Forensic Engineering & Expert Witness
Ninyo & Moore performs forensic evaluations to assist clients in assessing the cause of distress to structures and other improvements, and to provide appropriate repair recommendations. We also evaluate environmental conditions and provide professional safety and health evaluations of commercial properties, school properties, and construction sites. Forensic evaluations are performed on behalf of law firms, insurance companies, and municipal, commercial, and residential owners. An understanding of geologic conditions and soil-structure interactions is often vital to properly evaluate the contributing causes of distress and develop the appropriate corrective actions. In other cases, industrial hygiene principles or other scientific methods are required to recognize, identify, and develop the proper methods of control or remediation. Our staff is experienced in coordinating unit-by-unit inspections of small to large building complexes and single-family homes efficiently and without undue aggravation to owners.
A full evaluation of distress or contamination typically involves a review of construction documents, including soils reports, and building and grading plans; review of published and unpublished geologic maps and reports; stereoscopic review of aerial photographs; interior and exterior documentation of distress or contamination; manometer (floor level) surveys of building slabs; subsurface exploration; contaminate sampling, if applicable; laboratory testing; data analysis; formulation of repair or remediation recommendations; and report preparation.
Subsurface exploration typically requires the use of truck-mounted or portable drilling equipment or hand-digging. Such excavations are performed under the supervision of our engineers or geologists. Following excavation, holes are carefully backfilled and landscaping or hardscape is restored as closely as possible to its original condition. Our modern testing laboratories are fully equipped and accredited by CCRL and AASHTO re:source (formerly AMRL) as well as by several local and state agencies.
Forensic evaluations can be performed to evaluate:
- Landsliding and slope stability, including landslide geometry and geologic structure
- Flooding and mudflows
- Ground shaking, liquefaction, lateral spreading, and settlement
- Groundwater seepage and moisture intrusion
- Construction and changed conditions claims
- Construction vibration damage
- Ground settlement associated with soil compaction and collapsible soils
- Expansive soil distress
- Contamination including mold, conbustion particles, asbestos and/or lead
Ninyo & Moore employs Registered Engineers, Professional Geologists, Certified Hydrogeologists, Certified Hazardous Materials Managers, Certified Environmental Managers, Certified Industrial Hygienists, Certified Safety Professionals, Qualified Stormwater Practitioners/Developers, and Certified Asbestos Consultants and Lead Project Monitors. These professionals are often called upon to provide expert witness testimony.