Forensic Engineering & Expert Witness

Ninyo & Moore performs forensic evaluations to assist clients in assessing the cause of distress to structures and other improvements, and to provide appropriate repair recommendations. Forensic evaluations are performed on behalf of law firms, insurance companies, and municipal, commercial, and residential owners. An understanding of geologic conditions and soil-structure interactions is vital to properly evaluate the contributing causes of distress and develop the appropriate corrective actions. Our staff is experienced in coordinating unit-by-unit inspections of small to large building complexes and single-family homes efficiently and without undue aggravation to owners.

A full evaluation of distress typically involves a review of construction documents, including soils reports, and building and grading plans; review of published and unpublished geologic maps and reports; stereoscopic review of aerial photographs; interior and exterior documentation of distress; manometer (floor level) surveys of building slabs; subsurface exploration; laboratory testing; data analysis; formulation of repair recommendations; and report preparation.

Subsurface exploration typically requires the use of truck-mounted or portable drilling equipment or hand-digging. Such excavations are performed under the supervision of our engineers or geologists. Following excavation, holes are carefully backfilled and landscaping or hardscape is restored as closely as possible to its original condition. Our modern testing laboratories are fully equipped and accredited by CCRL and AASHTO as well as by several local and state agencies.

Forensic evaluations can be performed to evaluate:

  • Landsliding and slope stability, including landslide geometry and geologic structure
  • Flooding and mudflows
  • Ground shaking, liquefaction, lateral spreading, and settlement
  • Groundwater seepage and moisture intrusion
  • Construction and changed conditions claims
  • Construction vibration damage
  • Ground settlement associated with soil compaction and collapsible soils
  • Expansive soil distress

Typically, our services are retained to evaluate earth movement and other geotechnical problems that may occur, such as:

  • Cracked slabs/foundations
  • Soil settlement
  • Expansive soils
  • Retaining wall failure
  • Pipe corrosion/leakage
  • Concrete corrosion
  • Mold
  • Moisture Intrusion
  • Landslides/slope movement
  • Pavement distress
  • Erosion

Areas in which members of our Environmental group have provided these services include:

  • Contaminated soil
  • Contaminated groundwater
  • Industrial hygiene and safety
  • Asbestos/lead/mold
  • Remediation and cost estimating
  • Waste handling and disposal
  • Water resources

Ninyo & Moore employs safety professionals certified by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, industrial hygienists certified by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, Certified Asbestos Consultants, and Lead Project Monitors. These professionals are often called upon to provide expert witness testimony.

Areas in which members of our Materials Testing services group are retained to evaluate failed or deteriorated construction materials include:

  • Asphalt concrete
  • Portland cement concrete
  • Structural steel welding

Ninyo & Moore has extensive experience providing defense and plaintiff expert witness services, including attending mediations and depositions, providing expert witness testimony, providing consultation services, and directing the forensic evaluation which may involve the services previously discussed.

Senior Ninyo & Moore personnel frequently provide litigation and expert witness services. Our experienced expert witnesses have worked with attorneys representing developers, contractors, municipal agencies, homeowners' associations, and individual property owners, as well as with mediators providing third party consultant testimony. Qualifications of our experts include:

  • Strong technical qualifications: Our experts have advanced degrees, certifications and registrations, many years of experience, are published in their fields, and are held in esteem by their peers.
  • Credibility: Our experts are active in the day-to-day practice of their trade, not just in forensic studies and court testimony.
  • Strongly impartial: Our services are sought by both plaintiff and defense attorneys. Our testimony is built on the strengths of a thorough and objective evaluation.
  • Court presence: Our experts have excellent courtroom skills, are skilled in communication, and present a calm and positive demeanor.
  • Superior exhibits: Ninyo & Moore utilizes state-of-art computer equipment along with trained graphic artists to present excellent graphics for courtroom presentations. Our presentations have been a determining factor in many trials.