The Ultimate Guide to Forensic Engineering

So how does Forensic Engineering Work? We get this question often, so we thought we’d share our Guide to Forensic Engineering. Our “assignment” often begins through a phone call or email from an insurance company adjuster professional, who is looking for a team of talented engineers to determine the cause of damage. Through the initial contact, the scope, location, and name of the insured are outlined. An example would be, “Mrs. Jones lives on 123 Main Street in Anywhere NJ. We need you to perform an inspection to determine what is causing the flooding in her basement.” Most often, the one question that needs to be answered is “how or why did this occur?” In the industry-these are referred to as Cause and Origin Reports.


1. Perform a Conflict Check Internally

After the initial contact, we perform a conflict check internally. The check allows us to ensure that there are no professional or personal relationships that would prevent us from preparing an impartial report. We know accuracy matters, and we make certain that each report is correct and unbiased.


2. Schedule a Site Inspection

Within only one business day, we contact the individual insured to schedule a site inspection. The site inspection occurs within a week of receiving the assignment. Before the inspection, we gather any relevant information such as recent weather events and reviews of aerial photography that could be helpful to our team. Next, we prepare a list of questions that can be answered by the insured or through our inspection to assist us in determining the cause of the incident.


3. Conduct the Inspection

On inspection day, we interview the insured about the reported event, the history surrounding the circumstances, and additional relevant information. We take many pictures and measurements of the location where the event took place and ask ourselves questions throughout the process.


4. Write the Report

Upon return to the office, we review our notes and begin writing our report. The report begins with a description of our observations, then discusses the meaning of the observations and how the findings answer the client’s question of “how or why did this occur?” We provide this report within 10 days to our clients as part of our forensic engineering guarantee.


5. Present our Findings

Our forensic report concludes with our opinion, which is carefully based on evidence and fact, to solve “how or why did this occur?” The report is forwarded to the client within one week of the inspection.


At WJH Engineering, we pride ourselves on preparing concise, unambiguous, and thorough Cause and Origin Reports.


Contact us today with your next assignment!