D’Appolonia is frequently retained to perform forensic studies of problem ground conditions, failed slopes, dams and embankments, earth retaining structures, and other engineered structures and systems. Some examples of slope and structure failures are shown in the photographs above.

Typically, these studies involve site geotechnical exploration and testing, failure analyses and modeling, and preparation of an expert report identifying the cause of the failure. Our senior staff have executed many such studies and provided expert testimony in support of related dispute resolution and litigation. When required, we have also developed remedial designs to repair failed or underperforming structures and to correct problem ground conditions. As part of remedial design preparation, D’Appolonia frequently prepares plans and specifications, provides technical support for bidding the remedial work, and provides construction monitoring services as required.

Our experience with respect to forensic studies includes the following:

Brief descriptions of our capabilities in these areas are provided in the following paragraphs. More detailed discussions of individual topics can be accessed by clicking on the links provided.

Expert Engineering Studies and Testimony

During D’Appolonia’s 50-year history as consulting engineers, we have been retained on many occasions to provide expert services for determining the causes of problem ground conditions and geotechnical and structural failures and for developing remedial designs. Some examples of these projects include soil and rock slope failures associated with dams and waste disposal/refuse embankments, structural damage resulting from foundation bearing capacity failure and settlement, mine subsidence effects on surface structures, foundation and floor heave resulting from expansive subsurface materials, collapse of buried structures that damaged surface facilities, and failed excavation support systems. We have specialized expertise in planning and executing field reconnaissance and exploration programs to obtain critical forensic data. We frequently assist attorneys in the preparation of legal cases, and we are experienced in reviewing technical issues and formulating expert opinions and reports, giving depositions, preparing presentation materials and trial exhibits, and providing expert testimony.

Remedial Design

As part of the evaluation of failures and their causes, D'Appolonia is frequently called upon to prepare engineering designs to remediate the problem. Some typical examples include design of repairs for failed slopes, redesign of failed retaining walls, and design of repairs for failed roadways. We also provide monitoring services for reconstruction. The link above is to a series of photographs showing step-by-step reconstruction of a failed berm located adjacent to a busy roadway in an urban setting.

Review of Insurance Claims/Construction Claims and Disputes

D’Appolonia provides technical services related to the investigation and evaluation of insurance claims, construction claims and disputes. Our background in geotechnical and structural engineering, geology, geophysics, water resources, mining engineering and environmental engineering, combined with our experience in civil engineering design and construction, facilitate our role as expert, independent evaluators. D’Appolonia has assisted insurers in assessing the merits of claims stemming from landslide impacts, retaining wall failures, stormwater runoff and flooding, and substandard performance of excavation support systems and foundations. We have also worked with insureds and their attorneys in evaluating claims of deficient design and/or construction of ground water collection systems; earth retention structures; building foundations; problem ground conditions such as expansive soil, shale and slag; mine subsidence; and in preparation of economic evaluations and technical briefs to facilitate the settlement of insurance claims.