When construction fails, the contractor invariably is brought to court. He needs proof that his work met specifications and may need the testimony of a forensic engineer. A forensic engineer conducts an investigation that can determine why a structure did not perform as expected.

If you are on site during a construction failure, maintain safety and security first. Call your lawyer, insurance agent and forensic engineer as soon as possible. It's best if the forensic engineer arrives at the site soon after the failure. He can interview witnesses and inspect the site to collect evidence that may not be available the next day. The failure investigation consists of immediate on-site inspection, later on-site investigation and subsequent off-site analysis.