Investigation of the geotechnical aspects of damaged or distressed properties is intrinsic to DHLA’s litigation and insurance services.  Our staff has been involved in the investigation of a wide variety of properties, including structures such as single and multiple-family residences, commercial buildings, pipelines, roadways and small-boat marinas. 

Landsides, expansive soils, compressible or collapsible soils, movement of groundwater, substandard construction and ground motion due to equipment vibrations, blasting or earthquakes are just a few of the geotechnical processes that can distress or damage such structures.  The cost from damage due to these various geotechnical elements is, to say the least, enormous.  The annual cost of damage to structures due to expansive soils alone was estimated a few years ago to be over nine billion dollars, making it the most costly natural hazard in the United States.

DHLA is able to draw from considerable resources, knowledge and expertise in performing evaluations of damaged property.  Damage investigations typically consist of a number of individual functions that, collectively, provide the scope of information necessary to properly evaluate a site and devise appropriate means of repair. 

These tasks include the following:

  • Research and evaluation of geotechnical reports and building plans on file with City or County offices.
  • Review of published geologic and soil survey reports, maps and documents pertaining to a particular site.
  • Observation, documentation and photography of site conditions, including specific items of damage.
  • Research and analysis of available aerial photography.
  • Level surveying of structure foundation elements or other flatwork.
  • Geologic and engineering evaluation of data obtained from the various information-gathering tasks.
  • Preparation of written reports or documents necessary to convey the extent of damage, the geotechnical elements of the damage and preliminary repair methods.
  • Consultation with other engineering, design and construction consultants.

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