What is Forensic Engineering?

The following definition of forensic engineering is offered in the most contemporary sense of the term and is focused on matters involving construction, design, property damage, financial loss, and personal injury:

Forensic engineering is the investigation of the cause, or causes, of failure involving buildings, structures, construction materials, building components, durability, serviceability, products, equipment, maintenance and care, construction means and methods, design professional work product, adherence to contract terms and conditions, and adherence to codes, laws, regulations, and other special requirements. Such failures have caused, or were alleged to have caused, property damage, financial loss, personal injury, or even wrongful death.

Forensic engineering studies and evaluations are carried out to assist an interested party in establishing and understanding the facts surrounding such failures.

An interested party may include an insurance carrier, surety, litigator, corporate in-house counsel, court, jury, arbitrator, mediator, plaintiff, defendant, manufacturer, supplier, business owner, property owner, estate, family member, or the like, and often include a mix of the foregoing.

HG Cornerstone's Forensic Engineering Services

HG Cornerstone’s forensic engineering services break down into several key categories. These include:

  • Building & Site Investigations
  • Building Components & Equipment Function Testing
  • Materials Testing
  • Design & Construction Project Documents & Records Analysis
  • Compliance with Codes, Laws, Ordinances & Regulations
  • Work Site or Premises Accident Reconstruction
  • Environmental Testing

Our forensic engineering services are fine-tuned to directly and effectively locate and identify the cause or causes of failure and are typically, but not always, offered in conjunction with our expert witness services such as oral testimony and expert witness reports.

Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Brass fitting sectioned for metallurgical examination

HG Cornerstone works nationwide specializing in forensic engineering on catastrophic insurance claims, building construction defects cases, engineering and design issues, personal injury, and real property matters.

Our Forensic Engineering services include:

  • Complementary Initial Consultation
  • Technical Case Strategy Development
  • Review & Analyze Documents, Records & Electronic Media
  • Comprehensive Field Investigations & Site Inspections
  • Expert Witness Opinion Development
  • Expert Witness Testimony
  • Expert Engineer’s Written Opinion & Affidavits
  • Expert Engineer’s Reports
  • Insurance Claims Evaluations
  • Property Damage Evaluation & Assessment
  • Document & Inventory Damage
  • Damage Analysis & Quantification
  • Cause & Extent of Failure Analysis
  • Evaluate & Quantify Dollar Value of Loss
  • Document Sequence of Events Leading to Failure
  • Insurance Claims Research & Analyses
  • Document As-Built Construction Conditions
  • Forensic Engineering Investigations
  • Forensic Evidence & Specimen Documentation & Collection
  • Forensic Evidence Examination & Evaluation
  • Physical Evidence Laboratory Testing
  • Exemplar & Model Evaluation & Testing
  • Physical Injury Investigations
  • Accident Scene Reconstruction

Forensic Engineering Services


Based on 30+ Years of Construction & Engineering Practice.

We typically work on matters involving:

  • Catastrophic Property Damage
  • Construction Defects
  • Building Products Defects
  • Construction Materials Defects
  • Design Defects
  • Architect’s & Engineer’s Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Construction Contract Disputes
  • Construction Worker Safety
  • Premises Personal Injury
  • Environmental Contamination
  • Real Estate Matters

We work with clients in every facet of the construction, design, insurance, and surety industries including:

  • Law Firms & Litigators
  • Corporate In-House Counsel
  • Insurance Companies
  • Sureties
  • General Building Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Construction Managers
  • Building Products Manufacturers
  • Equipment Manufacturers
  • Building Materials Manufacturers
  • Construction Products, Materials Suppliers
  • Construction Equipment Manufacturers & Vendors
  • Building Owners
  • Real Estate Investors
  • Commercial Landlords
  • Commercial Tenants
  • Property Developers
  • REITs
  • Business Owners
  • Municipalities
  • Government Agencies
  • Physically Injured Parties

Powerful forensic engineering methods...

HG Cornerstone’s cost-effective yet powerful forensic engineering methods and techniques deliver timely analyses. We offer fact-based determinations of cause and detailed nature and extent of loss evaluations.

We are proficient at performing site inspections, forensic evaluations and damage assessments.

Our forensic work is backed by over 30 years of hands-on construction practice, direct construction supervision, site safety responsibility, construction management, civil engineering, environmental engineering, and commercial real estate experience.



Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Specimen being loaded into Scanning Electron Microscope for examination

Modern & state-of-the-art forensic capabilities...

HG Cornerstone has access to the most state-of-the art facilities and equipment for testing evidence, materials and building products.

We can test virtually any construction material, building component or building product.

When accurate results are a must...

At HG Cornerstone, we competently and methodically perform our forensic engineering work with precision and diligence. We possess considerable experience and know-how in scientific and engineering forensic evaluations and evidence testing. We offer a wide range of forensic capabilities and testing services.

We help legal counsel develop a comprehensive technical strategy. We guide legal counsel to know exactly what questions to ask and, specifically, which areas merit investigation or testing.

We also help link the technical issues and our findings to the legal case strategy.

In short, we are technical problem solvers and strategists. 

