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Investigative and Legal Reports

Investigative and Legal Reports:

Legal disputes often require an expert testimonial from a professional in the field of interest. Norton has been asked to do this for cases involving construction and engineering. While litigation isn't our primary line of work, we have helped out several clients when asked to investigate the problem they were having by putting together an engineer's report to explain the cause of the problem. These reports are used to build a stronger case for the client and may be used in court if the dispute is taken that far. So far, because of our engineering reports, none of the cases we've helped with have had to go to trial.

Here are some examples of Engineering Reports we've written for legal matters:

1. Concrete Failure:

Our services were requested by some residents in Centerville, Ohio in August, 2001 to perform an engineering investigation of several lingering construction issues regarding their property. The issues in question were:
  1. Sink holes along the property,

  2. driveway cracking, sinking , and sounding hollow near the garage,

  3. Concrete surface deterioration in the driveway, and

  4. Drainage issues.
Norton investigated the site and concluded that:
  1. The sink holes along the property line were the result of slow settlement over a relatively deep sanitary sewer line that was part of the initial plat development and the backfill was not compacted carefully.

  2. The driveway cracking, sinking of slabs, and hollow sound are also a result of settlement over the sanitary sewer line, which the contractor was aware of and should have performed extra compaction prior to construction of the driveway.

  3. The surface deterioration of the concrete was due to what is called chert pops, which resulted from adding too much water to the concrete mix in the field. Excessive water was added to ease workability, but actually weakened the concrete. Weaker concrete is more susceptible to damage by the chert which swells differently than the rest of the concrete with temperature changes.

  4. The drainage issues would easily be solved by extending the drain tiles down the hill
In the report, Norton recommended that the driveway be replaced and the neighbor's contractor extend the drain tile. After all the parties read the report, both of these recommendations were awarded to the residents at no charge.

2. Pond Erosion:

Views of the Eroded Dam
   A resident in Southwest Ohio owns land with an 80 year old man-made pond. The pond had been unaltered for the life of the pond until the summer of 2007, when a section of the pond's embankment started to have a serious erosion problem. The resident thought this may have been caused by the construction of a large apartment complex that began around the time that she noticed the problem, so she called us to come and investigate.

Upon investigation, Norton discovered that the erosion had been caused by an increase in stormwater runoff due to the new construction. The contractor was not even aware of the problem because the erosion was occurring approximately 20 feet below the project site elevation. The water was running off the construction site over a hill and washing away the residents property. This was a serious problem because if it continued, the erosion would cause the pond's embankment to fail. Not only would this be a physical problem, but a monetary one because the majority of the property value is the pond itself. Norton wrote an engineering report and designed a solution recommendation to allow the contractor to take responsibility for the situation and fix the problem.

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