Construction Forensics

In-house testing capabilities to substantiate the cause and scope of deficiencies…and yield remedies that save time and reduce costs

Water infiltration through veneer and fenestration systems. Excessive sound transmission. Breaches in fire-rated separation assemblies. The problems are common and stubborn. But Davidson & Associates clients learn that the solutions can be unexpectedly easy to achieve without resorting to costly and time-consuming third-party testing. We focus on multi-family residential and mission-critical commercial structures such as health care facilities and data centers.

Evidence-based analysis powered by DAAD

In contrast to engineers who offer limited textbook solutions, our forensic architects go beyond regimented theory. We create pragmatic and out-of-the box solutions, which have demonstrated, predictable performance. Our service begins on-site with a hands-on examination of the problem. Then we leverage our proprietary DAAD system to develop a highly specific fact-based analysis paired with cost-efficient remedies that are often not obtainable using traditional detailing. Our system works at every scale, whether we are tackling major building envelope repairs for a major medical center or modifying incompatible assemblies on projects already under construction.

Tailored action plans

With the true causes identified, we deliver a tailored remedial plan to permanently address the issues. Whether the action plan calls for corrective work or seeks redress for design or construction errors, we prepare a complete package including detailed estimates of cost. The result is always a personalized, project-specific approach, never a boilerplate off-the-shelf analysis protocol.


Winchester Medical Center

Chronic leaks plagued the exterior walls of this 441-bed, six-story regional hospital within three years of completion. Two nationally acclaimed forensic engineering firms developed a scope of work and implemented repairs at an estimated cost of over $1 million; the repairs were ineffective and notably blemished the façade. +

This remedial program not only failed, resulting immediately in ongoing leaks, it also limited subsequent repair options. Our investigation and in-house testing identified and substantiated numerous design and construction deficiencies whose compounding affects resulted in the extensive water infiltration. Although the owner was hesitant to perform repairs less than total replacement of the veneer, D&A was able to substantiate the effectiveness of a less drastic repair by constructing and testing a mock-up panel and a full building-height sample installation. To control costs and assure quality installation of the multifaceted remedial program, our design utilized custom-fabricated flashing “boots” and detailing that was readily adjustable to accommodate field inconsistencies.

Since completion of the $5.5 million remedial program, there have been no reports of subsequent water infiltration. The areas of our repairs are visually indistinguishable from other areas of the façade, maintaining corporate pride in the facility’s image. We worked closely with the hospital and contractor to coordinate the work and implemented repairs with virtually no disruption of operations. During construction, D&A monitored the work to ensure quality of repairs.

In recognition of this project, the International Concrete Repair Institute bestowed its Award of Merit for Excellence in the Repair of Masonry to Davidson & Associates. -


Metropolitan Apartments

Cantilevered balconies on this mixed-use property adjacent to the Bethesda, MD Metro Station presented serious safety concerns due to the near systemic failure of concrete around the embedded guardrail support posts. +

D&A’s forensic architects used a combination of visual observation, non-destructive testing, material sample and laboratory analysis to diagnose the issue. We verified that the use of expansive, gypsum-based grouting at the support posts, deficiencies in original concrete finishing, and inadequate coverage of the reinforcing steel all contributed to the concrete failures.

This forensic analysis – substantiated by specific laboratory testing – provided the Montgomery Housing Authority with the necessary due diligence to cancel a remedial program prepared by a local forensic engineering firm. We demonstrated that not only would that program have failed to address the root causes of the deterioration, but that it actually would have accelerated the deterioration. D&A developed a comprehensive repair scope, prepared construction documents and oversaw the bidding process and contract negotiations. D&A also provided construction quality assurance services throughout the construction phase. We were also instrumental in maintaining access to ground floor retail space while providing pedestrian safety from the work overhead. The work was completed at approximately 20% under budget. There have not been any callbacks due to failures in the concrete patches or any subsequent deterioration in the original concrete balcony slabs. -


3883 Connecticut Avenue Condominium

Almost immediately after construction of this multi-story, post-tension concrete frame residential building in 2004, water infiltration occurred, and repair attempts were unsuccessful. An evaluation by a national forensic engineering firm in 2010 recommended complete removal of the EIFS and brick veneers to repair defective construction. The estimated $7,000,000 cost was beyond the owners’ means. +

D&A’s forensic architects reviewed documents, made visual observations and conducted non-destructive testing and non-intrusive destructive borescopic investigation. As a result, we verified the principal construction defects responsible for the water infiltration and isolated their locations. We then developed a comprehensive, phased repair scope with construction documents. The detailed analysis allowed the development of cost effective remedial details. We were able to assure that secondary causes of water infiltration previously undetected by others were not overlooked. The program also prevented wasteful spending in areas of the building that were properly constructed.

D&A developed a comprehensive multi-year phased program, prepared construction documents and oversaw the bidding process and contract negotiations. D&A also provided Construction Quality Assurance services throughout the construction phase of the project and was instrumental in maintaining access and minimizing disruption to the residents.

Our approach, including Construction Quality Assurance services through the repair phase, reduced overall estimated repair costs to only $2,000,000. -