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Geotechnical Damages

Sinkhole Claim Investigation


Background Information: Sinkholes are depressions in the land surface that are a common occurrence in the Florida landscape. Because sinkholes can cause extensive damage resulting in costly repairs, homeowners need to be aware of the signs of an underlying geotechnical disaster. One particular case involved a residence with cracks in the driveway, walkway, and porch, eventually developing into the interior of the house as well. Since the residence was located in Florida, there was a great possibility of causation by a sinkhole. The client contacted Forensic Analysis & Engineering to ESTABLISH WHY substantial cracks were occurring in both the exterior and interior of the dwelling.


Assigned Task: The assigned task was to examine damage at the insured property and to provide an objective expert opinion, including supporting rationale. FAEC was asked to investigate the cause of the damaged building by inspecting their single family, single-story house and determine the cause of the cracks in the pavement and brickwork. An FAEC consultant was promptly at the scene to begin the investigation.


Observations and Findings: Tests were performed at the residence to determine the cause of the damages including Standard Penetration Tests (SPT) and multiple boring to determine if voids existed beneath the slab in areas of the house where damage was observed. Based upon the information provided by the tests, FAEC was able to determine the following:


              1. Based on the location of the side with regards to sinkhole probability, the

                  reported depth to limestone at the site location, and the results of the SPT

                  borings, FAEC eliminated sinkhole activity as the cause of damage.

              2. The actual damage to the house essentially consists of one significant shear

                  crack running throughout the house and is the result of sinking of the floor slab

                  caused by lack of support from the soil sub-grade.

              3. Other smaller cracks in the residence and flat work were the result of relatively

                  small amounts of compression of the loose surficial sand layer.


Results of the Investigation: Forensic Analysis & Engineering determined the cause of the geotechnical damage occurring in their residence, ESTABLISHED WHY each of the damages occurred and whether or not it was attributed to a sinkhole. FAEC worked with the client from beginning to end, offering consultation for further remedial action. From our detailed, comprehensive report and full-color pictures, the client was able to claim the appropriate damages to the proper parties and begin renovation efforts.


Contact Forensic Analysis & Engineering Corporation to investigate your geotechnical damages at (800) 224-3595 or directly submit an assignment online.

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