Sintra Engineering | Resolve Matters

Western Canada's
Forensic Engineering Experts

Sintra Engineering

FAILURES HAPPEN.

We succeed at finding out why.

Failure

Talk to an expert at:

1-877-244-6251


When structures collapse or components fail it’s important for insurers to understand what caused the failure. When that failure causes damage or injury, the need to understand what or who contributed to that failure is crucial.

Sintra Engineering’s forensic failure investigations provide our clients with the answers they need to determine cause and where responsibility lies. Our multidisciplinary team of engineers examine all the variables to assess whether the failure was caused by normal wear, or by errors in the design, installation or maintenance process. Was it up to code? Was maintenance performed regularly and thoroughly? Was the design flawed from the start? Our investigations answer these questions, and give clients the information they need to resolve matters with confidence.

When structures fail or buildings collapse, safety is paramount. Before we begin our investigation into why the failure happened, we need to know if it is safe for investigators and other experts to be in the structure at all. This is especially true following fires, which can compromise the structural integrity of buildings. Our forensic team can assess a building’s safety before further investigations get underway.

In determining the cause of structural failures, our investigators will examine all of the variables that could impact structural integrity, including:

  • design flaws
  • wear and tear
  • installation errors
  • fire damage
  • water damage
  • wind damage

We pay particular attention to code compliance, and can ascertain if the structure was constructed according to code. Our structural failure investigators use this information to determine when and how the structure was compromised, and identify who, if anyone, is responsible for the failure.

Our structural failure experts also provide essential information on the scope of repair required within the building, and can identify items that require repair, those that are not salvageable and those that have been unaffected by the incident. Of particular concern to insurers when repairing or replacing a structure, is ensuring that repair and replacement is done to like kind and quality. Our structural experts can assist clients in differentiating between building design and replacement materials that represent legitimate code upgrades versus those that represent betterments.


When Does a Concrete Crack Pose a Significant Structural Concern? 

All concrete will crack to some extent. The question is: when does a concrete crack point to structural integrity issues and when is it cosmetic only and therefore of little concern? We’ve provided some basic guidelines to assess concrete cracks to determine if they represent a significant structural concern requiring further assessment.

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Products that break or fail to perform as expected can be more than inconvenient – they can also result in losses for insurers and their clients. When those losses result in personal injury or property damages, manufacturers may be held liable, particularly when the product is found to have:

  • manufacturing defects
  • design defects
  • marketing defects (failure to warn of potential hazards)

Before manufacturers can be pursued in subrogation, products need to be analyzed by forensic engineers who know what to look for in the various components and elements. Our failure experts have extensive experience in examining and assessing faulty products, including conducting exemplar testing, where investigators use a functioning version of the product to understand how the product was intended to operate, and if possible, replicate the operating conditions that may have led to the failure.

In instances where a failure contributes to an injury, our product failure experts work closely with our injury experts to determine if the manufacturer provided sufficient warnings on their product and if the product was used properly.


Heavy Equipment Failure Investigations

Heavy equipment failures are of particular concern to companies that rely on them for daily operations. The cost related to lost time when these machines are unavailable is significant. Investigating the causes of failures or fires on heavy duty vehicles draws on a specialized knowledge of hydraulics, electrical and mechanical systems as well as the material properties of the various components. Read more about the unique challenges that heavy equipment failure investigations present...

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Material failures present unique challenges for forensic investigators. Whenever a product’s parts or components fail, insurers must understand why the failure occurred before they can resolve liability or identify subrogation opportunities. Sintra Engineering’s material failure experts understand the importance of establishing cause and effect, and mapping how the failure occurred.

We employ a variety of tools and techniques to assess how parts or components failed, including:

  • visual examination
  • non-destructive testing
  • destructive testing

As part of our analysis, we also consider external factors to establish whether the material was exposed to excessive loading or foreign contaminants. And we consider design or manufacturing errors, and assess the possibility of operator error. At the end of our investigation, our clients understand what caused the failure, where liability rests and how they can move ahead to resolve matters quickly and confidently.


Understanding the Mode of Failure from the Fracture Face

A visual examination is one of the first investigative techniques employed by materials engineer trying to determine the mode of failure. Often the failure mode can be determined through visual examinations of a fracture face alone. A fracture face is the exposed surface of a part or component resulting from a break. Once the mode of failure is known, the reason for the failure can be zeroed in on. Learn more about fracture face analysis and its usefulness in diagnosing failures...

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Failure Expertise

› Structural Assessments
› Product Liability Investigations
› Material Testing
› Component Analysis
› Exemplar Testing
› Industrial Equipment Investigations
› Root Cause Investigations

› Failure Mode and Effect Analysis
› Electrical System Investigations
› Mechanical System Assessments
› Vehicle Component Investigations


Failure Team Leaders

Carla

Carla

Mark

Mark

Failure Specialists

Andrea

Andrea

Carly

Carly

Geoff

Geoff

Jeff

Jeff

Kevin

Kevin

Michael

Michael

Rebecca

Rebecca

Ryan

Ryan




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