Forensic engineering

What do you think of when you hear the word forensics? CSI? Law & Order? Dexter?

Certainly, forensic evidence is a key part of successful criminal investigations, but it’s also crucial for engineers tasked with determining the root causes of mechanical failure or malfunction. Forensic engineering is sophisticated detective work that relies on physical clues, data records, and other evidence to reconstruct the past and figure out what went wrong. More importantly, it helps us figure out how to prevent such accidents from happening in the future.

At CPP, we look at evidence from the perspective of experienced experts and solve cases in which wind is a contributing factor. Using a nuanced understanding of how airflow moves in and around physical structures, we piece together technical narratives to explain the circumstances that lead to failures and recommend solutions that will keep them from occurring again.

Some of the kinds of cases we have helped solve include the following:

  • Following a transformer failure at a power substation, our engineers reconstructed the weather record and discovered that the equipment was vulnerable to a very specific combination of wind and snow conditions that just happened to occur at the same time. The solution? A simple wind fence to prevent windblown snow from collecting at the site.
  • When high winds partially tore the roof from a large distribution warehouse, our engineers discovered that the roof, though built to building code standards, was insufficient when the same storm destroyed a loading dock door. The broken door permitted significant overpressure inside the structure at the same time as the roof experienced suction. The failure, it turned out, was more about weak doors than inadequate roofing.
  • After a security camera recorded the disintegration of a revolving door during a thunderstorm, CPP’s engineers conducted simulations to identify the weaknesses that resulted in considerable wind and water damage, not to mention a great deal of sharp, broken glass. Thankfully the event happened at night when the building was unoccupied, but mitigating these weaknesses ensured that the building could be made safe for occupants even in severe weather.

CPP’s leaders regularly provide consulting, expert analysis, and testimony in cases involving insurance claims, injury due to unsafe environmental conditions, and other situations in need of expert information. And our founders have been called upon in countless cases in which insurers needed reliable, unbiased information about the causes of damage.

When severe winds affect your building or structure, the experts at CPP can deliver the reliable information and recommendations you need to get back on track and back to business. It’s just another way we promote environments that are safe, efficient, and reliable.