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Fundamentals of Forensic Engineering

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    END DATE: FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2018

    2.0 CEUs/ 20 PDHs. Member $1695.00 | Non-Member $1995.00 

    Instructor: Michael J. Drerup, P.E., M.ASCE and Alexander Newman, P.E., F.ASCE

    This course explores the pathology of the built environment. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the underlying technical and human factors that cause and contribute to failures of constructed facilities. You will also will gain introductory knowledge of how to conduct a forensic investigation, with focus on the role of field, laboratory, and office-based analysis. Guidelines for developing and executing an investigation will be presented, and the role of design professionals as expert witnesses will be explored. Numerous case studies will be presented to illustrate concepts, including many from the instructor’s personal experience. This course is co-sponsored by the Committee on Technical Advancement and the Forensic Engineering Division.

    Course Benefits

    • Gain an in-depth understanding of the underlying causes of failures of constructed facilities, with respect to initial design and construction, and service life considerations.
    • Develop an understanding of technical and human factors that contribute to building failures.
    • Identify failures and failure risks related to safety, serviceability, and aesthetics.
    • Understand the role of weathering interfaces in building performance, including but not limited to the building envelope.
    • Identify potential failure mechanisms, and learn how to develop a scientifically-based approach and methodology to form and evaluate failure hypotheses.
    • Understand the role of field documentation and testing, laboratory testing, and office-based analysis in failure investigations.
    • Understand the strengths and limitations of various testing and analytical approaches.
    • Explore case studies of past failures to identify key lessons learned.
    • Understand the scope and limits of responsibility for design professionals who serve as experts in construction-related disputes, and understand how the ASCE Code of Ethics applies to expert witness service.
    • Develop a working knowledge of pertinent ASCE publications including “Guidelines for Forensic Engineering Practice” and “Case Studies in Civil Engineering Failures”.


    • Engineers
    • Architects
    • Building officials
    • Students and faculty

    Learning Outcomes

    • Describe common origins of failures related to design, construction, and performance of component systems and products, that affect the initial and early-service life performance of a constructed facility.
    • Discover major factors that affect the performance of a constructed facility over time, including operations and maintenance, extreme events, and deterioration.
    • Explain ordinary and specialty field and laboratory evaluation techniques use in forensic investigations, including visual, non-destructive, and destructive techniques.
    • Demonstrate familiarity with available standards and resources available to develop a scientifically sound investigation.
    • Identify appropriate protocols for documentation and preservation of evidence.
    • Describe key lessons learned from notable case studies, including technical and human factors that caused and contributed to a failure.
    • Describe and outline components of a failure investigation report.
    • Describe how lessons learned from other industries can be applied to the investigation of buildings and structures.


  • Course Details

    Course Duration: 6 or 12 weeks
    Expected sitting time per week: Up to 2.5 hours
    Total video lecture content: 16 hours
    Total interactive exercises: 3 hours
    CEUs: 1.0 or 2.0

  • Questions?

    Contact the Continuing Education Department