, Warren Engineers and Consultants are asked to perform inspections that require work at raised elevations. Typical jobs and tasks include climbing on commercial and residential roofs with steep pitches, working on scaffolding, climbing from one level to the next at a fire or industrial loss scene, riding in the buckets of lift equipment, and inspecting exterior structural elements such as windows and masonry.  Read More


Safety Inspections for Outdoor Decks are Necessary


The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) recognizes the month of May as Deck Safety Month®. This is the time of the year to get serious and take the necessary steps to safeguard your deck so that it is enjoyable not only for your family, but your friends and any visitors. The NADRA has a deck safety program and they just released a video in an effort to save lives and prevent injuries and to protect your family and friends. Read More

Fractured toilet connection.  Wrench marks are visible on the fitting.

A Small Water Line Leads to a Large Loss


A large oceanfront house was custom built after two years of planning and construction.  The house had three stories over an elevated foundation.  Shortly after the house was completed, the owners arrived one evening and found water pouring from above when they parked in the garage beneath the living spaces.   Read More

Who Else Owns This Construction Loss Course

When a worker is badly injured on a construction site, adjusters or investigators are often hired to determine pursuit or defense of a subrogation case.  This slideshow gives an overview of several real-world investigations and helps viewers understand some of the issues involved in construction related subrogatable incidents. Read More

Roof drain with membrane installed in opening.

Water Intrusion/Moisture Issues – Finding the Source and Location


What you see is not always what you get.  This commonality exists in the numerous cases I have investigated for water intrusion and moisture issues in buildings.  The source that appears most obvious and straightforward may not, in fact, be the root of the problem at all. Read More


Flood Damage versus Water Damage: Water Damage Assessment – Part II


In the continuation of the series on “Flood Damage versus Water Damage”, we will now focus on cause and effects of water damage to residential and building structures and components.  As discussed before, our goal in this blog series is to accurately and consistently inform the adjuster on what determines flood damage and water damage to homes, buildings and their components.  According to the Insurance Information Network of California (IINC) that will depend on a couple of things: 1) What type of insurance did the owner chose to purchase and 2) How did the water enter the residence or building? Read More

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