What is Forensic Structural Engineering and Why is it Important?
When most people hear the word “forensic,” they immediately think of murder or their favorite murder mystery series. However, forensic structural engineering has nothing to do with death and is actually crucial for homeowners to understand. Forensic structural engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on investigating the safety of structures. The main job of a forensic structural engineer is to determine the cause of structural failure in homes, buildings and other structures, like bridges. But what does this mean for a homeowner?
It is crucial for homeowners to understand forensic structural engineering as it is directly related to their biggest assets, their house.
Why do you need a forensic structural engineer?
Being a homeowner is a lot of work. Whether you were renting an apartment or renting a home before you decided to purchase a house of your own, it’s a big step from renting to owning. When you rent a property, you aren’t held responsible for the majority of the upkeep. Many people don’t realize how many responsibilities come along with owning a home until they purchase a home themselves. As a homeowner it’s imperative that you understand the role of a forensic expert because you will undoubtedly require their services at one point or another. Here are just two reasons why forensic structural engineers are important to a homeowner:
They can determine the cause of pre-existing damage
If you have recently purchased a home, you likely appraised it first. However, sometimes flaws in the home go unnoticed until you’re the one living in it. Maybe everything seems fine at first, but then you begin to notice not one crack, but many cracks in walls surrounding the home. You may think nothing of it at first- maybe these were just accidents that occurred randomly over time. However, if there is a pattern of cracks, it could be indicative of a larger structural issue. This is something that a forensic structural engineer would be able to determine. Read more about our PrePurchase inspection Here.
They can tell whether you caused damage in the home
If you are a relatively new homeowner, but have been living in the home for a few years, when a new problem pops up you’re likely to assume that you’re the culprit. For example, if you’ve been living in a home for a few years now and suddenly cracks in the walls are appearing, it may seem like you did something to cause the cracks. Maybe you slammed a door too hard or hit the wall with furniture and didn’t notice. However, the cracks in walls could be sprouting up now because of a problem with the home’s foundation- which would mean that the builder of the home is at fault, not you.
learn more about types of building damage Here.
At the end of the day, a forensic expert can help you either determine that a home is in good condition before you make the purchase or they can help you determine the cause of your home’s faults after the purchase. As a homeowner, it’s important that you not only understand the role of a forensic expert, but that you also know when it’s time to call them.
Forensic Structural Engineering for Homeowners Part 2