Forensics FAQs

What is forensic engineering?


Forensic Engineering, as related to structural engineering and buildings and homes, is an engineering discipline related to determining the root cause of structural failure or deterioration. When a post-construction structural issue arises, a forensic engineer will come out to your property, investigate the damage or defects in question and then prepare a report summarizing their findings. It is the forensic engineer’s job to offer their expert opinion and assign blame for the structural damage.



Why do I need a Forensic Engineer?

Anyone can patch up a crack, but it takes an expert to ensure those cracks will not return. If your house is undergoing footing movement and you are one of the unlucky ones who have tried to patch it up without working out the root cause, chances are your patch and point job has been wasted, seeing the damage return no matter how well it has been patched.

That is where Intrax can help. Using thorough investigation, Intrax will work out the cause of distress to your property and eliminate the cause effectively. Intrax will be with you every step of the way to make sure your building is stable prior to fixing the damage, to minimise the chances of the damage recurring and save you time and money in wasted repairs.



Why do I need a forensic engineer?

If your home is damaged, you need a forensic engineer to inspect the structure and determine how the damage was caused and how the home can be saved. A forensic engineer’s job is to work closely with structural engineers to analyse damage to a home or building and develop plans for remediation. The forensic engineer may also work with you to resolve disputes and help you come out on top in court. The forensic engineer’s investigation will help lay the groundwork for getting your home back to great living condition.


When do I require the services of a forensic engineer?


Any time there is a failure or damage to your home or building due to impact, overloading, poor design, soil settlement or washout or fire, you will want to contact a forensic engineer to begin identifying what factors led to the failure and how to remedy the issues. The forensic engineer will assess the extent of the structural damage and start developing recommendations for action. A forensic engineer’s services may also be needed if you are in a dispute with a builder over poor or unfinished work.


What are the structural irregularities?


There are many structural irregularities that a structural forensic engineer might encounter when inspecting your home, but the most common are cracking walls and foundations. These are indications that there is some sort of ongoing settlement or movement that is causing these cracks. Cracks are not necessarily an indicator of serious structural distress, but they will only continue to propagate if you don’t nip their root cause in the bud. A structural forensic engineer will also be able to identify more serious irregularities like buckling or cracking primary structural members like columns or framing members that could indicate a problem with the structural integrity of the home.


What are signs of structural damage to a house?


Some signs of damage to a house are quite obvious, like a collapsed wall or sagging roof, but others are much harder to see for the untrained eye. Luckily, structural forensic engineers know exactly what to look for and how to remedy most common structural defects. The most common defects in older homes are cracks in the walls or foundation or sloping floors. These are most likely caused by changing subsurface conditions due to drainage, soil settlement or tree roots growing out of control. If modifications have been made to the home without an engineer’s approval, there may be overstressed members that could crack or split without notice.


Is my cracking bad enough to need a Forensic Engineer?

Houses and other buildings, by nature, crack. Some cracking in a house is normal and is expected in the relevant Australian building codes. However, if your cracking looks like some of the examples below, we recommend contacting us for consultation.

How long does a structural engineer’s analysis report take? 

There’s no hard and fast rule for how long it should take to get your structural engineer’s report back. It will depend on the size of your house, the overall condition, the scope of work and the engineer’s own capabilities. A standard inspection report for a small home with no major defects could be turned around in a week, while an in-depth report with supporting calculations and drawings for a client looking to make major modifications to their home, it may take longer than a month. 


How much does a forensic engineer inspection cost in Australia?

An inspection for a small home should cost less than $1,000, while inspection of a large building with more detail required should exceed $1,000. Most residential inspections include reports, which generally cost between $1,000 to $1,500. For a larger renovation, which will require calculations and detailed drawings, expect to pay over $1,500 for any required structural engineering design services. A general rule of thumb is that the structural engineer’s cost could approach 1-2% of the total cost of construction.  This inspection will often serve as an important first step towards understanding what is causing defects like cracking or settlement.

It’s never great to come home to find your house leaning, your roof sagging or discover cracks in your foundation, but you can rest assured that the experienced team of forensic engineers at Intrax have what it takes to figure out what’s going on and get your house on the mend. Do not hesitate to call on Intrax for all your forensic engineering needs. Our talented engineers will guide you through the investigation and communicate clearly all actions that need to be taken to protect your home.

Contact Intrax Today!


If you believe you require Intrax’s Forensic services, contact Intrax on the details below. Whatever may be causing the distress to your property, the longer it takes to deal with, the more costly and time consuming repairing the damage will be.

P: 1300 INTRAX (1300 468 729)


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11 March 2022


Education, FAQs