Ask an Expert: Electrical Fires

DonanEngineering Appliance, Product & Component Failures, Ask an Expert, Component Testing, Electrical Engineer, Fire Investigation, Fire Investigator, Fire Manager, Forensic Engineering, Lightning/Power Surge, Residential & Commercial Structure Fires, Vehicle & Equipment Fires

Ask An Expert is a question-and-answer column designed to address common questions related to forensic investigation and property damage. Each month we’ll feature one or two questions submitted by you – our readers and customers – and provide detailed, easy-to-understand answers. Email your questions to [email protected] or submit your questions here.   Does the energy of lightning strikes vary by geography? For example, is lightning energy …

Investigating Attic Condensation

DonanEngineering Appliance, Product & Component Failures, Articles, Commercial & Residential Roofing, Forensic Engineer, Forensic Engineering, Knowledge Base, Roofing Investigations, Structural Damage & Collapse

Attic condensation and resultant mold growth are common problems for homeowners.  Attics generally have limited access and homeowners seldom, if ever, enter them unless they suspect a problem or if they store seasonal items there.  My personal experience suggests that these problems are most commonly detected in the months between November and January when homeowners either retrieve or store their …

Ask an Expert: Large Fire Losses

DonanEngineering Fire Investigation, Fire Investigator, Fire Manager, Knowledge Base, Residential & Commercial Structure Fires, Vehicle & Equipment Fires

Ask An Expert is a question-and-answer column designed to address common questions related to forensic investigation and property damage. Each month we’ll feature one or two questions submitted by you – our readers and customers – and provide detailed, easy-to-understand answers. Email your questions to [email protected] or submit your questions here. Is there a dollar amount that separates a large fire loss from a normal one? …

Case Study: A Surge Suppressor Success Story

DonanEngineering Appliance, Product & Component Failures, Articles, Electrical Engineer, Fire Investigation, Forensic Engineer, Forensic Engineering, Knowledge Base, Lightning Investigation, Lightning/Power Surge, Vehicle & Equipment Fires

This house was struck by lightning on Saturday, June 16, 2018. The strike was caught on video by a neighbor recording the lightning display in the southern skies of Fargo, North Dakota.  Surprisingly, voices could be heard on the video soundtrack, but no thunderclap was recorded.  The vinyl-sided house faces north, and the evidence and video confirm the strike to …

Ask an Expert: Commercial Truck Brake Failures

DonanEngineering Appliance, Product & Component Failures, Ask an Expert, Forensic Engineer, Forensic Engineering, Knowledge Base, Vehicle Accident Reconstruction

Ask An Expert is a question-and-answer column designed to address common questions related to forensic investigation and property damage. Each month we’ll feature one or two questions submitted by you – our readers and customers – and provide detailed, easy-to-understand answers. Email your questions to [email protected] or submit your questions here.   How long have anti-lock braking systems been required for trailers? Jeff Bradley, PE.: They …

Ask an Expert: Materials Testing & Product Liability

DonanEngineering Appliance, Product & Component Failures, Articles, Ask an Expert, Component Testing, Engineering Manager, Knowledge Base

Ask An Expert is a question-and-answer column designed to address common questions related to forensic investigation and property damage. Each month we’ll feature one or two questions submitted by you – our readers and customers – and provide detailed, easy-to-understand answers. Email your questions to [email protected] or submit your questions here.   Q: What evidence, at a minimum, is needed to do material testing of a supply …

Evaluating Structural Damage After a Wildfire

DonanEngineering Articles, Engineering Manager, Fire Investigation, Forensic Engineer, Forensic Engineering, Knowledge Base, Residential & Commercial Structure Fires, Structural Damage & Collapse

There’s a primary danger and fear experienced by property owners evacuated from the path of a raging wildfire – will my home or business be there when I return? Whether a structure emerges relatively unscathed by fire or with extensive damages, questions may arise about how to address damages. Let’s take a look at how fire damage affects common building …

Ask an Expert: Wildfires

DonanEngineering Ask an Expert, Engineering Manager, Fire Investigation, Fire Investigator, Fire Manager, Forensic Engineer, Forensic Engineering, Knowledge Base, Principal Consultant, Residential & Commercial Structure Fires, Structural Damage & Collapse

Ask An Expert is a question-and-answer column designed to address common questions related to forensic investigation and property damage. Each month we’ll feature one or two questions submitted by you – our readers and customers – and provide detailed, easy-to-understand answers. Email your questions to [email protected] or submit your questions here.   Q: How far away from a structure should trees be cleared to protect the …

Estimating Hail Size from Radar

DonanEngineering Forensic Engineering, Hail and Wind, Hurricanes & Flood, Knowledge Base

Weather research is a key ingredient in forensic engineering investigations, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Forensic engineering considers all data relevant to a specific scope of work, and weather research is a key ingredient in that data set.  Determining the hail size, direction of impact, and date hail occurred are important in every hail study.  Weather data helps …

Ask an Expert: Construction Defects

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Ask An Expert is a question-and-answer column designed to address common questions related to forensic investigation and property damage. Each month we’ll feature one or two questions submitted by you – our readers and customers – and provide detailed, easy-to-understand answers. Email your questions to [email protected] or submit your questions here.   Q: Is there any benefit to completely sealing a crawlspace and creating a dry …

Ask an Expert: Repair versus Replace

DonanEngineering Ask an Expert, Residential & Commercial Structure Fires, Structural Damage & Collapse

Ask An Expert is a question-and-answer column designed to address common questions related to forensic investigation and property damage. Each month we’ll feature one or two questions submitted by you – our readers and customers – and provide detailed, easy-to-understand answers. Email your questions to [email protected] or submit your questions here. Question #1: Does wood framing that has been heated up and has sapped out on the …

To Hire an Engineer or Use a Prescriptive Detail

DonanEngineering Forensic Engineering, Knowledge Base

When confronted with a building project, a contractor has a decision to make – to hire an engineer, or to use a prescriptive detail. Confronted with the extra costs involved in hiring an engineer, it is tempting for the contractor to forgo that step and go forward without an engineer.  The temptation is increased when the structure is something as …