Structural and Geotechnical Engineering Failure Investigations and Legal Disputes

Seminar Speaker
Dr. Christine Beyzaei and Dr. Ezra Jampole
Seminar Date
Monday, Mar 2, 2020 - 1:00 pm
Sponsored By
Professor Chia-Ming Uang
Seminar Location - Room
Center Hall, Room 216

In an ideal world, an engineer’s involvement in a structure would end after construction is finished. But the reality is that many structures are subject to costly litigation or arbitration because of allegations of inadequate design or performance. Additionally, when a structure is subjected to extreme loading, insurance disputes arise regarding the source of damage and who is responsible. This talk will review the types of legal disputes that structural engineers can find themselves in and how expert witnesses are used to sort through the issues and provide independent opinions. Several case studies on earthquake engineering disputes and other engineering failures will be discussed, including: alleged reduction in the earthquake-resisting capacity of a building because of water intrusion; the collapse of several structures, and a dam failure.

Dr. Beyzaei is a senior engineer at Exponent in Oakland. She specializes in geotechnical engineering, geotechnical earthquake engineering, geotechnical site investigation, and geotechnical seismic testing. She has experience on domestic and international projects for critical infrastructure, new and existing buildings, high-rise structures, bridges, and embankment dams, including: liquefaction assessment, seismic site response, seismic hazard analysis, ground motion development, settlement analysis, foundation assessment, slope stability, seepage analysis, and reconciliation of historical documentation with existing conditions for improved evaluation of expected performance.

Dr. Jampole is a senior engineer at Exponent in New York City. He specializes in risk analysis and performance of structures subjected to extreme loads such as earthquakes, wind, and flood events. He has served as a consultant on projects assessing the origin of damage to structures following natural disasters, adjacent construction incidents, corrosion and deterioration, settlement, and long-term issues. He has experience investigating the engineering standard of care for complex energy and infrastructure projects.