Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Archive: Construction Related Losses

When the Walls Come Tumbling Down… Retaining Wall Basics

A wall is really boring until it fails. A retaining wall is supposed to hold back soil to either support a structure or keep a space clear. When it fails, both of those roles are compromised. A retaining wall does not have to collapse to fail. In fact, a failure is perhaps better defined as when the wall does not perform as expected. Read More

Stop or I’ll Soot!!!

Fire. Something about fire touches our brainstems…both good and bad!  Uncontrolled fire is terrifying and deadly to be sure.  But the controlled burning of wood at a campfire or in a fireplace in your home almost can’t be beat, to my mind! For that very reason, a fairly common amenity to houses nowadays is the gas log fireplace insert.

When not installed properly, these logs will generate soot. These soot particles can leave the fireplace and meander.  All. Over. Your. House.  Read More

Case Study: Fatality Servicing Unsupported Excavator Boom

A mini-excavator at a job site developed a leak at a hydraulic fitting at the base of the cylinder that raises and lowers the boom. A subcontractor foreman at the site raised the boom to search for the leak. The foreman found and attempted to tighten the leaking fitting. When he did, the fitting separated from the base of the cylinder, releasing the hydraulic pressure that held the boom aloft. The boom fell and the bucket struck a nearby superintendent for the general contractor.

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

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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

Why Should I be Concerned About Galvanic Corrosion?

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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

A Small Water Line Leads to a Large Loss

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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

Water Intrusion/Moisture Issues – Finding the Source and Location

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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

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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

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

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Recently, I read an article from the Insurance Information Network of California (IINC) explaining the difference between “Flood Damage” and “Water Damage” that really hit home and I wanted to share with you again.  “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop should be there.  With dismay, you discover that your home is filled with damaging water.  Will your insurance policy cover this loss?”   Read More

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