Complete Field Investigations

We provide field investigations & site inspections nationwide.

HG Cornerstone is prepared to quickly mobilize to the site in question or the claim occurrence scene. Once at the site or occurrence scene, we can perform full documentation of existing conditions including digital photo-documentation, detailed measurements, data and information collection, evidence and specimen collection and other forensic work.

HG Cornerstone has the capability to perform a wide array of customized onsite evidence and specimen testing using portable tools and specialized equipment. We also collect and package evidence, samples and specimens for laboratory analyses and testing at a wide variety of specialized laboratories that we work with nationwide.

Custom Field Investigation Protocols

We develop customized field investigation protocols for joint scene investigations.

Oftentimes, a joint occurrence scene investigation will be attended and conducted by expert witnesses and forensic specialists from both the plaintiff’s side and the insurance defense side.

A written set of examination protocols or procedures, that are prepared and distributed to each interested party ahead of time for review and comment, can be most beneficial. We also work out key issues like whether or not any testing will be destructive in nature or non-destructive. This keeps things running smoothly and reduces the likelihood for conflicts, disagreements or misunderstandings during the investigation.

HG Cornerstone possesses the required technical skills and is ready to quickly and efficiently prepare written protocols and procedures for conducting joint scene investigations. We are also adept at getting buy-in from the other side and are familiar and comfortable with leading the joint scene investigation itself.

Forensic Documents Review

Forensic examination of design, construction and project documents.

Sometimes the matters that we consult on involve either all documents, or mainly documents, and physical evidence and testing is not permissible or is not the focus. HG Cornerstone has both the engineering design and construction field experience to competently perform forensic documents review.

This may include the review of:

  • Design Drawings
  • Written Specifications
  • Project Field Notes
  • Project Records
  • Contracts
  • Change Orders
  • Invoicing
  • Building Codes
  • Industry Standards 
  • Digital Photographs
  • Other Digital Media

HG Cornerstone has also worked with building products manufacturers on liability matters that involved product literature such as:

  • Product Labeling
  • Product Warnings
  • Manufacturer’s Instructions
  • Manufacturer’s Recommendations & Guidelines
  • Manufacturer’s Maintenance & Care Instructions
  • Product Warrantees

Involving an expert who possesses vast documents review experience is critical in order to secure a successful outcome.


Advanced Physical & Chemical Lab Testing

We offer full analytical laboratory & test facility services.

HG Cornerstone has nationwide access to the most advanced and comprehensive laboratory testing facilitates. This means we can analyze or test virtually any construction or building material, component, product or equipment. We also offer accident reconstruction and environmental testing and analyses.

HG Cornerstone works with key forensic laboratories, analytical laboratories and test facilities on a project-by-project basis, including the following:


Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT) Materials Laboratory

Cambridge, MA

At the MIT Materials Laboratory, a great deal of testing on building products and construction materials can be performed. HG Cornerstone has worked with the MIT Materials Laboratory to perform metallurgical evaluations involving low-resolution binocular microscope examination and image capturing, high-resolution and 3-D HiROX microscope examination and image capturing, the preparation of metallographic mounts, Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) examination, and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDX). These methods allow us to evaluate the failure of metal alloys such as steel and brass involving cracking, strain and corrosion.


Ontario, CA

The IAPMO Research and Testing (R&T) Lab is a trusted name for independent testing, research, and technical services in the plumbing and mechanical industries. A wide variety of testing can be performed here on virtually any plumbing or mechanical device or component. HG Cornerstone has utilized the IAPMO R&T Lab to perform function testing on plumbing components including Automatic Control Valves (ACVs), water pressure regulators and fittings.

IAPMO Building Institute of Technology

Ontario, CA

The IAPMO Institute of Building Technology (IBT) is a trusted name for independent testing, research, and technical services in the construction products industry. IAPMO IBT is capable of testing a wide variety of products for the construction industry. By working with the IAPMO IBT, HG Cornerstone can develop and implement custom test procedures for various physical properties, including strength and endurance, of virtually any construction material or building product.

Various Physical Testing Laboratories

Nationwide Physical Testing Laboratories

By working with various independent physical testing laboratories on a nationwide basis, HG Cornerstone can implement custom testing for various standardized physical properties on samples of virtually any construction material including concrete, block, brick, mortar, asphalt, steel, rebar, polymers, soil parameters, and others.

Various Chemical Analytical Laboratories

Nationwide Analytical Laboratories

By working with various independent chemical analytical laboratories on a nationwide basis, HG Cornerstone can implement custom testing for various chemical properties, and chemical component makeup, of virtually any construction material or environmental sample.

Our forensic engineering work is widely varied...
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Microscope image of degraded brass fitting
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Metal parts examination
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Corroded metal fittings under examination
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Valve threads examination
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Microscope image of stress corrosion crack in brass
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Field investigation of degraded structural concrete
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Field investigation of degraded manufactured wood structural beams
Scaffold accident reconstruction
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Bench test of water pressure regulator
Forensic Engineering Materials Testing Construction Expert Witness
Elastomeric fitting under examination

Forensic Engineering Areas of Specialty

Capitalize on our 30+ Years of Construction & Engineering Experience

The types of insurance claims and litigation that we can competently consult on are numerous. This is due to our extensive, combined construction and engineering experience, spanning over 30 years.

