OCA Meets Increased Demand For Forensic Engineering
by Ina Georgala
More South African home owners and developers will require the assistance of forensic engineers in the next decade, says Kent Georgala, MD of Omega Consulting Africa (OCA), a civil and structural engineering firm based in the Overberg.
Georgala says many civil and structural engineering firms have experienced an increase in requests for forensic engineering services in recent years. Most of these can be directly linked to the fact that building standards and standards for building materials are not being applied consistently. This can have a direct effect on the performance and durability of a structure.
“New home owners could be handed a beautifully built home, only to be confronted with issues like serious wall and slab cracks, deflection of roof beams and rising damp a few years down the line. These problems should not occur if the SANS 10400 regulations for soil classification and general building standards were properly followed by everyone, for example.”
An experienced forensic engineer will usually be called in to investigate any failures of materials, products or structures as they all carry the risk of personal injury, damage to property or economic loss. Forensic engineering investigations generally also have insurance and health and safety implications, says Georgala. This could lead to legal action, particularly in cases where there is evidence of incompetence, unethical conduct, fraud or corruption. Examples of these are builders deliberately using substandard building materials or the fraudulent issue of certificates of compliance.
OCA provides a forensic engineering service to clients, which include but are not limited to investigations into foundation settlement, cracking, deflection, structural collapse, rising damp, defective workmanship and deviation from building standards, structural integrity after fire and water damage and general health and safety issues. Contact Omega Consulting Africa (OCA) for more information.