Architecture Expert Evaluates Fall Caused by Negligent Building Design


Architecture Expert WitnessThis case involves a construction worker who fell through improperly supported flooring and suffered significant injuries. The Plaintiff was working on the third floor of an ongoing construction project for a university campus. The building was still skeletal, and was largely a framework of exposed steel beams. On this particular job, almost all of the sheets that were being used to provide the base layer of flooring for the building were of the same size. However, after the floor plan was decided upon and the materials to construct the floor were allocated, a significant space remained near the proposed location of an elevator. The construction company placed a section of sheeting to cover the gap that did not have adequate support from the underlying steel beams. The Plaintiff was walking on this sheet of decking when he suddenly fell through to the ground, suffering severe injuries in the process. It was alleged that the design of the building was negligent, and that it directly contributed to the Plaintiff’s injuries. A forensic architect was sought for the case.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have experience designing commercial structures similar in scope to the one in this case?
  • 2. Have you ever been sued as a result of one of your designs?

Expert Witness Response E-000671

I have worked on projects that have used sheet metal or steel decking either as the primary floor or roof deck or as a form for a poured concrete slab that became the “actual” floor slab and surface. I have served as an expert in a number of personal injury cases wherein the plaintiff was injured due to the collapse of a portion of the walking or deck surface. In most instances, these were balconies or porch decks or platforms where as many as 13 persons died rather than a deck such as described herein, with the exception of the collapse of a metal raised computer floor that resulted in a fatality. Other than my overall qualifications as architect and engineer and long history of both teaching and practice, I must admit I am extremely detail oriented and extremely compulsive as to thoroughly investigating all aspects of a case. Having taught building construction and structures I also tend to be very good and reviewing drawings, details and whatever design documents, calculation or other materials. It seems like the design of this structure was at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries.

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