Some Evidences of Recent Movement

Posted by in Cracking, Masonry, Simple Forensic Methods, Wood | September 08, 2014

We are often called in to evaluate as to whether some particular damage is old or new, that is, did it occur recently as reported or has it been present and possibly progressing for years.  As experienced forensic engineers we have come to know evidences of old damage and new damage.  It is not rocket science, but involves understanding how a newly exposed surface of a damaged building component ages.

From our years of examining damaged structures of various materials we have gathered an experiential database of the characteristics of aging in damaged components.  Some of the characteristics we have observed are wear along the edges of the fracture surface, discoloration of the fracture surface, patching or partial repair of the damage, paint coverage, accumulation of debris or dust, rodent or insect occupation, plant growth, etc.  The degree of these characteristics combined with other information and/or engineering principles can often help us provide information regarding a timeline of the damage.   The detail of the timeline depends on the quality and/or quantity of evidence available.

In the following photographs are examples of evidences of recent movement. 

sharp edged cracking in block

Sharp edged cracking in block.

 

Sharp-edged cracking with undiscolored surfaces at missing chips.

Sharp-edged cracking with undiscolored surfaces at missing chips.

 

Relatively clean and undiscolored surface exposed on band joist and sill plate.

Relatively clean and undiscolored surface exposed on band joist and sill plate.

 

Sharp-edged separation between top of block and wood sill plate.

Sharp-edged separation between top of block and wood sill plate.

 

Then the question becomes, “How recent?”  Well, we can’t give away all our secrets.  At least not today.  ; )

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