Articles


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Investigations of Wildfire and the Growing Natural Hazard

June 11, 2012

The wildfire problems of the United States continue to plague homeowners, firefighters, and insurers. In fact, the drought of the western U.S. is going into its 10th year, and its effects are showing increasingly. Georgia experienced its largest wildfire in history in April of 2007. A large, stubborn wildfire tied up federal resources in the […]

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Pie Consulting & Engineering

Deflections in Deck and Balcony Railings

June 10, 2012

Deck and stair railings that do not meet code requirements or have excessive deflection present a danger to the public and result in a multitude of insurance and construction-related claims.  As forensic engineers, we typically see common areas of railing design that are deficient to code or serviceability.  In order to understand the construction and […]

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Appraisal And Umpire Processes For Settling Disputes

June 8, 2012

The appraisal process for settling disputes can be easy or it can be a long, drawn out procedure finally ending with both sides appealing to an umpire. The appraisal process as it applies to hail and wind damage to roofs typically begins after the original adjuster has rendered a decision that the homeowner does not […]

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EIFS: History and Review of the ‘Failure’ Mechanisms

June 7, 2012

While no one may truly know when stucco was first developed or installed, it is known that stucco type applications where applied as early as 5,000 years ago when the Egyptian’s and Meso-American cultures utilized gypsum and lime mortars to surface the exterior stone or block faces of the pyramids. Exterior plaster/stucco applications and advancements […]

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Mechanical Systems

June 6, 2012

In a previous article, we discussed ice dams frequently being the suspected cause of building leaks. Further investigation revealed that inadequate detailing and/or construction methods were the cause. This month’s issue deals with an inadequate mechanical systemthat led to condensation and humidity problems. Condensation Problems A building containing a pool at a mountain resort was […]

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How Did That Mold Get Into My Bedroom?

June 5, 2012

Does it seem like the news regarding mold problems is growing at an alarming rate every day? What has changed over the last 20 years to increase this phenomenon? Several aspects need to be analyzed in order to thoroughly investigate the increasing alarm over mold. Let’s first take a look at how building practices have […]

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Metal Building Minute

May 19, 2012

What Are Metal Buildings? Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings (PEMB’s) are buildings that have been designed and constructed to utilize pre-manufactured system components (such as horizontal wind girts, roof purlins and roof metal decks) to economically and efficiently construct enclosed spaces, especially large-spanning buildings in need of open space. Advantages of PEMB Use: New, more aesthetically pleasing […]

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Commercial Roofing Damage Analysis via Solvent Extraction of Reinforcements

May 15, 2012

Commercial roof impact damage can be difficult to assess without solvent extraction and analysis of the reinforcements, commonly referred to as desaturation.  The presence of damage to the reinforcements will directly affect the repairs, which have a significant impact on the amount of the loss.  This brief article will summarize the process in which low […]

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Emissivity Measurements of Common Construction Materials

May 13, 2012

ABSTRACT This paper will review and discuss the determination of the emissivity of common construction materials to aid the investigator during infrared inspections/surveys of building envelope systems. Specifically, this paper will discuss the results of product testing of constructed wall assemblies. The wall assemblies are constructed to mimic the common materials encountered in building envelope […]

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The Pitfalls of Modern Investigative Methodology Using Negative Corpus

May 11, 2012

Conclusions regarding the cause of a fire, explosion, subrogation issue, or even a construction defect are often made in the absence of physical evidence or proof.  The term Negative Corpus is not a legal term, but refers to a loose Latin translation meaning “without the body of the crime.”  Many forensic investigators utilize the process […]

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