SECB Calls for National Structural Engineering Certification

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Structural engineering as a discipline is becoming increasingly complex. However, there are currently only 10 U.S. states that require any form of specific certification for structural engineers.

According to Jon Schmidt, Associate Structural Engineer and Director of Antiterrorism Services at Burns & McDonnell and Chair of the Editorial Board of STRUCTURE Magazine, “In today’s world of complex structures and 3D modeling, structural engineering is a partnership among architects, contractors and engineering firms. The structural engineer must be able to offer insightful and pragmatic suggestions, and doing that requires strong technical knowledge, depth of experience and problem-solving abilities that have been well-honed over time.”


How to Interview an Engineering Expert Witness

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Engineering experts can offer vital litigation support and can help sway a judge and jury in your client’s favor based on the strong and objective technical analysis of the issues of your case. However, when you are considering retaining an engineering expert witness, it is paramount that you ascertain, not only his experience testifying as an engineering expert, but also his experience that is relevant to your specific case.


New York Expert Witness Cites the Importance of Consulting with Expert Witnesses

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Dr. Donald M. May, Ph.D., a director in the Litigation and Corporate Financial Advisory Services Group at New York-based accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP, has released a statement citing the importance of including expert witnesses as consultants in preparation for litigation.

“In most cases, a law firm will bring in an expert witness near the end of the litigation process to report and testify.” Says Donald M. May, “But that’s not the most cost-effective way to use an expert.”


3 Effective Approaches to Expert Witness Business Valuation

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Business valuation can be one of the most challenging aspects of commercial litigation. Forensic accountants are often hired as expert witnesses in order to give their expert opinion as to the value of a particular business. There are many factors that go into calculating the value of a business. When approaching business valuation, expert witnesses can take one of three distinct approaches, each with their own methodologies.


Construction Experts Help Expose Falsifications in Bay Bridge Structural Testing

Construction, Building Trades, and Architectural Disciplines and Expertise

Following a recent Sacramento Bee investigation, Caltrans fired two employees implicated in an assortment of problems involving tests conducted on the Bay Bridge and other structures throughout California.

The Bee reported that Duane Wiles, a technician who was responsible for testing bridge foundations and his supervisor, Brian Liebitch, were involved in at least three confirmed falsifications. The report also revealed several errors committed by Wiles that have called the validity of his testing methods into question, raising concern about several California structures.


What Attorneys Should Look for When Reviewing Expert Valuation Reports

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One of the key duties of a forensic accountant is to provide business valuation reports. As the name implies, valuation reports estimate the value of a business. These reports are used by litigators for a variety of legal purposes including evaluating various partners’ share of ownership in facilitating buy-sell agreements, mergers and acquisitions.

Valuation reports can be a powerful tool in the courtroom, but litigators need to ensure that their experts have correctly prepared the valuation reports. There are several common errors that have been observed in valuation reports. Litigators should ensure that the purpose of the valuation has been clearly defined by the report. It is also essential that an overview of the company’s background, market, industry and competitors has been prepared.


Construction Expert Claims Language Barrier Is Detrimental to Safety in the Construction Industry

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Effective communication is important to safety in any work environment. In the construction industry, a lack of communication can cause property damage, injuries and even deaths. It’s no secret that there are many non-English speakers employed in the construction industry. According to construction expert Paul Gogulski, speaking English is necessary to avoiding hazards on construction sites.


Delineation in Construction

By Expert No. 53885 Abstract One small construction task could place your company in financial and legal distress. This one task I am speaking of is delineation. You could be the best general contractor, and have placed hundreds of miles of asphalt roadways and the forgetfulness of missing an edge line or centerline could put … Continued


Do You Really Know What “As Is” Is?

By: Expert No. 56901 B.A., M.B.A. Abstract Most standard real estate contracts for existing construction sales, now have a clause included, which states that the property is sold “as is” or “in present condition.” In questioning both buyers, sellers, and real estate sales agents, it is apparent that there exists some confusion regarding this term. When … Continued


Don’t Let Contractors Be Wimps

By: Expert No. 169205 Abstract Trusting contractors often complete additional work without written approval and then don’t get paid for it. They know they are required to get change orders signed and approved prior to doing the work…but, why don’t they? Introduction Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Contractor Change Order Excuses: #1: … Continued


Profitable Employment Practices Help Employers Reduce Litigation and Increase Productivity

By Expert No. 173185, Esq. Abstract Unfortunately, employing people today is a risky and complicated business. Yet despite the serious risks, without contributions from a skilled and dedicated workforce, no business can succeed. Employers of all sizes and types have adopted and benefited from six employment-related, profitable “best employment practices” to solve this apparent dilemma. … Continued


The War on Lead

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By: Expert No. 9027, Ph.D., P.E , Mechanical Engineer Abstract Billions of dollars from property owners, businesses and tax payer funds have been wasted in the last two decades chasing a problem that simply does not exist. The scientific community needs to continually educate homeowners, landlords, tenants, our legislators and the Real- Estate Industry that … Continued


A Note on Head Acceleration During Low Speed Rear-End Collisions

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By: Expert No. 43224, Ph.D., and Sylvian Poncet Abstract This paper presents a simple relationship between a vehicle’s acceleration and the occupant’s head acceleration during low speed rear-end collisions. Only experimental data obtained from tests performed on human volunteers, is used to establish the relationship. It was found that the head acceleration, on the average, is … Continued


More Hype Than Hope

By: Expert No. 28193, Ph.D. How conservation evaporates ethanol’s benefits for cars The sharp increase in crude oil prices during the past year created an urgent need to search for alternative sources of transportation fuels. Ethanol emerged as the primary candidate to replace a part of the gasoline pool used for transportation. Ethanol can be … Continued


Three Rules for Forensic Real Estate Damage Valuation: Deductive, Adductive, or Reductive Rule? (analysis)

By: Expert No. 96877 and Expert No. 47300 Forensic Valuation: What Is It? Forensic real estate valuation is the application of economic principles and methodologies to answer questions of fact as to whether real estate values have suffered a permanent damage. Forensic real estate valuation contrasts with the prevailing valuation theory in the real estate … Continued


Construction Delay Analysis Methods

By: Expert No. 51241 Construction projects often suffer from delays due to a wide variety of reasons, which can have severe financial impact on the project. As a result, delay claims may be filed. The analysis of the delay impact with the causes and effects of the delaying activities is one of the most complicated … Continued


No Construction Claims — Guaranteed!!

