Examining Cost Repairs to Structural Damage as Part of an Investigation

When people think about hiring a forensic engineer or accident reconstructionist they normally think about an engineer’s search for causation or contributing factors and not cost estimating. CED Investigative Technologies Inc. has the ability to combine both of these aspects, particularly in the areas of civil and structural failures, and to therefore provide a single source resulting in cost savings for the customer and an opinion capable of withstanding the toughest critics.

What is the benefit of using a forensic engineer to provide cost estimating? The major reason clients retain CED is to provide causation. Armed with the cause, CED’s engineers can sometimes assist in estimating the cost of the repairs. The cost of the repair does not always help one determine what party may be responsible for that for some or all of that repair.

However, understanding the cause of a loss can assist the CED engineer in determining what portion of the overall repair costs should be apportioned to a particular party. This is particularly prevalent in residential and commercial construction losses when the claimant simply wants the structure repaired.

How does a forensic engineer know how to do an estimate? In the area of construction and structural repairs, CED engineers have direct experience in cost estimating. CED engineers refer to such popular guides as the R.S. Means and National Construction Estimator where proper and reasonable costs are determined by geographic locations for such things as: equipment, labor and materials. “The key is determining the actual source of the loss or failure prior to analyzing estimates so that you have a true source to build your repairs,” states Mark Kilgore, P.E., one of CED’s Structural Engineers.

“Once you have the basis for what problem needs to be repaired, you can then apply normalized industry standards by geographic location to determine the actual estimate as to what is reasonable and proper to repair the problem.” Mr. Kilgore, like other CED engineers have direct experience with both estimating and determining the cause in a case. Dr. Bramel has completed cost estimates for such structures as roadways, bridges, residential and commercial dwellings and heavy concrete structures in excess of over $300 million dollars.

Combining cost estimating and forensic engineering into a single source is not only a cost savings, as there is no second party that has to come up to speed, but also a powerful tool in the courtroom or in mediation.