What is Forensic Structural Investigation?
Independent Forensic Structural Investigation Report
The goal of a forensic structural investigation is for an experienced civil and structural engineer to accurately find and report the main cause(s) of damage to a building and structures. We reach this conclusion based on evidence that we collect during building inspection and our expert knowledge. At MFS Engineering we do not leave any questions unanswered.
A well-trained Forensic Structural Engineer does this:
Forensic Structural Investigation process
- We will conduct attentive inspection of the property to assess the building’s structural integrity and damages.
- Based on careful observations, we will develop a hypothesis to explain the main cause of structural failure and/or non-structural damages.
- We will then perform experiments to test the validity of the hypothesis.
- The Forensic Engineer may alter or change the hypothesis to reflect the findings of the experiments.
- A hypothesis is only considered to be accurate if it can explain the main cause of all damages.
What should you expect from our Building Inspection routine?
Every forensic structural investigation begins with a detailed building inspection. Our forensic building inspections typically take between one to three hours. This depends on the complexity of the building, the major problems and the engineer’s personal routine and methods. At MFS Engineering, all of our forensic structural engineers have years of experience performing structural inspections. Over the years, they have each developed their own unique inspection routine that works best for them. However, you should expect the following procedure when we are inspecting your house:
- We will interview you or person responsible for the property during the building inspection. We ask you about the age of the building, the details of the damage, and any construction or modifications that have been done to the structure. We also ask your opinion about the cause of the damage. These questions help us get a better idea about not only the structure itself, but your concerns as well.
- We will then ask you to give us a walkthrough of the building and point out the noticeable damages and answer questions such as: when was the damage first noticed? Has the damage become worse over time? Has the damage been repaired before? etc.
- We will carefully photograph and collect evidence from site, structure, surroundings and every damage.
- We will then decide whether the damage calls for measurement of any footing movements.
- We will assess any structural wall cracks and measure crack widths, dimensions, wall verticality and more if required.
What do we do that others don’t?
There are several reasons why a building may become damaged, whether the damage is structural or non-structural in nature. In this case, homeowners always need a detailed structural inspection and report done by competent forensic expert to find the exact causes of damage, and repair methods accordingly. But you should be very careful when hiring a building consultant and consider the following facts:
Building consultants, geotechnical or design engineers are not experienced in the forensic field
Therefore, their diagnosis is usually inaccurate. As a result, you could end up spending a lot of money on the repairs of damage that will come back again because your engaged building consultant did not find the underlying causes accurately.
Reports that are produced overnight and in “24 hours” are usually not for your benefit
Some building consultants and engineering consultancies have computerised their report writing process to spend less time and have a better profit margin. Therefore, this will result in producing a report full of inaccuracies and potentially wrong causation and recommendations.
Due to their lack of forensic knowledge, they usually tend to become advocates.
By being an advocate, they tell you what you like to hear and not what is actually happening, so it is less likely you question their judgements.
« However, our structural engineers in Melbourne will be able to determine whether the structural integrity or general condition of the building has been affected by negligence, incompetence of the design Engineer or Builder, shortcuts during construction or Insurable events like leaking pipe, flood, fire and earthquake. MFS Engineering solutions are only made possible with the hands-on experience, dedication, and expert knowledge of our structural forensic engineers. All of our engineers take the forensic structural investigation process very seriously. They have both the knowledge and experience to objectively and accurately determine the main cause of any building damage »
Several factors set us apart from the competition:
We investigate the structural performance of the buildings
Unlike others who are only capable of identifying cosmetic damages to buildings and structures and recommending short term solutions such as resin injections, partial underpinning, patch and painting, we aim to analyse the overall performance of the structure to better understand what has gone wrong in the first place. It is only then that our engineers, who truly understand the structure and its elements, will be able to recommend long lasting and most effective repair methods.
We are actual Forensic Engineers Experts
Forensic Structural Engineers must have knowledge in various fields such as design, geology, material, construction process and even plumbing works to be able to accurately perform structural assessments. Unlike Design or Geotechnical Engineers or Builders, who try to perform Forensic investigations without having the proper knowledge, we are trained structural engineers in the field of Forensics.
We are not advocates
MFS Engineering provides independentexpert opinion about causes of damage rather than acting as homeowner’s advocate or form a biased opinion due to our relationships with Builders, Insurers and other organizations.
We have your properties’ best interest in mind
Our expert advice might not be what you are hoping to hear, but rest assured it is what’s best for your home or investment. We are not here to necessarily make you happy (by siding with you unprofessionally), but to help you secure your investment the best way we can.
We do not produce computerized reports
Our Engineers personally spend several hours on analysing collected information and data to form independent opinion about each case and to produce report that is specific to each case and situation. That is why we do not produce reports in 24 hours and hence, they are reliable.
Communicating with us is easier than ever
We designed our CRM portal for easier communication and better interactions between Engineer and client. Get your questions answered by your engineer or upload your additional documents to be reviewed for your case.
« At MFS Engineering, our cloud-based business model allows us to hire the best forensic structural engineers in the country to perform these forensic investigations. As a result, we are not limited by traditional obstacles like very high overhead costs. Instead, our team of highly trained and hard-working forensic structural engineers are scattered across Victoria. We are ready to perform a forensic investigation in any location necessary. »
Forensic Structural Engineer vs Design Engineer
Forensic structural engineers operate in a highly specialised niche. Traditional design engineers can make predictions about how the design of the building should affect its functionality; but it is the forensic engineer who can assess and understand how the building has behaved in reality. Due to our highly specialised knowledge, we as forensic structural engineers play a crucial role in educating the building industry about potential failures and offering practical solutions to prevent these failures. The construction codes and standards are able to be improved because of the involvement of forensic structural engineers.
« Forensic structural engineering is no easy task, but with the help of our senior forensic engineers, we can find the cause of any damage to your property. »