Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Tag Archive: Allan Abbata

  1. Post-Fire Inspection of Steel, Concrete, Masonry and Wood – Tips for an Insurance Adjuster, Part 2

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    This is the second part of a 3-Part series to help insurance adjusters during a claim inspection to make a post-fire assessment of a building’s structural framing system.  Part 2 investigates and assesses the future use of common post fire structural framing elements such as steel, concrete, masonry and wood.  These more common structural elements take on different and specific characteristics when they are exposed to a fire.  It’s important for the adjuster to make reasonable, cost saving assessments on what remains, what is to be repaired, what gets demolished and what gets replaced. (more…)

  2. Structural Evaluation After a Fire – Post-Fire Tips for an Insurance Adjuster, Part I

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    This is a 3-Part series to help insurance adjusters during a claim inspection make a post-fire assessment of a building’s structural framing system.  From my numerous case history inspections involving damage to structural framing members after a fire, what appears obvious and straightforward is not always the case.  This article is a quick synopsis to help the adjuster be better prepared for a structural inspection and assessment while understanding what needs to be looked at, and if there are hidden factors to further investigate. (more…)

  3. Safety Inspections for Outdoor Decks are Necessary

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    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. (more…)

  4. 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? (more…)

  5. 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?”   (more…)

  6. Collapses of Decks, Balconies and Railings: An Engineer’s Viewpoint for an Adjuster

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    Most failures of decks, balconies and railings can be avoidable if properly designed but when a collapse occurs it usually leads to personal injuries and even death. According to the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), “It’s estimated that 2.5 million new or replacement decks were built last year.  Almost every new home being built today includes an elevated deck or porch. And, existing decks on older homes are being replaced at a very high rate. In fact, the number of personal injuries and deaths related to decks each year is likely to continue to rise because more decks are being constructed each year and existing decks are deteriorating.” Let’s examine the design, construction and inspection of these systems. (more…)

  7. Identifying Foundation Issues for Adjusters

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    As a structural engineer, I am often called upon to determine the cause of commercial and residential building problems. Common problems I investigate include doors or windows that don’t open properly, cracks in interior and exterior walls, gaps in the trim, leaking roofs when the exterior covering is otherwise in good condition, sloped and out-of-level floors and leaning walls. Many of these problems are a direct result of foundation cracks, settlements and/or failures. (more…)

  8. What is a Building Envelope?

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    By definition, the building envelope (or building enclosure) is the physical separation between the interior conditioned areas and the exterior environment space of a building. The envelope serves as the outer covering (shell or skin) to help maintain the indoor environment together with the mechanical conditioning systems and to facilitate its climate control. The building envelope must be carefully designed with regard to site specific climate, ventilation, and energy consumption within the structure. The design is a specialized area of architectural and engineering practice that draws from all areas of building science and indoor climate control. (more…)

  9. Metal Decking Provides for Building Stability and Worker Safety

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    It’s simple, right?!  Buildings being constructed must maintain a structural stability at all times during the steel erection process. That’s according to OSHA Federal Register Subpart R 1926. OSHA also reminds us that “Since structural collapse is second only to falls as a cause of fatalities in the construction industry, stability is essential to the successful erection of any steel structure, including single- story, multi-story, bridges, etc.” Let’s further examine what goes into the erection and installation practice for roof or floor metal decking as a safe working platform. (more…)

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