By Expert No. 9103 & Troy Vernon Sutton We have all learned that the three most important aspects of real estate are Location, Location, Location! In construction, the three most important aspects to successful resolution of issues are Documentation, Documentation, Documentation! We were recently asked about methods for minimizing construction claims. The project managers were … Continued


The Peculiar Construction Industry!

By: Expert No. 8858, P.E. What a crazy business the construction industry is. Many contractors are, underneath it all, gamblers betting a lot of blue chips. The work is complicated, it is usually awarded to the lowest bidder who will use every means to reduce costs and increase profit. Each job is unique and the … Continued


Defective Fasteners Drive Structural Failures

By: Expert No. 43088, Ph.D., P.E. Abstract Many structural failures, from ladders to airframes, are caused by defective mechanically-fastened joints, resulting from either poor fastener manufacturing quality or improper installation. Many fastener specifications permit up to 4% defectives per batch, many of which may be missed by the installer. Fasteners installed out-of-grip and poor hole … Continued


Engineering Underground Pipeline Safety

By Expert No. 47246, P. E. (Retired/Inactive) Background And Statistics Petroleum Products Each day in the United States we use millions of gallons of crude oil to maintain our living and lifestyles. A 2004 study Economic Energy Report on oil production and consumption, has listed the amount of world’s daily production of oil at about … Continued


Conservation Easements, the Good, the Bad and the Greedy

By: Expert No. 47300, A.S.A. The basic concept is easy to grasp. This is a simple compound of conservation, as defined in the particular circumstance, and easement, a property right conveyed to a private conservation organization or government. The effect is similar to CC&Rs (codicils, covenants and restrictions) but applied to land after its original … Continued


Analysis of Computer Games for Violence Potential

By: Expert No. 41697, Psy.D. RNCS Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference Federal Bureau of Investigation Quantico, Virginia — September 20-25, 1999 When psychologists evaluate an individual, they use external data, such as school, military and hospital records, personal diaries, and drawings in addition to interviewing the person directly. In fact, there are several tests used … Continued


Excavation and Trenching Safety

By: Expert No. 8901, P.E., C.I.H., C.S.P. Excavation and trenching may present substantial risk of injury to person working in the excavation or adjacent to the edge. Safety guidelines have been developed through years of experience working with and in excavation. Many of these guidelines have been adopted by OSHA and have been made mandatory … Continued


Internal Corrosion of Plumbing

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By: Expert No. 8966, PE Among a homeowner’s more traumatic experiences, especially if the home is fairly new, ranks the telltale wet spot on the living room carpet (if the plumbing is in the slab), or the soggy bits of not-so-dry-wall (if the plumbing runs overhead.) An inspection is likely to reveal more than just … Continued


Investigating Concrete-Related Problems In Construction Defect Cases

Many investigations related to construction involve the use of concrete; and, frequently, it seems that the concrete is not performing as anticipated. Such problems often are related to cracking of the concrete, but cracking is usually only the most visible manifestation of a problem.

The adjacent figure shows crack patterns on concrete panels that are the results of field research performed in Southern California some years ago. This research showed that once concrete is placed directly on a polyethylene membrane, it will crack at a later age with almost no regard to subsequent effort to cure the concrete. This research was submitted as part of a condition survey that resulted in the settlement of a claim by the owner for remediation of the improperly installed material.


Is Mold Causing Your Indoor Air Quality Problem?

Is Mold Causing Your Indoor Air Quality Problem?

By: Expert No. 8901, PE, CIH, CSP, REA We have all seen molds on food or paper products (books, bathroom walls, etc.). These visible manifestations are only indicators of potential problem. The problem is actually not seen by the naked eye. It is the reproductive result of these indicators that is of concern. Molds and … Continued


Quality Control Deflects Construction Defects

By: Expert No. 27024, AIA Construction defects and subsequent litigation can stem from many different sources. During a construction project, quality is the most important aspect to concentrate on to mitigate defects. A primary contributor to quality is the level of craftsmanship that is employed and the quality of materials that are used as well … Continued


Shopping For A Car Or Truck? – Think Safety

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By: Expert No. 40237, P.E. Large Vs. Small Whether purchasing a new or used vehicle, safety should be considered along with utility, comfort, price and style. After the use or non-use of seat belts, the single most important factor in determining your chance of getting killed or seriously injured in an accident is your vehicle’s … Continued


The Effect of Winter Rains on the Stability of Slopes

By: Expert No. 42777, R.G., C.E.G. Although this winter has been relatively mild, last year’s devastating landslides such as Bluebird Canyon and the La Conchita resulted in millions of dollars of property damage and several deaths. These failures, and thousands of other smaller failures, have resulted in insurance claims and legal actions that will be … Continued


What is a Hazardous Material?

By: Expert No. 8901, P.E., C.I.H., C.S.P. Whether a material is hazardous depends on who you ask and why. Various governmental programs have different criteria on what constitutes a hazardous substance. Most lists of hazardous materials include substances with hazardous properties such as toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive. The Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection … Continued