Course Number: SEM-F-3001

Length of Course: 3 hours – Several topics can be combined to provide up to an 8 hour seminar session

Seminar Location: This seminar is available for on-site training

In Forensic Structural Inspections: Examination, Diagnosis, and Remedy for Building Structures, you’ll learn …


  • Common structural problems found in buildings
  • The procedures for conducting a forensic structural investigation
  • How to synthesize information obtained from an investigation and present those findings in a concise, effective report
  • Educational and licensing requirements for forensic engineers


As defined by the Council of American Structural Engineers (CASE), the Forensic Engineer (FE) is “a structural engineer who, through training, education, experience, and knowledge is recognized by their peers to possess specialized information on a given structural subject matter and who is experienced and versed in the ethical practice of forensic engineering and is generally knowledgeable with the dispute resolution processes.”

The duties of the structural engineer conducting a forensic investigation can be compared to those of a detective conducting a criminal investigation. The forensic engineer needs to determine what factors have caused the partial or complete collapse of a particular building structure—oftentimes a structure that is currently in use. When evaluating building facilities currently in use, visual inspection or assessment is frequently the only means available to the forensic engineer. Without previous practical experience, the engineer may ‘misdiagnose’ the condition of an element of the building, overlooking a potential problem with one of its structural elements. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis may result in complete structural failure of one or several building elements, and ultimately, catastrophic collapse of the structure.

In this seminar, we will define the role of the engineer in a forensic structural investigation and outline the necessary criteria that that engineer should follow when examining a building structure. We will discuss the common structural problems resulting from (a) defects of a building element, (b) deterioration due to deferred maintenance and aging, (c) increases or changes in loading (snow load, wind load), and (d) the deleterious effects of improper modifications of existing residential or commercial buildings.

We will examine the typical issues related to wood, masonry, steel, and concrete building components, when subjected to unanticipated loading, moisture infiltration, wear and tear, deferred maintenance, or restructuring. Specific examples or case studies for each of the building components and conditions described above will be presented for examination.

Take away and learning objectives

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Recommended educational and licensing requirements for forensic engineers
  • Common structural issues in building construction
  • Equipment needed for the site investigation
  • Procedures to follow during the site investigation
  • Structural analysis and testing of the building element(s) under investigation
  • How to obtain background information on the building structure and conduct interviews with the Building Structure Representative(s)
  • How to examine and determine the relevance of material obtained during the site investigation
  • How to prepare a concise and effective report or presentation of investigation findings
  • A brief overview of the litigation process

Speak to a Representative to Schedule a Seminar

For more information contact:
Ken Hudspeth, General Manager
Phone 1-877-PDHengineer (1-877-734-3644)