What is a forensic investigation?

The Oxford Dictionary defines forensic science as relating to, or denoting, the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime.  Forensic engineering involves the application of a variety of sciences to answer questions of interest to a legal system. This may be in relation to a crime or, in our work, civil litigation. 

The forensic work our firm undertakes comprises investigating and reporting on the cause of an event.  The cause of this event may become the subject of a statement of claim in a civil court action.  The conclusion(s) reached in a forensic investigation usually result in the dispute being resolved before trial.

A forensic investigation focuses on the "how and why" of an event (the cause).  For instance, the investigation of an event such as a wall collapse requires detailed review and analysis of conditions leading up to the collapse.  Evidence is obtained by interviewing the individuals involved, exploration of the site of the wall collapse, and analysis of the materials and/or components affected by the event. 

Where suitability, not cause, is to be determined, other types of engineering are involved which will be discussed in future.