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RE: Forensic Engineer in the Midwest

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Title: Forensic Engineer in the Midwest



I wouldn’t hesitate to contact Wiss Janey Elstner – their reputation is excellent.  However, you may be able to make quite a bit of sense of what is happening on you own without taking things apart so completely.  When cracks and separations between parts of a structure occur, something had to move to open up the crack or separation.  The first questions are, then, what had to move, and in what direction, in order to cause that?  Sometimes there will be other clues in changes to finishes or adjacent grade that will provide further clues.  Questions like these will help you focus in on what finishes you will need to remove to help you find the next clue and the next until you understand what is happening.


When a structure that has been essentially stable for years begins to show cracks or separations, the usual suspect is water – perhaps under the foundation [as would be caused by a plumbing leak or changes in the drainage patterns at grade], or a breach in flashing someplace.  In any case, be sure that the cause of the damage is figured out and corrected before you proceed with repairs.


Nels Roselund, SE

South San Gabriel, CA


From: Bruce Holcomb [mailto:bholcomb(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 12:50 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Forensic Engineer in the Midwest


I have a project in Springfield Missouri which we are discussing hiring a Forensic Engineer.  The building structure is a church building about 80 years old and some new cracks are appearing in an area which has had some cracks in the past.  Also, the balcony is pulled away from both the north and south walls between 3/8” and ½”.  If it were solely up to me, I’d want to tear into the ceiling of the balcony… dig up the footing… remove the enclosure from around the roof trusses, punch through the plaster walls… and investigate.  But, in an effort to avoid alarming the entire congregation, we’re wondering if an expert in the field of Forensic Engineering would enable us to avoid some of this demolition.  I have the name of Wiss, Janney, Elstner… are there any others… maybe closer to Springfield, MO?


Bruce D. Holcomb, P.E., S.E.

Structural Engineer

Butler, Rosenbury & Partners

300 S. Jefferson, Suite 505

Springfield, MO 65806

ph. 417-865-6100

fax 417-865-6102

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