FORENSIC INVESTIGATIVE AND CONSULTING
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Our extensive knowledge allows us to draw upon a wealth of experience to investigate events that involve property, casualty, and liability case matters. Our initial investigative focus is to determine if the loss is a result of a “sudden and accidental” event, the result of normal “wear and tear”, or from inferior design and installation parameters. As necessary, subsequent investigations and research utilizing a variety of services will be used to confirm that exact cause pertaining to the subject matter/incident under examination.
Structure Condition Assessment and Failure Analysis
A property or structure condition assessment is used to determine whether a facility’s current conditions may have a significant detrimental impact on its continued operation, lend to depreciated property value or create an ongoing maintenance issue as a result of materials and/or system defects. True North Engineering (TNE) evaluates the property for building system integrity (structural, mechanical, electrical, and building envelope) and conducts necessary interviews to establish a comprehensive picture of the client’s property. The client is advised of the overall condition, as well as recommended actions to take to preserve the life and value of their asset.
Determining why a structure has failed is often more difficult than designing the structure. When building systems fail, particularly in common areas of failure, such as roofs or basements, we find the cause, offer solutions, and develop a budget. Determining the cause of a failure takes a special skill as the failures are generally complex and come in many forms.
True North Engineering’s expertise includes the evaluation of storm related wind, hail, impact, overloading and collapse events. Residential and commercial building systems are evaluated in consideration of the design, construction, use and maintenance to identify all factors contributing to the failure. TNE understands the importance of identifying the failure and assisting in the loss being corrected as quickly and properly as possible to minimize the financial and time impact to our clients.
Building Envelope Analysis
A building’s roof system is one of its most susceptible components with respect to the quality of installation, maintenance, and weather. Failure due to any of these variables can result in costly repairs and also lead to a host of other perils that can impact the value and maintenance requirements of a property. Commercial roof designs are often chosen for their lowest initial cost. Maintenance of the roofing system is often overlooked or neglected. We recognize this and advise our clients to consider the long-term maintenance costs when choosing and constructing an initial roofing system, or repairing an existing one.
True North Engineering can provide consulting services including roof uplift resistant testing, asset management, construction QA/QC, water and air infiltration testing and a number of qualitative evaluation services such as infrared thermography and moisture mapping for a variety of roofing systems. Areas of moisture, heat loss, and insulation disparities throughout a roofing system can be difficult to pinpoint without some form of destructive testing and extensive examination. By utilizing infrared thermography technology, TNE’s trained experts can, in a non-destructive fashion, scan large commercial roofing systems in a fraction of the time normally associated with the traditional process, without sacrificing accuracy. The expertise and service offered by TNE allows us to identify issues before they arise, ultimately saving time and money for the client.
Fire Origin and Cause Investigations
Why did the fire occur, where did it start and what was the cause? Determining the origin and cause of a fire loss can be a daunting challenge given the fact that fire can mask or destroy most of the evidence. Understanding the mysteries and intricacies of fire and explosion damage is a skill that comes only with experience. True North Engineering has found that by using sound methodology, a systematic scientific method approach, standardized engineering, fire scene analysis, proper evidence handling and reporting, a reliable and dependable conclusion of the origin and cause can be determined.
In both structure and vehicle fires, electrical systems are often reported as the probable cause. Remodeling and maintenance activities can present the potential for subrogation actions. True North Engineering brings the experience needed to investigate incidents claimed to be related to electrical issues and are frequently called upon to prove or disprove those assertions.
Mechanical System Failure Analysis
Mechanical systems vary greatly and can often be complex. The failure of these systems is not often straight forward; however, every mechanical failure leaves clues as to why it happened. Mechanical failure analysis the process of identifying and interpreting these clues to determine the root cause of the mechanical failure. Evaluation of the source of these failures in mechanical systems leads to a determination of the component or system failure and allows the owner to take steps to prevent a recurrence of a similar failure. True North Engineering offers the necessary technical expertise to quickly and accurately identify the cause of the failure and to help the client clearly understand the loss.
Electrical System Failure Analysis
Lightning causes losses in the U.S. of over $5 billion per year. TNE’s skilled forensic investigators have the expertise and training to determine whether damage is the result of lightning or the result of some other cause. Whether an electrical accident in an industrial setting, a loss related to power transmission and distribution, an industrial control system, or electrical surge events and equipment damage, True North Engineering has the experience necessary to investigate the failure and assist the client in resuming proper operations as quickly as possible. From evaluating appliances or wiring in a house resulting in a fire to damage caused by lightning, True North Engineering provides a variety of services regarding electrical system support. In addition, equipment inspections can be done on low-voltage and high-voltage items.
Accident Reconstruction and Investigation
Vehicle accidents are a fact of life. True North Engineering’s experts are trained in evaluating all types of vehicle accidents, from low-speed accidents to collisions involving fixed objects, automobiles, SUVs, tractor trailers, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians or trains. These investigations can involve biomechanical analysis, accident investigation and reconstruction, or vehicle failure analysis.
Biomechanical Analysis – In the last 30 years, safety features in motor vehicles have evolved tremendously to include crush zones, advanced seatbelts and airbags, head restraints and more. However, despite the latest safety features available in motor vehicles, injuries are still a common result in collisions. The science of impact biomechanics examines the forces that act on a human body during a motor vehicle collision and analyzes how the body will respond to those forces.
True North Engineering can assist the client by providing opinions related to the likelihood of injuries and the types of injuries that can be expected in a particular collision, the mechanics of a specific injury, and the role of safety features such as seatbelts, airbags, or head restraints in preventing or contributing to a particular injury.
Accident Investigation and Reconstruction – True North Engineering also has the capability to download available collision data from the sensing and diagnostic modules (SDMs) of domestic and selected imported vehicles. These are also referred to as crash data recorders (CDRs), event data recorders (EDRs), engine control modules (ECMs) in large commercial vehicles, and affectionately by some as the “black box” although in vehicles, they’re rarely black. Upon completing a field investigation (includes the accident scene, the vehicle, the vehicle’s contents, and the driver) the collected data is analyzed to provide the client with an objective and unbiased opinion of the circumstances surrounding the collision. Once this analysis has been completed, we are further able to discuss impact biomechanics, failure/forensic analysis and issues that may have prevented or minimized the collision.
Vehicular Failure Analysis – The complexity of motor vehicles increases ever year with the addition of safety systems, electronic control and monitoring systems and alternative engine power sources. Our investigators can analyze the motor vehicle systems and determine the cause and sequence of events leading to the failure of various vehicle components, including:
- Brake Systems
- Suspension Systems and Tires
- Engines and Transmissions
- Vehicle Lighting Systems
- Seatbelt and Airbag Systems
- Head Restraints