Engineering Expert Opines on Storm Damage to Commercial Property


Engineering Expert WitnessThis case involves damage to a small commercial property incurred during a hurricane. The Plaintiff owner of the property discovered structural damage to the property’s foundation after the storm, which had allegedly made the building dangerous to occupy, causing FEMA to order a mandatory evacuation for the property. However, and inspection performed by the Plaintiff’s insurance company allegedly revealed no such defects. The Plaintiff claimed that the insurance company was not acting in good faith to fulfill their obligation to ameliorate the expense of needed repairs.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please briefly discuss your background in the structural engineering of commercial property.
  • 2. Have you completed a substantial amount of work with wind or tornado damaged properties?

Expert Witness Response E-054271

I have provided structural engineering designs for many buildings, many located in hurricane high wind areas. I have investigated damage to maybe thousands of structures caused by high winds from both hurricanes and tornadoes, but many of these investigations were not for either the owner or an insurance company but more cursory investigations used to generally describe the damage and use the information to potentially support new engineering guidance or building code changes. I have written engineering design guidance for high wind designs and participate in ASCE 7 minimum load standard wind load committee. I have investigated damage to many residential and commercial foundations. I have never come across one that was damaged by high winds.

Expert Witness Response E-083024

I have performed property loss investigations since 1998. I have also been the structural engineer for the design of several large single-family homes. In addition, I have design underpinning systems to repair the foundations for structures that have experienced differential settlement since 2000. Every year, I perform numerous property loss inspections to assess storm damage from high winds or tornadoes. I have investigated tornado damage to single-family homes or small commercial buildings in several states. I have performed 42 property loss investigations for insurance companies since 2012.

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