Metropolitan Environmental Services
Insurance, Flood, water clean up
Following a flood event, there may be questions regarding the origin and extent of structural damage to a building. Often, the engineer’s role may be two-fold. First, he/she may need to serve as a forensic engineer to evaluate the origin of reported damage to a building. Then, he/she will likely be required to determine the extent of damage and provide a scope of repair for the structure.
As a forensic engineer, his/her investigation should determine the cause of the various reported instances of damage. When the results of flood damage are severe, the cause of damage can be quite obvious. However, from time-to-time, a building owner may identify conditions following a flood such as wall cracks, ceiling cracks, or tilted basement walls that may or may not be related to the flood event. Through proper forensic investigation and analysis, the engineer should be able to determine the cause of a particular condition, and whether or not it existed prior to the flood event. Once this portion of the investigation is completed, the claims adjuster will be able to better determine the extent of loss at a particular property.
From a structural standpoint, the engineer typically will determine if the foundation and superstructure of the building have been functionally damaged by the flood event. Functional damage occurs when the structural element is no longer capable of performing its intended purpose or the life expectancy of the structural element has been measurably reduced. The engineer often makes this determination by gauging the condition of the structural element against the appropriate performance or construction standard. For example, cracks and deflections within a masonry basement wall may be evaluated to determine if the wall still meets the standards and tolerances published by the Portland Cement Association.
Once the extent of damage has been determined, it may be necessary for the engineer to define a scope of repairs. Following a flood, these scopes of repairs will typically include the required work to restore the structure to its original (preflood) condition. From time-to-time, it may be necessary to note structural improvements needed to meet current code requirements or eliminate dangerous conditions. A claim adjuster should expect the scope of work to provide a general outline or guideline of the repairs to be performed. The goal of the scope of repairs is to assist the claim adjuster in determining the value of the loss. The scope of repairs is not intended to be an “engineered repair design.” In some cases the extent of damage or the complexity of the repair will necessitate that a professional engineer be hired to design and oversee the repairs. However, in most residential construction such oversight is typically not warranted.
The forensic engineer may also be helpful in identifying construction and/or design deficiencies that caused or contributed to flooding damage at a particular site. Examples of such deficiencies include improperly designed and constructed levies, under-designed masonry basement walls, under-sized storm retention systems, substandard building materials, etc. This information may be useful in identifying all relevant parties in a particular loss, which may lead to subrogation considerations.
Regardless of the outcome of a particular loss, the role of the forensic engineer is to uncover the facts and provide sound, substantiated and unbiased opinions. This information should be communicated by the engineer to others in a manner that is readily understood. In addition, it is the forensic engineer’s duty to identify dangerous structural conditions that exist at a particular site. Sometimes these hazardous conditions are not obvious, and the services of a competent forensic engineer are critical.
, Fire And Water Damage Restoration
, Fire Damage Cleaning
, Flood damage repair
, Flood Damage Restoration
, Home Fire Damage Repair
, insurance claim
, Mold Damage
, Restoration Of Property
, water clean up
, Water Cleanup
, Water Damage Cleaning