I have been privileged to provide expert reports/testimony in:
- International Arbitrations in The Hague and Dubai
- Civil cases in the TCC, County Court and Public Planning Appeals
- Manslaughter and fraud related cases in the Crown Courts of Southwark and Winchester.
Failure of Duty of Care - Structural Engineers
Failure of duty of care of fellow professional structural engineers’ reports are provided. Instructions are received from the large well known insurance companies, solicitors, the public and from professional indemnity insurers or their brokers. This workload is varied but would typically involve the following:
Design failures may manifest themselves during or after the construction process. Professionals are often held to be negligent for what they don’t say as well as inappropriate advice, and cutting out the professional all together can end with catastrophic results.
- Defective flooring
- Inadequate fire resistance
- Inadequate strength of materials used in construction
- Low grade concrete
- Foundation design and failure
When designing building engineers need to explain to clients the different specifications that could be provided. This is particularly important when the maintenance of the building is considered. ‘Life to first maintenance’ is a consideration that is not always properly dealt with and clients normally end up paying for a shortfall in specification detail. This can be very expensive if disputes arise with Tenants who object to the high maintenance costs.
Unskilled labour used on building projects and the lack of appropriate insurance cover by contractors/ builders contribute to the mayhem caused after a collapse.
Health and Safety of building sites although taken very seriously by the majority can be flagrantly ignored by the minority. Vigilance during site inspections should be high on the list of professionals to minimise the calamities that could otherwise follow.
It may be surprising to learn that professionals are not always commissioned by clients prior to collapses. It is never enough however for a professional to sit and watch a client going down this potentially dangerous route without advising him of the error of his ways and then confirming it in writing.
Bomb damage experience gained during the terrorist activities has stood me in good stead in appraising partially collapsed or totally collapsed buildings with a view to determine the probable cause or causes of collapse.
Construction and Material Defects
- Lower strength of concrete than specified.
- Alkali- silica reaction (ASR) of the constituent parts of concrete.
- Concrete contamination either man- made products or by pollution.
- Sulphate attack (acid rain)of concrete.
- Glazing defects due to contaminants or poor installation and low grade materials.
- Structural steelwork testing.
- Long span beams analysis.
- Steel grade not matching the design requirements
- Masonry defects.
- Advanced corrosion of galvanised cavity ties.
- Vertical load calculations.
- Mortar issues
Excessive deflection may be caused by over notching (plumbers/electricians please note) or the wrong grade of timber or simply the wrong size compared to the design assumptions or even the member may not be at the appropriate centres.
The omission of bracing in roofs and the omission of restraints to gable walls is a topic that does not go away. The above are just a few of the related topics that encompass my expert reports.