Forensic Engineering

All interested parties are invited to join in the standards developing activities of new Subcommittee E58.06 on Incidents Involving Structures, part of ASTM International Committee E58 on Forensic Engineering.

Forensic engineering is defined as "the application of the art and science of engineering in matters which are in, or may possibly relate to, the jurisprudence system, inclusive of alternative dispute resolution." The purpose of the new subcommittee is to develop standards for the handling of such matters that involve structures.

Robin Girard, project engineer, Bracken Engineering Inc., and secretary of E58.06, notes that the subcommittee is launching its activities with a proposed new standard, WK38439, Terminology for Forensic Engineering Incidents Involving Structures - Definition of Structural Damage.

"Based on the feedback we've received from several of our members currently practicing throughout the United States and Canada, multiple problems have developed in the industry because technical terms have not been formally defined by building codes or other technical documents," says Girard. When left undefined, Girard notes, technical terms related to incidents involving structures are open to misinterpretation or misrepresentation.

In addition to a terminology standard, E58.06 will develop a series of guides to be used by forensic engineers.

"Guides are ideal in that they offer guidance in an advisory nature while avoiding the imposition of prescriptive, potentially difficult constraints on atypical projects," says Girard.

As an example, Girard cites the use of infrared technology for the investigation of water intrusion in buildings as a suggested subject of a future E58.06 guide. "In this particular case, it is not the goal of the subcommittee to prescribe an exacting procedural process, but to recognize and provide guidance on the legitimate application of new technology and science to forensic engineering of incidents involving structures," says Girard.

CONTACT Technical Information: Robin Girard, Bracken Engineering • Tampa, Fla. • Phone: 813-243-4251 | ASTM Staff: Kelly Paul • Phone: 610-832-9745

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