Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Tag Archive: expert

  1. Taking a Practical Approach to Vehicle Fires

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    “On average, U.S. fire departments responded to a highway vehicle fire every 182 seconds,” according to the NFPA’s Fire Loss Facts Sheet.

    The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that vehicle fires account for about 20 percent of all reported fires. Before I attempt to examine a vehicle fire loss, I like to check various consumer and government agencies websites to see if I can find any recall or historical data that might be important. This is true for heavy truck fires all the way to automobile and motorcycle fires. (more…)

  2. Heavy Truck Tires: Their Various Roles and The Importance of Inspections

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    No one would argue that a tractor trailer is the same as an automobile (be it a truck, car, or SUV). The first thing that would come to mind is sheer size. Tractor trailers are larger in size and weight, and no doubt for good reason, these heavy trucks are designed to carry tens of thousands of pound of load.   An empty tractor with a semi-trailer comes in at around 35,000 lbs. A regular midsize car tips the scales at roughly 3,500 lbs.  Lots of parts of a tractor trailer are important, so to say this one or that one rates more important would be impossible (beyond the driver of course); however, a tractor trailer’s tires are definitely at the top of the list (more…)

  3. Moisture Intrusion into Structural Reinforced Concrete

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    Scenario:  The owners of Jones’ Marine, a marina with a wharf structure on a tidal saltwater river, cater to the operators of ships, barges, and large yachts.  There are both diesel and gasoline fuel pumps at the edge of the wharf.  In addition, a large mobile crane for lifting the large vessels out of the water for maintenance is in service at the wharf.  This crane is driven out to the edge of the wharf deck suspended over the water, subjecting this deck and the structure beneath it to very high loading.  They purchased the property from its former owners about 10 years ago and are conscientious about maintenance and upkeep of their thriving facility.  They decide it is time to have a survey performed of the condition of the precast reinforced concrete piles and pile caps beneath and supporting the concrete wharf platform/deck.  They are alarmed at what is discovered by this survey:  Significant spalling (more…)

  4. WARREN WEBINAR: “Issues with Breaching the Building Envelope”

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    LIVE WEBINAR:
    10/5/21  @ 1 pm EST “Issues with Breaching the Building Envelope” | Presented by George Sanford, P.E., Senior Consulting Structural Engineer

    COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES

    In this Webinar, we will discuss water entry through a variety of building envelope breaches. Water entry and subsequent wood decay, fungal growth and structural damages as a result from water intrusion can lead to serious property damage and major expenses for all types of property owners. We will discuss the definition of a building envelope, and look at various case studies involving breaches to the major components of the envelope. These major components include foundations, exterior walls, and roofs. The foundation case studies include issues with slabs-on-grade, crawlspaces, and basements. The exterior wall case studies involve improperly installed building wrap, leaking windows, and problems with stucco. The roof case studies look at issues with various roof coverings, vents, and penetrations. Participants will take away a thorough understanding of what defines the building envelope, how breaches to the envelope can occur, and how to identify root causes. (more…)

  5. Lack of HVAC System Design and Poor Installation Lead to Extreme Conditions

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    Construction defects can appear in many forms.  The building does not necessarily have to fall down. There are many types of construction defects, including roof leaks, water intrusion into walls, as well as Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) defects.

    One extreme example of this was an office complex I was called to for an investigation of the source of mold observed on the walls.  The occupants complained that they could not find a temperature setting on the thermostat where they could make the office comfortable. When I inspected the office, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  A band of black mold (more…)

  6. Moisture Intrusion into Concrete Slabs-on-Grade

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    Scenario:  A young couple is excited about buying their first home.  They pick it out from a catalog of house plans from the developer of a new neighborhood in town.  It will be a brand new construction starter type bungalow home on a slab-on-grade foundation.  For a cost adder, which is considerable to them, they decide to upgrade the finished flooring from carpeting to hardwood laminate.  Unfortunately, after only a few weeks of residency, the hardwood planks begin to buckle and separate from the slab throughout the house.  They do not know what is causing it, or what to do to remedy it, (more…)

  7. When Going Left is My Right

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    The lines on the roadway determine the right-of-way. Did you know a passing zone could limit your right-of-way?

    Passing a vehicle traveling in the same direction on a two-lane roadway should be done with great caution. Completing the pass without colliding with the vehicle being passed, other vehicles approaching from the opposing direction, and without losing control and leaving the roadway are vital. There are rules to passing that people forget; some are laws, others are just common sense. Let us take a look at the laws and what sometimes slips by people that can cause an unsafe pass. State laws may differ, so consider these for South Carolina roadways. (more…)

  8. Spontaneous Combustion…Is it hot in here or is it just me???

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    In the old-timey Fire Triangle, you have heat, fuel, and oxygen.  Get these three together in the right quantities, and you get fire.  What if the fuel provides its own heat?  That’s spontaneous combustion, or spontaneous ignition.  NFPA921 defines this as “initiation of combustion of a material by an internal chemical or biological reaction that has produced sufficient heat to ignite the material.” (more…)

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