Forensic engineering can play a critical role in litigation cases involving a failure of some kind. Consider, for instance, the recent sinking and tilting of the 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco. The cost to fix the problem could reach $500 million. Forensic engineering experts will definitely play a critical role in determining what caused the skyscraper movement and who is to blame.
Forensic engineering is utilized to determine the cause and origin (or the why) of an engineered condition that did not perform as it was designed and thus caused significant loss. That cause and origin could be acts of both omission and commission typically by the owner, designer, installer/contractor, quality controller, and/or the user. Losses examined through forensic engineering can take various forms but are most typically associated with environmental, construction, or mechanical failures.