Our areas of specialty include:

Building & Structure

  • Building Structural Issues
  • Structural Failure
  • Roof Collapse
  • Steel Framing & Welding Issues
  • Wood Framing Issues
  • Concrete Construction Issues
  • Premature Failure of Building Components
  • Metals Corrosion
  • Metals Cracking


  • Foundation Issues
  • Geotechnical Issues
  • Slope Failure
  • Differential Settlement
  • Ground Movement Damage
  • Ground Vibration Induced Damage
  • Construction Vibration Damage
  • Seismically Induced Failures
  • Soil Compaction Issues
  • Site Drainage Issues
  • Site Grading 


  • Project Management Issues
  • Construction Defects
  • Construction Claims
  • Construction Delays
  • Standards of Care
  • Quality Control & Workmanship
  • Improper Construction Means & Methods
  • Improper Materials Selection
  • Incomplete Work & Omissions
  • Non-Compliance with Plans & Specifications
  • Adherence to Manufacturer’s Recommendations & Instructions
  • Construction Activity Induced Damage
  • Contractor Fraud & Licensing 


  • Design Defects
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Architect & Engineer Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Professional Negligence
  • Improper Plans & Specifications
  • Plumbing Design
  • Electrical Design
  • Structural & Framing Design
  • Concrete Design


  • Building Code Compliance
  • ADA Compliance
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Permit Compliance
  • Environmental Compliance


  • Construction Materials Issues
  • Manufacturer’s Defects in Building Products
  • Manufacturer’s Defects in Construction Materials
  • Manufacturer’s Defects in Construction Equipment
  • Product Warrantee
  • Corrosion, Cracking, & Construction Product Failures


  • Plumbing Product Defects
  • Function Testing of Water Valves
  • Water Pipe Corrosion
  • Water Valve Corrosion
  • Stress Corrosion Cracking of Plumbing Fittings
  • Dezincification of Plumbing Fittings
  • Water Control Valve Failure
  • Pressure Reducing Valve Failure
  • Automatic Control Valve Failure
  • Backflow Prevention Assemble Failure
  • Metals Corrosion
  • Metals Cracking


  • Improper Electrical Loads
  • Improper Electrical Wiring
  • Unsafe Electrical Conditions
  • Improper use of Electrical Equipment


  • Onsite Work Injuries
  • Tools & Construction Equipment Accidents
  • Scaffolding & Ladder Accidents
  • Fall Protection
  • Confined Space
  • Chemical Exposure
  • OSHA Violations
  • Wrongful Death


  • Casualty Claims
  • Catastrophic Property Damage Claims
  • Storm Damage
  • Flood Damage
  • Wind Damage
  • Fire Damage
  • Snow & Ice Damage
  • Ice Dams
  • Water Infiltration
  • Vapor Intrusion
  • Interior Water Releases
  • Catastrophic Water Damage
  • Odor Issues
  • Indoor Air Quality Problems
  • Catastrophic Events
  • Vehicular Damage to Building
  • Vandalism
  • Maintenance Issues
  • Wood Rot & Structural Deterioration
  • Insect & Animal Related Damage
  • Corrosion
  • Cracking
  • Construction Product Failures
  • Premature Failure or Wear & Tear
  • Construction Activity Induced Damage
  • Site Drainage Issues


  • Construction Contract Violations
  • General Contractor Liability
  • Subcontractor Liability
  • Manufacturer Liability
  • Supplier Liability
  • Standards of Care
  • Improper Workmanship
  • Work Scope Disputes
  • Constructability Issues
  • Change Orders
  • Schedule Disruptions or Delays
  • Loss of Labor Productivity
  • Differing Site Conditions
  • Unforeseen or Hidden Site Conditions
  • Mechanic’s Liens
  • OSHA Violations
  • Worker Health & Safety Issues


  • Real Estate Affected by Contamination
  • Buildings Damaged by Contamination
  • Improvements Damaged by Contamination
  • Construction Materials Damaged by Contamination
  • Environmental Trespass & Nuisance
  • Environmental Stigma


  • Slip, Trip & Fall
  • General Premises Liability
  • Physical Conditions of Premises 
  • Building, Safety & Sanitary Code Violations
  • ADA Violations
  • Wrongful Death


  • Planning & Zoning Violations
  • Easement & Rights-of-Way Issues
  • Hidden or Undisclosed Defects
  • Environmental Contamination
  • Geotechnical Issues
  • Site Drainage Issues


  • Housing Code Violations
  • Building Code Violations
  • Sanitary Code Violations
  • HUD Compliance
  • Warrantee of Habitability Issues
  • ADA & Accessibility Compliance
  • Hazardous Materials & Toxic Mold


  • Client-Customized Services for Highly Complex or Unusual Situations
Main Contact Information

(866) 204-3440


East Coast

198 Tremont Street, No. 430, Boston, MA 02116

(617) 575-2300


West Coast

1024 Bayside Drive, No. 521, Newport Beach, CA 92660

(949) 432-3212